Antescedents: more associated with identification than attachment. Mediator

Antescedents:

1.     Brand history
and felt security:

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Firstly, In
real consumer-brand relationships, we view Attachment and Identification as
competing conceptualization of brand relationships, likewise, when the two of
them occur, they are found to be complementary not substitutes, “Identification as a cognitive state
of self-categorization, which is possible even in the absence of formal
membership, as in the case of consumers’ identification with the companies they
consume from, turning them into loyal advocates of those companies” Bhattacharya
and Sen (2003). However, Attachment, on the other hand, seems to have a more personal
flavor, with stronger links to consumers’ security motives and their more
private behaviors relating to the brand.

Moreover, Consumer’s
relation with a brand and its frequent experiences with it plays a role in his
identification with it (Stokburger-Sauer et al., 2012). Similarly, when a
consumer deal with a brand multiple times, a sense of security and comfort is
developed (Rindfleisch, Burroughs, & Wong, 2009) and the positive emotions may
be also attached to this brand (Brakus et al., 2009).  

Therefore,
we expect that in environments where identification and attachment exist
together, brand history and consumer’s security feeling are more associated
with identification than attachment.

 

 

 

 

 

Mediator

a)      According to the
general attitude theory (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975) and the theory of reasoned
action (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1980), when a person is exposed to certain
advertising messages, then their attitude comes out. (Massey et al., 2013). Advertisement
has an argument strength which refers to the persuasive power of Advertising
(Bhattacherjee and Sanford, 2006). There is an evidence that Advertisement persuasive
messages influence the cognitive, motivational and emotional points of the recipient
(Chang et al., 2015; Nenkov, 2012). Which means that, Advertisement persuasive
messages is an important element and a mediator that regulates the relationship
between Perceived Brand Authenticity and Emotional brand attachment. Accordingly,
the persuasive hierarchy model suggests that a consistent pathway exists;
starting with cognitive responses, then affective and then a behavioral response
in the form of purchase (Massey et al., 2013).

 

However, there are some mediators that lies between Brand romance or
emotional attachment and brand loyalty.

 

a)      Corporate
association: which
is customer evaluation to a certain brand according to the stored knowledge in
their memory due to some past interactions (Romaniuk and Gaillard, 2007). This
has an affect of how the consumer perceive a brand and how he will be loyal to
it later on or not.

b)      Corporate
benefits: which is a
multidimensional construct, where customers derive two key benefits (functional
and symbolic) from their brand consumption that requires high-involvement
purchase decision (Okonkwo, 2007). Functional benefits is When a product
fulfills immediate and practical needs, customers perceive intrinsic values
from the purchase of this product (Sweeney and Soutar, 2001). In addition, Consumer’s
perception of a brand as irreplaceable makes him strive for a long relationship
with it (Fournier, 1998), that’s why the more consumers perceive functional
benefits of the brand, the more they are loyal to it. On the other hand,
Symbolic benefits, are extrinsic values that satisfy a consumer’s social
approval and self-expressive needs (Liang and Wang, 2004). The more positively
consumers perceive functional benefits, the greater their brand loyalty.

c)      CSR:  The percentage of giving high priorities to investment
in environmental and social actions is going to be 70%, based on (The Economist)
by 2011 (Franklin, 2008). Also, there are only few literatures studying the
contribution of CSP to positive firm outcomes through emotion-laden processes
(Berger et al., 2006). Moreover, companies are placing social initiatives and a
very important strategic objective (Wagner et al., 2009).

These initiatives can happen inside or outside the firm and take the form
of making products with carbon neutral substances, or even donating to
charities (McWilliams et al., 2006). Thus, Gallup suggests that “CSR actions
are likely to make consumers more emotionally connected to firms” (McEwen,
2010). Corporate social performance facilitates the connection to the self
through making them feel that they are doing good on their behalf through
helping people in need, which in turn leads to a sense of wellbeing so,
consumers use their CSP associations obtain a positive inner and social self-wellbeing.
Therefore, the higher the CSP associations, the greater the customer become
emotionally tied and thus loyal to the brand.

 

There are moderators that strengthens the relationship between CSR, Brand
romance/ emotional attachment and brand loyalty such as (Altruism, need for
activity) which are elaborated above in the moderator’s section.

 

d)      consumer-firm
emotional attachment:
Consumer satisfaction is a mediational option that link CSP with the desired loyalty
outcomes, this variable used by the consumer an alternative option to evaluate
the company’s social initiatives Luo and Bhattacharya (2006). Therefore, consumer-firm emotional
attachment mediated the effect of CSP on loyalty outcomes.

Moderator

Moderators
mainly strengthens the relationship and gives more explanation to the variables
existed.

First of
all, the relationship between the emotional attachment/ brand romance and
loyalty which is moderated by:

a)      Interpersonal
attachment anxiety: the tendency of consumers to worry about being refused by
other people. “It is one of the two orthogonal dimensions that appear to tap
individual differences in adult attachment” (Campbell et al., 2005). Highly
anxious people seek positive emotions in commercial relationships to make up
for them the negativity they experienced in personal relationships. Therefore,
anxiety level of consumers moderate the relationship between brands emotional attachment
and loyalty intentions that leads to positive WOM.

Firstly, the
relationship between CSR and consumer’s being loyal is moderated by the
following variables:

a)      Alturism:  Altruism is a “general predisposition to
selflessly seek to help others” (Mowen and Sujan, 2005). And, it’s the primary
motivator to help others. Therefore, when a consumer decides whether this firm
deserves his affection or not, consumers with high altruism will appreciate CSP
more than people with low altruism.  

b)      Need for
activity: Need for
activity is “an enduring motive to stay busy and always be

doing something” (Mowen and Sujan, 2005). Similarly, people will tend to
prefer companies that are high in need for activity as they do (Hawkins and
Mothersbaugh, 2010).

 

 

(dependent
variables and their outcomes:

Brand
romance is one of the outcomes that comes out as a result of emotional brand
attachment, we define it as a state of emotional attachment (in response to the
brand as a stimulus) that’s defined by strong positive affect towards the brand,
high stimulus causes by the brand (arousal) and brand’s tendency to dominate
the consumer’s cognition.  The following
are the key aspects that elobarte how different consumers have different level
of romance to the same brand.

a)      Pleasure: the
extent that the stimulus brand leads to pleasure of consumers, where they feel
love, attraction, desire, pleasure, fun and excitement along the way. That’s
why it’s the first dimension of brand romance.

b)      Arousal: Consumer-brand
relationships is characterized by positive feelings. But they should be intense
in order to arouse the consumer to be meaningful or effective. Mehrabian and
Russell (1974) provided evidence that support the positive relationship between
the intensity of pleasure and tendency to approach a stimulus. At a moderate
level of arousal, preference, liking or positive feelings, performance and affiliation
upsurge. Thus, arousal is the second-dimension of brand romance.  

c)      Dominance: (McAlexander
et al., 2002) discerns the extent to which brands “. . . become inextricably
embedded within some portion of the consumer’s psyche, as well as his/her lifestyle”
(Oliver, 1999, p. 40). Knowing that it could sometimes be harmful if it limits
the freedom to think or act, but it’s not bad, it’s actually preferable in the
brands world (Mehrabian
and Russell, 1974). Thus, it’s the third dimension of brand romance.

 

Brand romance also can be seen as an antecedent, whereas brand loyalty is
its dependent variable. However, there are some mediators (corporate
association, functional benefits, symbolic benefits) and moderator (Interpersonal
attachment anxiety) that affects the relationship between Brand romance or emotional
attachment and Brand loyalty which are elaborated above.