Journal of Product & Brand Management

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Latest documents

  • Guest editorial
  • Examining the drivers of employee brand understanding: a longitudinal study

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to extend previous research by using a longitudinal design to examine the differential contribution of brand understanding (BU) drivers at various moments in the early tenure of service employees. Employee BU is a prerequisite of brand promise delivery among service employees. Previous studies, using cross-sectional samples, established that brand-oriented recruitment, training and leadership are significant BU drivers. Design/methodology/approach: A three-wave survey was collected from a 105-member panel of recent hires at a restaurant chain that displayed a strong brand culture and adopted internal brand management (IBM) practices. Structural equation models with carryover effects were estimated to measure the impact of BU drivers on Day 1, as well as at four and seven months of tenure. In addition, a latent growth model of BU was estimated using random coefficients modeling. Findings: Results show a significant positive effect of IBM practices on BU at each point in time; however, despite this, by the seven month milestone, BU is still not fully developed. Research limitations/implications: As with most organizational longitudinal studies, there was sample attrition because of the high turnover that characterizes the restaurant industry. This attrition is not believed to be correlated with the variables measured in the study. Practical implications: Managers seeking a differentiated customer experience should not assume new hires attain a good understanding of the service brand even after the first seven months of tenure. Hence, brand training and leadership should extend well beyond this time frame. Originality/value: This study is the first, as per the authors’ understanding, to use a longitudinal design to model BU as a dynamic variable because it befits the learning trajectories of new employees.

  • Engaging consumers in mobile instant messaging: the role of cute branded emoticons

    Purpose: With the rapid surge of mobile marketing, an increasing number of brands have launched branded emoticons in an attempt to build brand relationships with consumers. Despite the apparent promise of branded emoticon usage, there is only limited academic research on branded emoticons. This paper aims to build on impression management theory and the conceptualization of cuteness to investigate how the effect of cuteness in branded emoticon design influences perceived playfulness in mobile instant messaging (MIM) interaction and the creation of brand engagement in self-concept. Design/methodology/approach: Consumers with usage experience of branded emoticons in MIM apps were recruited to complete an online survey. Partial least squares structural equation modelling was used to analyze the data. Findings: Two facets of cuteness – kindchenschema cuteness and whimsical cuteness – can project a favourable social image to consumers that facilitates playfulness in social interaction and enhances brand engagement in self-concept, which leads to their willingness to purchase the brand and stickiness to the MIM apps. Originality/value: The popularity of branded emoticons represents a new form of social interaction and an innovative way to build brand relationships. The present study is the first to examine the design aspects of branded emoticons and highlights that the cuteness of a branded emoticon may be a crucial factor in engaging consumers in MIM.

  • The immediate effect of corporate social responsibility on consumer-based brand equity

    Purpose: In response to consumer and society demands for firms to be socially responsible, brands have been taking a strategic approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) by integrating socially responsible activities into their brands’ core value propositions to strengthen brand equity. Thus, from a brand building perspective, this paper aims to investigate the immediate effect that brand CSR communications have on the change in brand awareness, perceived quality and loyalty, to provide a deeper understanding of how each dimension affects the overall change in brand equity. Design/methodology/approach: With evidence from an experiment conducted in three different countries (Australia, United States and Spain), based on an actual brand CSR program, this paper explores the different immediate effects of change in brand awareness, perceived brand quality and brand loyalty, after the exposure to a CSR message, on the overall immediate change in value that consumers give to a brand. Furthermore, it examines the role of brand-cause fit and the influence that differences in cultural, economic and political environments have on this effect. Findings: The change in brand loyalty due to CSR communication is the key dimension driving the immediate positive change in overall brand equity. In addition, change in brand awareness has an inverted U-shape relationship with change in overall brand equity, whereas the change in perceived brand quality does not have an influence. Finally, the results indicate that this immediate effect holds regardless of the level of brand-cause fit, but is greater in countries where firms are expected to participate and CSR reporting is not mandatory, making such practices be seen as voluntary. Practical implications: The findings of this study offer research implications for academics, and practical considerations for brand managers, interested in how to rapidly generate changes in consumer perception by leveraging CSR activities for brand building in global settings. Specifically, it indicates that when the aim is to quickly build brand equity, the goal of communicating CSR activities must be to increase the level of attachment that consumers have to the brand since loyalty is the main driver of the immediate change in overall brand equity. Originality/value: Although many scholars have demonstrated the impact of CSR on various consumer behavior outcomes (e.g., brand attitude, purchase intention, loyalty), from a brand build perspective the implications of the immediate effect of a brand communication of CSR practices on consumer-based brand equity remain less clear. This study addresses this gap to gain a deeper understanding of how to rapidly generate changes in consumer perception to build strong brands while leveraging CSR practices.

  • Brand love matters to Millennials: the relevance of mystery, sensuality and intimacy to neo-luxury brands

    Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the mediating effect of brand love on purchase intention and word-of-mouth through mystery, sensuality and intimacy as brand image dimensions in the context of neo-luxury brands. It also explores the moderating effect of duration and intensity of consumer-brand relationships on brand image dimensions. Design/methodology/approach: The data collection was done via an online survey of a representative group of Millennials. Data analysis was performed using structural equation modeling and multi-group analysis. Findings: The paper suggests that brand love mediates the relationship between brand image, purchase intention and word-of-mouth for both Apple and Michael Kors brands. This study also identifies differences in the effects of intimacy, sensuality and mystery on brand love. Additionally, it is demonstrated that the moderation effect of intensity and duration of consumer-brand relationships varies among the two neo-luxury brands. Research limitations/implications: Further research should aim at investigating other categories of products and services in the field of neo-luxury, as this study focus on fashion and mobile brands. Other antecedents and outcomes of brand love should also be evaluated, as well as other moderating variables. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the fast-growing consumer-brand relationships literature by exploring the role of brand love in the context of the emergent neo-luxury paradigm. It also intends to provide a better understanding of how to build and nurture an effective brand image through a multidisciplinary approach that combines mystery, sensuality and intimacy.

  • Does non-hard-sell content really work? Leveraging the value of branded content marketing in brand building

    Purpose: This study aims to test the role of branded content marketing on YouTube in brand building and explicates the mechanism through which brand content influences brand loyalty and purchase intentions. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a quantitative, Web-based, three-step randomized intervention design and recruits YouTube users through the Amazon Mechanical Turk (n = 925). Findings: Post-intervention results (n = 596) show that consumers’ repeated exposure to branded content facilitates their social learning processes. Consumers derive value from the relevant content and subsequently form more favorable brand attitudes, greater brand loyalty and heightened purchase intentions. Brand loyalty mediates the effect of perceived brand content value on purchase intentions. Practical implications: This study’s findings support the advantages of investing in the creation and dissemination of valuable brand content through a brand’s own social media channel(s). While informative content and entertaining content can both drive brand loyalty, high product-involvement brands are advised to emphasize on informative content to precipitate brand–consumer attachment. Low product-involvement brands, on the other hand, are advised to feature more enticing and captivating content to stimulate consumer devotion. Originality/value: This study reveals the positive impact of branded content marketing within social media on consumers’ brand attitudes, brand loyalty and purchase intentions. It also explicates the mechanism through which content marketing influences brand evaluation and purchase intentions by coordinating consumer learning and value derivation.

  • New product performance advantages for extending large, established fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands

    Purpose: This paper aims to investigate how the current size and structure of a branded product portfolio impacts new product performance for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), testing the long-standing proposition that extending a firm’s brand and product portfolio too far is a dangerous proposition that may damage the market performance of the firm’s new product launches. Design/methodology/approach: Aspects associated with brand size and structure that may impact new product performance are operationalized along two key dimensions: within-category (scale) and cross-category (scope). The impact of the brand’s scale and scope on the sales performance of newly commercialized products by the brand is empirically investigated in the context of FMCG. Over 2,000 new products launched in 2009 and 2010 across 31 food and non-food FMCG product categories in the USA are included in the regression-based analysis. Findings: The authors find strong evidence that brands with broader within-category scale and cross-category scope overall are associated with more successful new product introductions, and that these influences generally are driven more by increased product trial than by repeat or persistence. The authors argue that the higher new product performance observed for more established and proliferated brands may be attributed to advantages of firm product development abilities and product acceptance by the marketplace. Originality/value: The current results serve to temper the strong cautions set forth in much of the marketing literature about the dangers of overextending the firm’s brand and product portfolio. These results also suggest that future research should be conducted to further understand more nuanced implications of how best to grow the scale and scope of the firm’s brand and product portfolio.

  • Brand identification, cause-brand alliances and perceived cause controversy

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which a cause-brand alliance (CBA) leads to improved attitude toward cause-brand alliance, which in turn leads to improved brand identification. Design/methodology/approach: The approach uses a 2 × 2 × 2 between-subjects experimental design to examine the interaction effect of the brand ally, the non-profit ally, and the perception of cause controversy on a customer’s attitude toward the CBA, which in turn affects identification with the brand ally. Findings: On average, customers’ perception of cause controversy influences attitude toward the CBA and subsequently the level of identification with the brand ally. When a non-profit organization is connected to a controversial issue, managerial options for building a successful CBA are more limited than when the non-profit is noncontroversial. Research limitations/implications: We contribute to consumer learning theory in the context of CBA research by identifying an important boundary condition – perceived cause controversy. Perceived cause controversy impedes the customer’s learning about partners in CBA. Moreover, fit and cue consistency are separate constructs. Practical implications: CBAs help build customer brand identification. Brand managers must include the customer’s perceived cause controversy, the ally’s unique information, and the customer’s attitude toward the nonprofit in the decision calculus. Brands have an opportunity to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and build identification by helping a less well-established nonprofit to build positive customer attitudes. If the non-profit is linked to controversy, this opportunity is constrained. Originality/value: A boundary condition-perceived cause controversy influences how the partners in a CBA differentially influence the customer’s attitude toward the CBA and, ultimately, brand identification.

  • Protecting brands from product failure using extended warranties

    Purpose: Product failures can lead to customer dissatisfaction, negative brand attitudes and a loss of brand equity. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether extended warranties offer a mechanism to mitigate the negative effects of product failure and the mediating role of positive and negative self-directed emotions. Design/methodology/approach: The hypotheses are tested using two 2 × 2 between-subjects experiments with product failure and warranty purchase as the two factors, attitude toward the brand as the dependent variable, positive and negative self-directed emotions as mediating variables and attitude toward warranties as a covariate. Findings: It is found that the decline in attitude toward the brand due to product failure is greater among customers purchasing an extended warranty, than among those who do not. Moreover, positive and negative self-directed emotions mediate this relationship. Originality/value: Manufacturers are for the most part not involved in distribution or administration of extended warranties, which are mainly sold through retailers and administered by companies that specialize in extended warranties. The study findings indicate that contrary to industry practice, consumer-durable manufacturers should consider more active management and promotion of extended warranties to protect their brand’s equity from the negative effects of product failure.

  • Role of consumer vanity and the mediating effect of brand consciousness in luxury consumption

    Purpose: There has been substantial research on luxury globally, but there is a dearth of studies empirically investigating the key relationships affecting luxury consumption. The aim of this paper is to consider the role of consumer vanity and brand consciousness and to set their relationships in context of luxury consumption. Design/methodology/approach: To measure consumer vanity, brand consciousness, attitude towards luxury brands and purchase intentions, pre-established scale items were adopted. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed through luxury exhibitions and festivals in major cities of India. A sample of n = 342 luxury consumers was analysed using structural equation modelling. Findings: The findings support that brand consciousness is mediating the relationship between consumer vanity and luxury consumption. Luxury consumers are primarily driven by achievement vanity. They are likely to evaluate luxury brands based on their price, fame and their ability to portray their professional achievements. They incur unreasonable costs to acquire the expensive, famous and prestigious luxury brands and conspicuously consume them to display their success and accomplishments. Research limitations/implications: The study provides an in-depth explanation of how consumer vanity is leading to consumption of luxury brands. The marketers may benefit by focussing on promotion of their brand's symbols and logos than on specific product features. Originality/value: This is the first empirical examination understanding the mediating effect of brand consciousness as a mediator between consumer vanity and luxury consumption.

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