Purpose – This research aims to explain consumer attraction to brands when stimulation needs are paramount using the perspective of the Self‐Expansion Model. In doing so, it seeks to identiy brand romance – a more proximal construct to brand loyalty and aims to offer a complementary perspective to understand emotional attachment to brands. Design/methodology/approach – A series of four studies developed and validated a three‐factor, 12‐item measurement scale for brand romance using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Reliability, convergent, criterion, discriminant and nomological validities were established. Findings – Brand romance is a reliable, valid, and a more proximal construct that explains loyalty significantly better than attitudes. Research limitations/implications – Student subjects constitute the sample and the findings are cautiously generalizable to adult populations. Future research should focus on teasing out product category effects, extending generalizability to other product categories and integrating the Attachment Theory perspective with the study's findings to offer a more comprehensive explanation for loyalty. Practical implications – Consumers are likely to remain loyal to brands to which they are attracted. The brand romance construct captures this attraction. Marketers need to infuse their brands with novel perspectives, resources and identities on a continuous basis to satisfy stimulation needs and keep the attraction strong. This involves creating new brand associations that help the brand to stay relevant. Originality/value – To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to apply the Self‐expansion Model to brand relationships. The research contributes a unique perspective in explaining emotional attachment to brands brought on by stimulation needs. It fills a gap in the emotional attachment literature and provides marketers with a tool to monitor consumers' attraction to brands.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 19, 2011
Keywords: Brands; Emotional attachment; Brand loyalty; Self‐expansion model; Brand relationships; Scale development; Brand attraction; Brand management; Consumer behaviour
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