List of Abbreviations
List of Figures
List of Appendices
2. Conceptual Framework
2.1.1. Definition of Happiness
2.1.2. Broaden-and-Build Theory
2.2. Brand Attachment
2.2.1. Self-Expansion Model
2.2.2. Definition of Brand Attachment
2.3. ormation of Hypotheses
3.1. Structure of the Study
3.2. Data Cleansing and Data Preparation
3.3.1. Hypothesis 1: PA Leads to the Usage of New Brands
3.3.2. Hypothesis 2: New Perceptions of Various Facets mediates BSC
5. Works Cited
List of Abbreviations
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
List of Figures
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
List of Appendices
1. Descriptive Statistics for Relevant Variables, Hypothesis 1
2. Descriptive Statistics for Relevant Variables, Hypothesis 2
3. Questionnaire of the Quantitative Study
4. Statutory Declaration
Happiness is considered to be one of the most mentioned goals in life. Many factors play an important role when it comes to happiness. Therefore, it is difficult to say when someone is really happy, fortified by the fact that everyone has another connotation of this desired feeling. Even though, most people know what makes them happy, the outcome of happiness is only rarely mentioned. Nonetheless, it is this outcome which leaves scientists curious. The topic of frequent positive emotions has already found its way into psychology, after years of being ignored and the focus lying on negative emotions. Now positive emotions acquire greater importance not only in psychology, but also in other socio-cultural subjects like social science and economics. Particularly, the marketing departments are greatly interested in the topic of positive emotions as traditional marketing methods do not acquire the coveted sales anymore. Therefore, this paper will attempt to make a contribution to this current relevant topic to adjust communication strategies for marketing departments. This currency is also mirrored in the repeated publishing of this topic. Considerable is the change from negative emotions to positive emotions in psychology to positive emotions in marketing and its role on the formation of brand attachment.
Current researches have discovered that there is a connection between feeling good and attaching oneself to an entity. This entity referred in the past exclusively to human entities, however, economists are emphasising the equality between human beings and inhuman entities, like brands. Happiness, as already mentioned, is a value which is hard to capture, because of the lack of a universal definition and also because feelings are difficult to inquire into due to the fact that present circumstances always have their effects on the current state of an individual. This makes variances in the measurement of happiness inevitable. “However, numerous scholars have challenged standard economic theory from different angles” (Frey/Stutzer, 2004, p. 3) and have kept paying attention to happiness research and various related psychological theories, which will be the foundation of the upcoming conceptual framework.
This paper aims to show the effect of frequent positive emotions on the formation of brand attachment. Therefore, this paper will start by looking at several current research findings in order to determine definitions for divisive terms and to build up a conceptual framework which supports the constructed hypotheses on the formation of brand attachment.
More endorsement is given by a realised quantitative study which researches positive emotions and constituents of dependent variables like brand attachment. Even though variances are inevitable, a study on the topic ought not to be rendered to be redundant, since the topic lacks scientific studies, in comparison to other economic fields, due to novelty. By juxtaposing the framework and study in opposition to the hypotheses, one will see to which extent frequent positive emotions lead to positive outcomes which results then find their way into marketing departments and provide action alternatives.
2. Conceptual Framework
This paper determines happiness, or feeling frequent positive emotions, as the starting point for the upcoming analysis. By looking at happiness with its definition and its consequences on the individual, argued by Fredrickson's broaden-and-build theory, the initial point for the conceptual framework is set. This leads afterwards to the section of brand attachment and its formation.
2.1.1. Definition of Happiness
The notion of happiness is an again and again discussed topic by psychologists. However, not only psychologists deal with this topic, but more and more economists discuss about this notion too as “research on happiness has been one of the most stimulating new developments in economics in recent years” (Frey/Stutzer, 2004, p. 2). While some argue that the notion of happiness differs within cultures (cf. Frey/Frey, 2010; cf. Kim-Prieto et al., 2005), other psychologists and economists research whether or not happiness has ties to gender or age (cf. Myers/Diener, 1995). To build up an understandable conceptual framework, we therefore need a consistent definition of happiness through deriving happiness from other positive feelings. Happiness is widely known as a part of subjective well-being (from now on: SWB), which describes the quality of life. While happiness, as well as SWB, include frequent positive affects and the absence or infrequency of negative emotions, happiness lacks the factor of cognitive evaluations and moods, which is the reason why we do not equate happiness and SWB in this paper with each other (cf. Lyubomirsky et al., 2005, p. 115; cf. Diener, 1984, p. 543f.).
Emotions, like happiness, ought not to be confused with other related positive affective states like moods or pleasures. Emotions “require a meaning assessments to be initiated” (Fredrickson, 2004, p. 1368), while pleasures include physical sensations (ibid.). There is a major difference between emotions and moods, which also has to be noted. While emotions describe the involvement of “personally meaningful circumstances” (Fredrickson, 2000), for example a person, an object or a brand. Mood, on the other hand, is non-personal, objectless and spontaneous (cf. Fredrickson, 2000, cited: Oatley/Jenkins, 1996). To illustrate the different affective states, examples are being provided: A first person (from now on: P1) feels sexual pleasure for a second person (from now on: P2) after bodily contact; P1 feels spontaneously uncomfortable without a specific reason, there is no involvement of another person or an object; P1 is happy due to a new friend, who helps with the relocation. The underlining terms are to illustrate the differences.
Two noteworthy stances have to be clarified in order to provide an unambiguous definition of happiness. First, the stance of a 'set point' (cf. Lyubomirsky et al., 2005a, p. 112f.; cf. Lyubomirsky et al., 2005b, p. 804). This theory implies that being happy is only temporary and that people cannot benefit from the positive situation and “in the long term people perhaps cannot help but return to their set point” (cf. Lyubomirsky et al., 2005a, p. 113). This theory is strengthened by twin studies (cf. Lyubomirsky et al., 2005a, p. 112, cited: Lykken/ Tellegen, 1996) and by concepts like the 'hedonic treadmill' (cf. Lyubomirsky et al, 2005a, p. 113, cited: Brickman/Campbell, 1971; cf. Graham, 2005, p. 47). Even after illness or unemployment, the happiness level adjusts upwards to the equilibrium (ibid.). Second, and this assumption is also made in this paper, is the idea of an 'upward spiral' (cf. Lyubomirsky et al, 2005a, p. 111, cited: Sheldon/Houser-Marko, 2001; cf. Fredrickson, 2003). This theory contains the notion that “people who regularly feel positive emotions are in some respects lifted on an 'upward spiral' of continued growth and thriving” (Fredrickson, 2003, p. 335). This means that one positive emotion leads to another and that positive emotions imply a long-term, durable character, which an individual can draw on in the future. The long-term feature is the major reason why the second definition outweighs the first one for our conceptual framework.
For this paper we define happiness by these three factors: “the relative presence of positive affect, absence of negative affect, and satisfaction with life” (Myers/Diener, 1995, p. 11) with a tendency to leave residues for the future which lead to the 'upward spiral'. However, we will primarily focus on positive affects (from now on: PA) as the title of this paper already hints at the issue of especially positive emotions. Being happy is the initial situation for the pursuing concept. This means in terms of causality that in this paper the level of happiness has an effect on dependent variables like brand attachment (cf. Frey/Stutzer, 2005, p. 7). Hence, we are not looking at how brands are making people happy, but rather how happy people attach themselves to brands due to their happiness. To understand how happiness causes brand attachment, we need to look at two psychological theories: the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions by Barbara Fredrickson (2004) and the self- expansion model according to Aron and Aron (1986).
2.1.2. Broaden-and-Build Theory
The broaden-and-build theory is a widely supported psychological theory which describes the effect of positive emotions like happiness, joy and interest on the thought-action repertoire within a person. The theory can lucidly be illustrated by two assumptions. Firstly, “positive emotions broaden an individual's momentary thought-action repertoire” (Fredrickson, 2004, p. 1367). Secondly, through the broadened repertoire an individual is likely to build up personal resources which can be drawn on later as they implicate a durable character (ibid.).
By providing a negative and a positive example, the broaden-and-build theory becomes more comprehensible. On the one hand, in a stressful or even life-threatening situation the narrowed thought-action repertoire provides quick and inherent actions to solve a problem or to ensure survival. In this kind of situations, negative emotions like anger or fear make us choose decisions out of a small array of alternative actions . When we find ourselves in life-threatening or extreme situations, the thought-action repertoire is clearly narrowed: “anger elicits the urge to attack, fear the urge to escape and disgust the urge to expel” (Fredrickson, 2003, p. 332). Self-defence is in this case a good example, as well: if P1 is robbed, he or she will instinctively defend himself or herself and is likely to use violence to ensure further well-being, even though P1 might be a very peaceful person, who absolutely rejects violence. In situations like these, the individual is quickly provided with thoughts to ensure survival. On the other hand, “instead of solving problems of immediate survival, positive emotions solve problems concerning personal growth and development” (Fredrickson, 2003, p. 332). Positive emotions prepare the individual's organism for tough times in the future by building up resources in different kinds of shapes or the individual is able to “rest and relax to rebuild [his or her] energy” (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005, p. 804) as we will later see that the use of resources takes place in two phases. The following positive example not only shows the preparation for a tough time, but we can also see differences in the way the preparation for a tough time takes place.
Fredrickson (2003) distinguishes four different kinds of resources and illustrates them with one single example: playing children. Firstly, physical resources: due to the play amongst children they develop coordination, strength, cardiovascular health (cf. Fredrickson, 2003, p. 333), stamina, and being outside also provides fresh air and sun rays. Secondly, cognitive resources are being built up by playing, because depending on the game, they develop problem-solving skills and are able to learn new information about their environment (ibid.). Thirdly, social resources are also being built up due to games that strengthens existing social bonds and create new bonds (ibid.) as children tend to easily befriend each other. This is one of the important resources for this term paper and we will later take a closer look, because the social bonds are not necessarily restricted to a human entity, but also to inanimate entities. Fourthly, psychological resources will be taken into consideration since they play an important role, which are also interesting later on. Through playing, children develop a sense of identity, optimism and resilience (ibid.). Resources are being built up to prepare and protect the individual for the future or to simply make life easier for the individual. These resources, brought forward by positive emotions, will trigger other positive emotions in the future and lead to one being in an 'upward spiral' up to a point of so called “human flourishing” (cf. Fredrickson, 2013).
Human flourishing is the optimal state of a human individual and is located on top of the 'upward spiral' effectively “beyond happiness” (Fredrickson, 2013, p. 3). This state implies “growth and longevity, beauty and goodness, robustness and resilience, and generativity and complexity” (Fredrickson, 2004, p. 1373) and is the epitome of frequent positive emotions. As there is a causality between feeling good and doing good according to Fredrickson's theory, the state of human flourishing indicates that “feeling good drives optimal function by building the enduring personal resources” (Fredrickson, 2013, p. 3). Therefore, by approaching this stage an individual is likely to experience frequent positive emotions. Human flourishing is the positive equivalent to mental disorders and is somehow the role model for frequent positive emotions.
The last feature which has to be mentioned according to Fredrickson's broaden-and- build theory is the undoing hypothesis (cf. Fredrickson, 2000; cf. Fredrickson, 2004). We already claimed that through positive emotions the thought-action repertoire is broadened and that on the other side negative emotions narrow the same repertoire. Hence, as the repertoire cannot be broadened and narrowed at the same time, positive emotions function as “efficient antidotes for the lingering effects of negative emotions” (Fredrickson, 2004, p. 1371). Positive emotions therefore do not just make us feel good, but also let us recover faster from stressful, anxious or provocative situations and prevent these situations from occurring. This hypothesis was tested by Fredrickson in an experiment (cf. Fredrickson, 2004, p. 1371; cf. Fredrickson, 2003, p. 91), which could verify the hypothesis: Fredrickson and her collaborators put participants in a stressful and anxiety-provoking situation namely giving a time-pressured speech, and after learning that they did not have to give the speech, they were shown films. Those who watched films saturated with positive emotions calmed down more easily than those who were presented films with neutral or negative emotions. Hence, after being confronted with an artificial, stressful situation, participants recovered faster when confronted with positive emotions afterwards.
For our conceptual framework we choose the positive emotion happiness as our starting point. Being happy triggers Fredrickson's theory that “positive emotions do more than simply feel good” (Fredrickson, 2002, p. 175). It also broadens the individual's thought-action repertoire and prevents restricting the view which leads to a state where we are more likely to build up physical, cognitive, social and psychological resources up to a point of human flourishing. We have to keep the social and psychological resources in mind as we will now see that an individual is constantly demanding these resources to extend his or her identity and to forge bonds.
2.2. Brand Attachment
Before we look at Aron and Aron's self-expansion model and the construct of brand attachment, we need to clarify an important assumption namely brand anthropomorphism – a multidimensional construct, defined as “the extent to which a branded product is perceived as an actual human being” (Guido/Peluso, 2015, p. 3). This assumption has become more and more adopted by economists due to the similarities which can be drawn between a romantic relationship and a non-romantic relationship with inanimate entities. The first, and most obvious dimension, refers to the appearance of products. Studies show that by humanising products, individuals are more likely to give them human value (cf. Guido/Peluso, 2015). For example a commercial which explicitly refers to human entities like Kinder Schokolade with Milky and Schoki or an object which is endowed with physical characters such as a one family house with its windows as eyes and its door as a mouth or “ a 'smiling' grille in a car” (ibid.). The second dimension refers to the self-brand congruity, meaning in how far individuals can identify themselves with the given product and allows it to become part of the individual's self-concept (ibid.). It is a human propensity to anthropomorphise brands and objects and hence to treat them like a person which is a fundamental requirement for the formation of brand attachment (cf. Diehl, 2009, p. 20; my translation) and the understanding of the self-expansion model.
2.2.1. Self-Expansion Model
The self-expansion model is the second psychological theory which we have to take a closer look at. This theory “has traditionally been examined in the context of romantic relationships” (Mattingly/Lewandowski, 2014, p. 484), but economists, propose that “self-expansion can [also] occur in a nonrelational context” (Mattingly/Lewandowski, 2012, p. 12). The self- expansion model implies that an individual is constantly, with an intrinsic motivation (cf. Aron/Aron, 1986, p. 21, cited: Deci, 1975), looking for a partner to integrate various kinds of entities into their individual self-concept (cf. Patwardhan/Balasubramanian, 2013, p. 74) “in the sense that they seek to enhance their potential efficacy by increasing the physical and social resources, perspectives, and identities that facilitate achievement of any goal that might arise” (Aron/Aron, 2003, p. 478).
Aron and Aron propose that this process of self-expansion is cyclical and consists of two phases (cf. Aron/Aron, 1986, p. 22). Firstly, a phase of actively seeking changes of an unknown complexity in form of an appropriate compound to integrate it into the self-concept and therefore expand the self. Secondly, a phase in which an individual is being expanded. After the expansion, an individual is satisfied for the span of a certain time frame. In this time frame, the individual rests and prefers simplicity, but after some time the motivation of expanding and looking out for complexity is raised again. These phases alternate with one another and are theoretical extremes, but Aron and Aron submit that “the two phases may average out each other's visible” (ibid.). The self-expansion model, as well as the broaden- and-build theory, function as complements to brand attachment. As we will see that “self- expansion motivation is at least in principle linked with attachment models” (Aron/Aron, 2003, p. 479 cited: Bowlby, 1969), it however differs in one crucial factor: the motivation to explore (cf. Aron/Aron, 2003, p. 480). While brand attachment focuses on safety, routine and a bond between two individuals, self-expansion theory is based on the motivation to explore and to ascertain new things. Hence, it is equilibrated, the individual tries to satisfy both needs and the two phases come into being.
However, this expansion of an individual not only includes gaining resources, but also “the willingness to allocate resources” (Pourazad/ Pare, 2014, p. 4). We first have to give attention, time, effort and psychological energy (cf. Belk, 1988, p. 144) to make the significant object or brand part of ourselves. Only after investing resources into the important entity and possessing it, as “we regard our possessions as parts of ourselves” (Belk, 1988, p. 145), we can extend our self-concept (ibid.). The positive effects of including aspects of a brand in the self, and hence extending our self-concept, after the investment of resources are notable. While there are obvious effects as incorporating new skills, attitudes, resources and behaviours, there are also indirect effects such as the union of the individual and the brand (cf. Aron/Aron, 1986, p. 29). The individual includes not only aspects of the brand into him- or herself, but he or she rather comes in a sense to include the brand, as a whole, into his/her concept (ibid.). Aron and Aron go even that far to say that they are united (ibid.), meaning that when the brand receives a setback, the individual does so as well; when the brand experiences positive change, the individual feels a positive change, too. To make it more concrete: On the one hand, when a brand's reputation becomes tarnished, P1 has the feeling that also his or her reputation or image gets damaged. On the other hand, when the reputation gets pushed, P1 receives the feeling of a good image and somehow prestige. When a brand (from now on: B) is affected by positivity or negativity, P1 is too as if these had happened to P1 him- or herself (ibid.). Waugh and Fredrickson call this phenomenon “self-other overlap” (Waugh/Fredrickson, 2006, p. 2) which is in its purest form the feeling of 'oneness' according to Park et al. (2010). Yet another effect, which is provided by Aron and Aron, is that through incorporating the brand into the self it “may support self-expansion outside the relationship” (Aron/Aron, 1986, p. 29). By using B, P1 may get, for example, in a conversation with other users of B or random people (P2) who are interested in B. The social contact provides self- expansion as well as the enhancement of social resources. P2 may be interested in B and decide to try B by himself or herself. B becomes tested and can either succeed, which results in a good reputation for P1, or it can fail, which could cast a shadow on P1. Nevertheless, if B fails, P1 is willing to protect and stand up for B, because through the existing brand relation the will of P1 is lifted to uphold the relation even against opposed opinions or resistances (cf. Weißgerber, 2007, p. 47; my translation). Furthermore, when B succeed, P2 is likely to buy B which would lead into a chain where P2 then also defends B and therefore his or her reputation. Here again we see that B and P1 are united, as the reputation of one reflects the reputation of the other, we also see that the relation of P1 and B are good for the simple reason that they brace each other.
Now that we have added the self-expansion model in our conceptual framework, the framework upgrades in such way that through frequent positive emotions our thought-action repertoire becomes broadened which afterwards leads to a state in which we are more likely to incorporate aspects of others (e.g. individuals, brands), since we are continuously motivated to widen our self-concept by absorbing new entities and obtaining new resources. In addition, the increasing of the self-concept results in an array of positive emotions like greater self- efficacy for resolving problems, having higher self-esteem (cf. Mattingly/Lewandowski, 2014, p. 484) and supporting self-expansion outside the relationship, reinforcing the argument of the 'upward spiral' as these positive emotions and situations lead to positive outcomes sooner or later. The last step in our conceptual framework is to define the dependent variable brand attachment and as we have already seen in the previous section, there is literal attachment between our current framework and brand attachment.
2.2.2. Definition of Brand Attachment
Regarding brand attachment, just like with the term 'happiness' there are many definitions on brand attachment – we stick within the frame of this paper to one of the most uncontroversial and universal accepted definition by Park et al. (2006, 2010) that brand attachment describes the strength of the cognitive and emotional bond connecting the brand with the individual. As mentioned above, brands are comparable to human entities. Hence, brand attachment is comparable to a relationship with a human being. While traditional psychology focuses on attachment among individuals, research in marketing assume that attachment can extend beyond person to person relations to relations with marketplace entities (cf. Park et al., 2006, p. 7). Even though attachment among people may differ from attachment to an object or a brand in various ways, the essential concept is assumed to be similar. Therefore, people see a brand “not as a passive object of marketing transactions but as an active” (Fournier, 1998, p. 345) object and rather assign selective human properties to these brands (cf. Belk, 1988, p. 140). There is an interdependence between the consumer and the brand. They affect and define each other. Just like a long person to person relationship, consumers do not simply choose brands for a short period of time, but they choose lives (cf. Fournier, 1988), because long-term studies show that once attached to a brand it is hard to dispose of it as people tend to say that something is missing when they have not used their brands for a while (ibid.). As in the self-expansion theory described above, they develop a feeling of “self-other overlap” (Fredrickson, 2006, p. 2) or even “oneness” (Park et al., 2010, p. 2) which is missing after not using the brand for a certain amount of time. Once a brand succeeds in playing an important role in the individual's socio-cultural environment it can become an indispensable partner (cf. Diehl, 2009, p. 20; my translation).
We have to juxtapose the term brand attachment and brand attitude strength as there are intersections: both are psychological constructs referring to a brand, both involve somehow an assessment of strength like bond or attitude and both have relevant implications on action alternatives within marketing (cf. Park et al., 2010, p. 3). However, there are some striking differences at the end of the day concerning affection, estimation of strength, the range of value and time. Brand attitude strength permits an evaluation and a judgement about the brand, yet, while talking about brand attachment it is not the case that judgements are involved, but rather the linkage to oneself is important, with the result that “this difference in affect has important implications for brand behaviours” (ibid.): brand attachment involves emotional and self-implication whereas brand attitude does not include these powerful feelings, but superficial judgements (ibid.). These judgements are also noteworthy while talking about the estimation of strength. Brand attitude strength lays in the person's judgement whether the brand is good or bad. The dimension of strength within brand attachment is a different one: the strength of the bond between an individual and a brand is measured in how far thoughts and memories are included (ibid.). To give examples for affection and estimation of strength: P1 has a good attitude towards B due to a positive evaluation after using B and the understanding that B is useful (brand attitude strength); due to long-standing usage of B, P1 has memories and positive thoughts while thinking about B. There is a bond between P1 and B. With the absence of B, emotional implications make P1 feel like a part of him/her is missing (brand attachment). A vast difference is the value of both constructs. Brand attitude's value is measured from negative to positive. Through this “bipolar valence dimension” (ibid.) consumer behaviours are easily predictable. While talking about brand attachment's value, it is “rather the strength of the bond connecting the brand with the self and its prominence” (ibid.) ranging from weak to strong. Time is the last difference between brand attitude strength and brand attachment. Brand attitude strength emerges due to elaborating thoughts and memories. This process usually happens in a short time, but can also happen in a longer limited period of time. On the other side, as we already drew a comparison between brand attachment and relationships, it can be said that brand attachment is time dependent. Brand attachment needs time to build up and cannot happen from one day to another. To give one more time examples to illustrate value and time: After the first usage, P1 gives B a certain value. If the scale is on the negative side P1 would not buy B again, but once the scale is on the positive side P1 would buy B (brand attitude strength). P1 has a weak brand attachment towards B, however P1 still uses B from time to time and after a while the bond becomes stronger (brand attachment). Brand attitude strength can go hand in hand with brand attachment, but this concomitance is not necessarily the case. All in all, the individual processes longer and develops slowly a firm brand attachment with the result that “attachment may reflect a more advanced stage of relationship development” (ibid.) than brand attitude strength does.
Again, as stated above, although attachment is growing popularity a universally accepted definition is not yet given (cf. Park et al., 2006, p. 3) so that by looking at attachment into detail, one can see several approaches. While some argue that attachment “consists of three dimensions – affection, passion and connection” (Patwardhan/Balasubramanian, 2013, p. 74) due to several studies by Thomson et al. (2005), others stick to the two dimensional concept with brand-self connection and brand prominence (cf. Park et al., 2006, p. 2). Evidence that this two dimensional construct seems to be a good assumption is given by various studies by Park et al. (2010), where they develop this concept step by step by juxtaposing study results. Firstly, brand-self connection (from now on: BSC) implicates the extent to which a brand is cognitively and emotionally linked to the individual's self and in how far instrumental value is giving by this object (cf. Park et al., 2006, p. 9; cf. Park et al, 2010, p. 2). Sharing experiences with the brand “evoke[s] rich cognitive schemata” (Park et al., 2006, p. 10) and are due to the “self-other overlap” (Fredrickson, 2006, p. 2) or “oneness” (Park et al., 2010, p. 2) inherently, by definition, self-relevant for the individual. However, these experiences, which can be seen as emotional property (cf. Park et al., 2006, p. 10), are not necessarily of positive nature as negative experiences like sadness or fear regarding the loss of the significant other connects the self with the brand, too. Notably, the individual can be connected to the brand for the representation who they are (actual self) or who they want to be (ideal self) (cf. Malär et al., 2011, p. 36ff.). Secondly, brand prominence (from now on: BP) describes “ease and frequency with which brand-related thoughts and feelings are brought to mind” (Park et al., 2010, p. 2). Brand prominence adds precision to the brand-self connection which is inevitable when talking about brand attachment, but it might also be the deciding point when for instance the brand self-connection of two brands are equal. Park et al. (2010) assume that if the instrumental value is low and the overlap between the brand and the self is high, then brand prominence is more prominent and crucial, because “self-activation and brand activation co-occur” (Park et al., 2010, p. 3). To give an example: P1 owns an expensive well-known wristwatch, e.g. Omega, however, the individual is used to looking up the time on a phone (instrumental value low). The wristwatch therefore rather shows social status which is directly linked with P1. The person unwittingly feels more fashion-conscious and upper-class as the self is linked with the brand which exudes this attributes. All in all, the greater the personal connection between the individual and the brand, and the more prominent the brand is in the individual's mind, the stronger is his or her attachment (cf. Malär et al., 2011, p. 37).
As we have already looked at resources within the scope of the broaden-and-build theory and the self-expansion model, we have to keep an eye on this factor one more time to understand the maintenance of brand attachment. Due to the broaden-and-build theory we presume that the happy individual is likely to build up resources (physical, cognitive, social and psychological), but already the self-expansion model assumes that we first have to invest resources (attention,money, time, effort, psychic energy) to build up a vast connection to an entity. Even though the resources are all of a different nature, this giving and gaining of resources is also relevant for brand attachment: once an attachment is up, it still needs resources to maintain this connection. Again it is comparable with a relationship between two individuals. If you do not invest certain resources into a relationship, it will fall apart, which is accompanied by the findings of Park et al. (2010) that “the more strongly consumers are attached to a brand, the more willing they are to forsake personal resources to maintain an ongoing relationship with that brand” (Park et al., 2010, p. 4). This 'cognitive reorganisation' of resources is formed by the investment of the individual's resources and the establishment of new resources of the brand which will come to be seen as the individual's own (cf. Park et al, 2006, p. 11) and reinforce the argument of 'oneness'. The outcome resources of this attachment are of hedonic, functional or symbolic nature (ibid.): the brand could gratify the individual through aesthetic, ease a situation through product performance, and enrich the self through brand concept internalisation (ibid.). Particularly, the brand concept internalisation carries an important role as we assume for this paper that throughout the self-expansion model the individual is motivated to devour new entities and concepts.
Since we have talked about the formation of brand attachment, this paper will shortly provide its consequences, too. There are various effects which result out of brand attachment and of which economists make use of. Firstly, the accompanying brand loyalty due to the brand attachment (cf. Park et al., 2006, p. 17). Individuals who are strongly attached to a brand are more likely to forgive faults (ibid.). This is good for the brand, because a mistake does not necessarily lead to the loss of consumers. Actually the contrary is the case: the individuals are trying to defend their brand when for example negative information about the company comes up. Due to the 'self-other overlap' they find a sort of “self-defensive motivation” (Park et al., 2006, p. 17) to counter-argue which leads not only to the defence of the brand, but also to the defence of their own reputation. The devaluation of alternatives is another effect linked to brand attachment and also to brand loyalty. The consumer resists competing alternatives (cf. Park et al., 2006, p. 17, cited: Johnson and Rusbult, 1989) and is unwilling to buy them, because it would show inconsistency in their person. By avoiding the purchase of a rival brand, the brand attachment becomes stronger since it somehow shows commitment (cf. Pourazad/Pare, 2014, p. 10). Secondly, positive word of mouth (from now on: WOM) communication (ibid.). Here again, the individual functions as an instrument, but not in a defensive and passive manner, but rather with an active behaviour. They serve as “key spokespersons for brands” (Pourazad/Pare, 2014, p. 8) and share recommendations and experiences with others. This leads to higher sales figures since a person from the own circle of friends and acquaintances is more reliable than strangers in commercials. Thirdly, the positive impact on actual purchase behaviour (cf. Park et al., 2010, p. 5). Despite the fact that strong brand attachment provides future purchases (cf. Pourazad/Pare, 2014, p. 10; Park et al., 2010, p. 5), brand attachment also leads also to the willingness to pay a price premium. Studies show that individuals who feel a strong attachment towards a brand are likely to pay a price about half or double the average price (ibid.) which again leads to higher sales. We can see that brand attachment leads to numerous positive effects for both parties. The individual expands the self and builds up resources which he or she can draw on in the future; the companies benefit from the construct of brand attachment by having leeway for mistakes, positive WOM and higher numbers of purchases with also higher prices. These stated positive impacts and the fact that classical brand strategies become less effective raise the importance and frequency in this research area. Owing to the fact that we have defined the theoretical framework ultimately, it is now time to derive hypotheses from this framework, which is the reason why a table with all relevant bullet points is being provided to recap the conceptual framework. We will afterwards look at a quantitative study and provide solution approaches to the upcoming hypotheses through its results.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
- Quote paper
- Kevin J. Zuchanek (Author), 2018, The Effect Of Frequent Positive Emotions On The Formation Of Brand Attachment, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/542372