Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Congruence between Self-Concept and Brand Personality, Its Effect on Brand Emotional Attachment

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Congruence between Self-Concept and Brand Personality, Its Effect on Brand Emotional Attachment

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Over the past two decades, the attention of many researchers in the field of consumer behavior has been drawn to how individuals choose brands in order to describe their ideal personality. Brand personality is considered as the core variable in customer decision making. In many markets, brand creates a special identity for products and links them to specific groups of the community. Therefore, the customer is ready to pay a different price for it and organizations will be able to guarantee their profitability and survival in today's competitive world by identifying loyal customers and building a solid and sustainable relationship with them. Today, recognizing and anticipating customer needs for an enterprise is essential for gaining competitive advantage and market segmentation. Since the customer is a key factor in strengthening the agility of the organization and orienting all goals, strategies and resources around customer acquisition and maintenance, are as a strategic challenge in the marketplace. According to Park et al. (1986), many brands offer a mixture of symbolic, functional and experiential benefits. Functional needs are defined as those that motivate the search for products that solve consumption related problems (e.g. solve a current problem, resolve conflict, restructure a frustrating situation). A brand with a functional concept is defined as one designed to solve externally generated consumption needs. Symbolic needs are defined as desires for products that fulfill internally generated needs for self-enhancement, role position, group membership, or ego identification. A brand with a symbolic concept is one designed to associate the individual with a desired group, role, or self-image. Experiential needs are defined as desires for products that provide sensory pleasure, variety, and/or cognitive stimulation. A brand with an experiential concept is designed to fulfill these internally generated needs for stimulation and/or variety.

Meanwhile, researchers such as Wysong et al. (2002) and Moon (2007) believe that brands as consumer symbols in today's postmodern era, depending on their capacity, can have certain personality aspect. They can take on their own personal features and even characterize their customers. Consequently, if the character of the brand is different from what the customer feels for himself, he can end the success of a brand. In connection with the character of the brand and the different dimensions of it, there are prominent researches. Aaker (1997) considers the brand as a set of human features that can be attributed to a brand. As one of the theorists of this field, he posited the brand personality in 5 dimensions, including sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. In his studies, he came to the conclusion that brands would attract customers of the same personality. However, theoretical views on this behavioral consistency, in which customers with a specific character, choose brands with the most personality similarities, was raised years ago by Sirgy (1982). The research of the thinker, emphasizing "the importance of the customer's self-image in his behavior", showed that if customers fit into what they consider to be personally relevant to what the brand offers them personally, they will buy that particular brand. In fact, Sirgy suggested that the matching of the image of the brand personality, which forms in the customer's mind, with the customer's own idea, could have a great effect on customer preference, purchase intention, product profitability and ultimately, brand loyalty. According to his studies, consumer self-congruency is associated with the brand and creating emotional dependence, which is complex and influenced by the three factors of product (service) participation, individual consumer features and the type of selfcongruity (the congruity of brand personality with the actual or ideal self of consumer). In this research, we intend to find out which congruity of ideal and actual self will have the greatest impact on the customer's emotional attachment. …

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