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Importance Of Brand Personality Marketing Essay

The study done by Kim, Lee, Ulgado (2005), reveals that importance of brand personality in the formation of brand-consumer relationships. In particular, it empirically proves that consumers establish more intense brand commitment through the experiences of love, joy and pride induced by the process of brand attachment or self-esteem (Kim, Lee, & Ulgado, 2005). This finding supports the argument that such emotions, the determinants of commitment, should be conceptually and empirically differentiated from commitment per se (Chaudhuri & Hoibrook, 2001). The study suggests that consumers experience a feeling of attachment in a relationship with a self-congruent brand. The brand attachment process involves the emotions of love and joy, which increase as a result of emotional dependence and separation anxiety. Joy is a positive emotion that consumers usually feel when using the brand they like (Chaudhuri & Hoibrook, 2001). This feeling of joy is a starting point in forming an emotional bond with the brand and in developing more profound emotions such as love. Oliver (1999) refers to commitment based on love as ‘unfailing commitment,’ emphasizing its qualitative difference from attitudinal loyalty based on other emotions (Oliver, 1999).

Past research shows that more strongly a consumer's attachment to a brand, the more willing they are to forsake personal resources to maintain an ongoing relationship with the brand. They are willing to engage in difficult behaviors -- "those that require investments of time, money and energy, so as to maintain or deepen a brand relationship."Highly attached consumers are more motivated to devote their own resources in the process of self-expansion, including paying more, defending the brand, derogating alternatives, and devoting more time to the brand through brand communities and brand promotion through social media. Attachment represented by both brand-self-connection and prominence is a significantly better predictor than brand attitude strength of actual behaviors (Science Daily , 2010).

Study supports that brand-self connection and prominence both contribute to the measurement of brand attachment. It also supports a second-order representation of attachment (with brand-self connection and brand prominence as separate indicators), which in turn supports the notion that the two subscales are subsumed within the attachment construct. Finally, it supports conceptualization of attachment and brand attitude strength as related yet distinct constructs both from a measurement perspective and in terms of their ability to predict separation distress. In addition the study supports the idea that brand attachment better predicts consumers’ intentions to enact difficult behaviors than does brand attitude strength. These results further confirm the idea that brand attachment and brand attitude strength are different constructs that have different behavioral outcomes. Finally they found that the two- and one-component brand attachment measures predict intent to perform behaviors equally well. Because Study relies on intentions to perform behaviors, versus performance of actual behavior, Study also extends by examining the importance of brand-self connection and prominence as indicators of attachment.

The use of real purchase data in Study supports and helps to generalize findings to a context involving actual customer behavior. Study demonstrated that brand-self connection and brand prominence both indicate attachment and that the inclusion of both strongly predicted company reported sales, brand purchase share and need share compared to brand-self connection alone. They also outperformed brand attitude strength as predictors of these outcomes. These effects were observed even when accounting for alternative factors. Taken together, the results of Study corroborate the important role of brand attachment and strongly support the notion that brand attachment and brand attitude strength are different constructs that have different outcomes related to behavior, brand purchase-share, and need share (Park, MacInnis, Priester, Eisingerich, & Iacobucci, 2010).

Consumers have become so attached to brands that, if forced to buy a competing product, they suffer separation anxiety, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Southern California surveyed users of prominent brands including the Apple iPod and found the emotional bond was so powerful consumers were willing to go to great lengths to keep their favorite name. They found the stronger a consumer's attachment to a product, the more willing they were to give up other personal items to keep the brand and the more motivated they were to waste time, money and energy to get more involved in the brand. According to the study, consumers who are highly attached to a brand are more likely to pay more, defend a brand, bag competitors and devote more time to the product, including bragging about it via social media. ``A consumer who is strongly attached to a brand of soft drinks is not only less likely to buy competing soft drinks, but also less likely to buy other beverages (e.g.- tea, coffee, water, juice), '' the study's authors said.

Likewise, a consumer who is attached to her iPhone may not only be more likely to allocate more of her monetary resources to the iPhone, but also more likely to use her iPhone as a source of information and entertainment compared to competing need categories (e.g., newspapers, TV, magazines (Bervanakis, 2010).

Brand community (Sense of Community):

In recent years, academic treatments of consumption activities have begun to move away from a focus on the individual to considerations of the communal. We can sum up the social context by stating that people are born into a world that they experience as the world. However, the world as they experience it is only a social construct. Habits form this social reality passed on from one generation to another. Children internalize this social reality so it becomes the reality form them. With the young people, this social influence can manifest itself in the divers clothing styles that are experienced as proper by the different groups. Peer group have tremendous impact on the brand choice of young people, particularly for trendy products, such as clothing, music, movies, and electronics. Such social influences can be death for a brand that is not favored by peer-dominated group such as teenagers, who use social consensus information to arrive at judgments and brand evaluation. Brand communities are a twentieth-century phenomenon that reflects the power of a social relationship to confirm the value of a brand (Giep & Moriarty, 2009). Harley-Davidson and its grassroots HOG (Harley Owners Groups) is one of the most well known examples of brand community and the model for Lego’s Lugnuts group. Less formalized groups are those loyal, almost cut-like owners of Apple computers and Saab and Volvo cars (Muniz & Guinn, 2001) have found three characteristics of these communities: consciousness of being connected not only to the brand but to other members of community; legitimacy, achieved through rituals and traditions that distinguish real members from marginal members; and oppositional brand loyalties (Giep & Moriarty, 2009, p. 40). Muniz & Guinn, (2001) define a brand community as a “ specialized, non-geographically bound community based on a structured set of social rleations among admire of a brand.

A brand community defined by American Marketing Association “A community formed on the basis of attachment to a brand (product or service)” (AMA).

McAlexander and Schouten define brand community as ‘Communities whose primary bases of identification are either brands or consumption activities, that is, whose meaningfulness is negotiated through the symbolism of the marketplace. A brand community is a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand. It is specialized because at its center is a branded good or service (McAlexander & Schouten, 2002).’

Muniz and O’Guinn (1991) “define a brand community as a “specialized, non-geographically bound community, and based on a structured set of relationships among admirers or a brand” (Muniz & Guinn, 2001, p. 412).

The social identity can also be a result of the perception of the typical users of a brand (the user’s image) with which people identify or which they reject. In extreme cases, a brand community can come into being, defined by Carlson (2005) “as a perceived social bond that exists among a collective group of users of a brand. Such a brand driven affiliation results from a congruency between beliefs, attitude and values held by an individual, those held by other users of the brand as a collective group, and those projected by the brand itself” (B.D.Carlson, 2005). Online communities have reshaped the way brands interact with their customers, as well as how customers interact with each other. Intel found out when challenges to its chip circulated online and overwhelmed the company’s attempts to control, or even respond to, theses very public complaints (Giep & Moriarty, 2009).

Some authors point out that a brand community is characterized by three core components:

Consciousness of kind

Rituals and traditions

Sense of moral responsibility

Consciousness of kind: It refers to the feeling that binds every individual to the other community members and the community brand (e.g. the passion for driving a Porsche) and it is determined by two factors: (1) legitimization, the process of establishing a difference between true and false members, that is, those who have opportunist behaviors and those who do not; and (2) opposition to other brands.

Rituals and traditions: These are processes carried out by community members who help to reproduce and transmit the community meaning in and out of the community. Members relate to each other with the memory of major events in the history of the brand and they usually share a common set of values and certain behaviors, such as a specific language or way of dressing.

Sense of moral responsibility: This reflects the feelings that create moral commitment among the community members. Because of moral responsibility, there are two types of fundamental actions: (1) integration and retention of members, which guarantees the community survival, (e.g. by spreading bad experiences suffered by those individuals who chose a different brand); and (2) support in the correct use of the brand (e.g. by sharing information about product properties). Thus, these communities provide consumer support with the ongoing use of the brand products (Pitta & Fowler, 2005).

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In looking at over 50 types of brand communities, we can able to dissect and classify them into nine different buckets that make sense. we could have segmented them by core purpose (innovation, evangelism, distribution, insight, user generated content, decision-making, employee-rallying, customization), but the segmentation would become meaningless given how many different purposes exist for brand communities, oftentimes found all in the some of the better communities. Instead, two defining characteristics of a brand community are:

1) Exclusivity - how private or public is the access granted to members/prospects within the community

2) Depth of Involvement - what is the scope of the collaboration being asked or commitment being required

All forms can be valuable depending on the brand.

Therefore, the nine Types of Brand Communities resulting are:

Low Exclusivity

1) Fan Club - Wd-40 (low involvement)

2) Brand Forums - Intuit QuickBooks (mid involvement)

3) Brand Network - Jones Soda (high involvement)

Middle Exclusivity

4) Brand Nation - Nike Plus (low involvement)

5) Brand Ambassador - Maker's Mark Embassy (mid involvement)

6) Brand Meritocracy - Spread Firefox (high involvement)

High Exclusivity

7) Influencer Clique - Lulu lemon (low involvement)

8) Advisory Panel - Dell Idea storm (mid involvement)

9) Brand Cult - Harley Davidson - HOGS (high involvement)

Some of the categorizations have a few rough edges but writer believe the categorization is an effective Paradigm for looking at brand communities (buzzcanuck, 2008).

Photo

Nine types of brand community

(Source: http://buzzcanuck.typepad.com/agentwildfire/2008/03/9-types-of-bran.html; 16th August 2012)

Research on Brand Community

A brand community is the concept found in management literature that can strengthen brand equity, while also reinforcing the social nature of brands (Muniz & Guinn, 2001). “Brand communities carry out important functions on behalf of the brand, such as sharing information, perpetuating the history and culture of the brand, and providing assistance. They provide social structure to the relationship between marketer and consumer” (Muniz & Guinn, 2001, p. 427).According to their research, brand communities share three core characteristics: the existence of a consciousness of a kind, the presence of shared rituals, and a sense of moral responsibility between members.

‘A brand community from a customer experiential perspective is a fabric of relationships in which the customer is situated. Crucial relationships include those between the customer and the brand, between the customer and the firm, between the customer and the product in use, and among fellow customers (Muniz & Guinn, 2001).

Brand communities offer a way to enmesh the customer in a network of relationships with the brand and fellow customers as opposed to the traditional brand loyalty — a one-to-one relationship between a brand and its customer. It is presume that such an approach would strengthen the bonds with the customer in a much superior fashion. Recent studies have further succeeded in alerting marketers to the positive aspects of brand community participation and engagement that ultimately influence the behavior of a customer in the marketplace (Algesheimer, Dholakia, & Herrmann, ‘The social influence of brand community: Evidence from European car clubs, 2005). Study suggests that the relationship between ethnicity and membership of a brand community is a strong one. The strength of this relationship indicates a variety of opportunities for marketers who wish to exploit this connection. While Asian Indians may not constitute a ‘captive audience’ for marketers, their strong sense of ethnicity undoubtedly will result in favorable outcomes for marketers who appeal to their sense of brand loyalty (QUINN & DEVASAGAYAM, 2005).

More critical appreciation of the roles of brands in our lives points towards a brand community perspective that acknowledges the network of connections between a brand's various publics. This perspective also avoids the pitfall of stretching the interpersonal relationship metaphor too far and provides a strong foundation upon which brand managers can build (Patterson & O'Malley, 2006).

Fournier (1998) indicates that people buy brands because they have established loyal, long-term, committed, affect-laden relationships with particular brands. Consumers not only form relationships with their brands, they form relationships with other consumers that have similar brand preferences. This network of consumer relationships is called a brand community or consumption community (Fournier, 1998). Brand communities are networks of consumer relationships that situate around a commonly used brand. These communities create a sense of belonging among consumers and the brand becomes the central purpose and meaning for group interaction (Hollenbeck & George M. Zinkhan, 2006).

Adding to existing consumer culture theory on brand communities, findings reveal that a group of shared ideological distinctions- such as off-road capability versus environmental irresponsibility, positive attention versus selfish vanity, and social superiority versus excessive overconsumption-combined with knowledge about which side to favor forms the social foundation of the brand community. These distinctions rather than intrinsic communalities initially inspire brand community as well as protest community building. A brand community considerably depends on, alludes to, draws on, and interacts with its social environments. A brand community that builds on strong distinctions cannot escape social attention if the brand is publicly consumed (Luedicke, 2006).

A brand community includes users of a brand who relate to each other in ways that include perceived similarity, tradition, patterns of consumption, and a sense of responsibility for the brand’s welfare (Muniz & Guinn, 2001). Both ethnographic and quantitative empirical researches (McAlexander & Schouten, 2002)demonstrate that, the strength of a brand community and an individual customer’s integration therein lie in a web of relationships that customers perceive themselves to have with a brand, a company, its products, and it is other customers. Individual integration in a brand community constitutes a powerful form of customer loyalty with its entire attendant benefits to the marketer, including customer initiated marketing, repeat purchasing and trading up, receptivity to brand extensions, and higher tolerance for quality lapses. Participation in brand fests (marketer-facilitated consumption activities) strengthens each of the component customer relationships, increases individual customers’ integration in a brand community, and thereby strengthens the overall community. The impact of a brandfest is greatest for customers who have less experience with the brand and less commitment to it, making the brandfest a strategically powerful tool for building customer loyalty (Schouten, McAlexander, & Koenig, 20007).

It is important to realize that from an organization’s perspective brand community is a loose concept. Any admirer that has a relationship with another admirer is part of a community. It seems useful to make a distinction between two types of communities, however. On the one hand, there are communities that have clear and established links with the brand involved. In other words, one of the relationships community members have explicitly is with the brand. This is most clear when the brand or company is in fact the administrator of the community (Algesheimer, Dholakia, & Herrmann, ‘The social influence of brand community: Evidence from European car clubs, 2005).

Research done by many branding researchers suggests that there are different objective of consumers towards the joining of consumers brand communities such as, consumers may participate in a brand community because of their need for quality reassurance. Consumers may participate in a community to express their involvement with the branded product. Consumers may require joint consumption and therefore join a brand community. Consumers may decide to participate in a brand community because they want to live up to the brand’s symbolic function. These different motives to join a brand community may lead to different levels of appreciation of the aspects of community life (Ouwersloot & Odekerken-Schroder, 2008). Studies have shown that after joining a brand community, customers show marked increases in the frequency and loyalty of their purchase behaviors, and become brand evangelists (Algesheimer & Dholakia, 2006).

The research done by (Dholakia and Vianello, 2011) shows that many company-run brand communities fail because they target participants too narrowly, emphasize on product-related discussions, and exert too much control. In fact, the level of control over these communities by companies is often very high, with moderators that prevent consumers from posting comments if they do not meet rules that are too stringent. As a result, customers participate for selfish, functional reasons, without forming bonds or relationships. The community remains anemic, and has high participant turnover. Customer enthusiast-run brand communities are more effective by: (1) welcoming a diverse consumer base, (2) allowing participants to express themselves freely, and (3) encouraging a broad range of activities beyond product discussions, such as networking and socializing. This leads to consumer participation for intrinsic, emotional, and social reasons, and the evolution of strong communities marked by consciousness of kind, a sense of obligation, and rituals and traditions, in other words, “real” communities (Dholakia & Vianello, 2011).

Brand Engagement (Active Engagement):

The engagement concept originates in disciplines including psychology, sociology and organizational behavior (Brodie et al., 2011). It is hard to find a clear definition of brand engagement since none of the agencies defines it in the same way. For some it is about strengthening a brand's image in the eyes of consumers. For others it is about engaging your employees so that their behaviors are aligned with the brand promise. Either way, brand engagement seems to be the latest way to talk about building meaningful, enduring relationships. This is hardly new territory (Tipping, 2006). Brands have the power to change the world. This means they can also change the (smaller) world of each individual (Rauch).

The process by which a consumer develops an attachment to, or relationship with, a brand either through advertising or other means, such as years of reliable service. The attachment could be emotional, rational or both (AMA).

Brand engagement is defined as a term loosely used to describe the process of forming an attachment (emotional and rational) between a person and a brand. It comprises one aspect of brand management (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand_engagement, 2012).

The process by which a consumer develops an attachment to, or relationship with, a brand either through advertising or other means, such as years of reliable service. The attachment could be emotional, rational or both (www.online-marketing-optimization-tips.com/youtube-for-mark…).

The level of an individual customer’s motivational, brand-related & context-dependent state of mind characterized by specific levels of cognitive, emotional & behavioral activity in brand interactions (Hollebeek, 2011).

Brand engagement in self-concept (BESC) it means generalized tendency of a person to include brands as part of his or her self-concept (Sprott, Czellar, & Spangenberg, 2009).

Millward Browns redefine engagement as willingness to spend time with a brand, and then use the amount of time people spend as an engagement metric. However, this idea is deeply flawed. People can be devoted users of particular brands but still lack the desire to spend time interacting with either the brand or the product category. For example, my household has been a devoted user of PG Tips tea for as long as I can remember. But nobody in my house has the slightest desire to visit a PG Tips website, read a PG Tips magazine, or spend time with the brand in any way whatsoever, other than to drink it. This is not a negative reflection on PG Tips. It is merely a reflection of the status of the tea category in our household’s priorities.

If willingness to spend time with a brand were an appropriate definition of engagement, it would tend to lead us toward particular channels and away from others. But willingness to spend time with a brand is highly category-specific. The definition of brand engagement should not focus around time spent with a brand but rather on brand associations. A brand that has successfully engaged consumers has planted and sustained fresh, powerful brand associations in their minds. Those associations generate interest, curiosity and expectations about the product or service.

For the notion of brand engagement to be meaningful for businesses, it must relate to the purchasing decisions that consumers make and the circumstances under which they make them — specifically, the fact that consumers choose brands in the context of a variety of offerings in a given category. While the strength of positive brand associations will not always flow through to purchasing (because of external factors such as availability), in general the relationship between brand engagement and purchase intent is both strong and measurable.

One measure that takes both brand associations and category context into account is the Bonding level of the BrandDynamicsTM pyramid. In calculating Bonding, two factors come into play: the relationship between various brand associations and purchase intent, and the salience of the most important associations (in terms of loyalty in the category) for each brand. By drawing on the second factor, Bonding takes account of the fact that a consumer may engage with more than one brand in a category while choosing to purchase only one (Brown, 2009).

As the marketing and communication, literature describes five contextual dimensions of engagement (consumer, customer, brand, advertising and media), the words and topics associated with engagement show that consumer brand engagement is seen as the only significant concept. The fact that concepts of customer/consumer engagement and brand engagement predominate in our empirical analysis reveals an orientation towards an integrated concept of engagement linked not to any particular medium or advertising message, but to a comprehensive brand strategy (Gambetti & Graffigna, 2010 ).

The Brand Engagement Cycle

Brand engagement needs to be the key objective for brand owners and that delivering positive engagement experiences facilitates endorsement, word-of-mouth proliferation and evangelism of the brand message.

http://in2marketing.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/brand-engagement-cycle.png?w=286&h=300

Fig. The Brand Engagement Cycle

The first step in delivering engagement is to create visibility – you must be seen to be heard. This has traditionally been achieved through paid-for advertising, yet brand owners are increasingly blurring the lines between paid-for placements and ‘seeding’ (for example paid-for blog posts or paid placements in forums / message boards). The critical factor here is ‘transparency’: visibility works both ways – positive and negative – there are inherent risks with creating visibility – particularly in the social space – if it is not properly managed and especially where it is done covertly. Visibility is often the first point of contact with a brand, the very start of the brand relationship. It is therefore imperative that the relationship gets off on the right foot; this initial ‘experience’ is likely to flavour all future experiences with the brand. Brand owners shouldn’t therefore just think about the sell – even if the objective is direct response – they need to set the tone for all future dealings with that consumer and, fundamentally, the word-of-mouth that they could potentially spread.

Once visible, brand engagement is developed through interaction. The key component in defining ‘engagement’ is the trigger of an emotional response, the stimulus to interact. The nature of the brand’s visibility, i.e. the content (information, advert, video, editorial, etc.) that is visible, has to be sufficiently stimulating and valued by the consumer for them to emotionally commit to take action, i.e. interact. This interaction can take many forms and infers a deeper level of involvement with the content, and by extension the brand, than purely awareness (aka visibility). Today’s consumers need to go beyond merely having heard of a brand to consider it, they need reinforcement by recommendation and endorsement, which necessitates interaction, whether that be reading reviews or discussing with their ‘Friendtelligence’ network and so forth. Obviously clicking a banner constitutes an interaction – this is the starting point of engagement, yet engagement extends beyond this building layers of emotional connection between the consumer and the brand message leading to purchase / activation and beyond.

The ultimate goal of any brand communication should be to get the brand’s message to the consumer in as un-biased a fashion as possible. Consumers are more aware, more informed and more sceptical of marketing communications than ever before, so endorsement through third parties, particularly where they’re trusted, is a crucial component of today’s consumers’ decision making criteria. The desired outcome of brand engagement should therefore be proliferation, i.e. where the consumer becomes the channel by passing on the brand message to other potential consumers (known or un-known). Brand message amplification is predicated on consumers becoming referrers, advocates and evangelists (Webb, 2011). Despite its expected contributions, research addressing ‘customer engagement’ has transpired in the marketing literature only relatively recently (Van Doorn, Lemon, Mittal, Nab, & Pick, 2010). Therefore, the conceptual nature, dimensionality and measurement of customer engagement and/or its specific sub-forms, including ‘customer brand engagement’ (CBE), remain nebulous to-date (Hollebeek, 2011).

Brand Engagement Research

CHARLENE LI (2009) critiqued that brands on not only their breadth of engagement across channels, but also their depth, such as whether they reply to comments made on blog posts. Each brand was given a numerical score. The top 10 Engagement brands with their scores are:

Starbucks (127)

Dell (123)

eBay (115)

Google (105)

Microsoft (103)

Thomson Reuters (101)

Nike (100)

Amazon (88)

SAP (86)

Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

The report is available here and the main site is at engagementdb.com. A very neat interactive feature of the site is the ability to see the rankings in different ways, from highest to lowest scores, alphabetical, etc.

But even more interesting is that CHARLENE LI (2009) also looked at the financial performance of the brands, grouping the companies with the greatest depth and breadth into a group called “Social Media Mavens”. These Mavens on average grew 18% in revenues over the last 12 months, compared to the least engaged companies who on average saw a decline of 6% in revenue during the same period. The same holds true for two other financial metrics, gross margin and net profit.

Note that CHARLENE L (2009) are not claiming a causal relationship — but there is clearly a correlation and connection. For example, a company mindset that allows a company to be broadly engage with customers on the whole probably performs better because the company is more focused on companies than the competition.

The study also looks at the engagement best practices of four companies: Starbucks, Dell, SAP, and Toyota. Some of the key findings include:

Emphasize quality, not just quantity. 

To scale engagement, make social media part of everyone’s job

Doing it all may not be for you — but you must do something.

Find your sweet spot (CHARLENE, 2009).

The time consumers spend interacting with online ads is the best indicator of their benefits to a brand, according to online measures of brand engagement.

New research from Microsoft Advertising proves a clear connection between the level of active engagement a user has with an online ad and its subsequent impact on the brand. Online measures of brand engagement such as branded search term activity, visits to brand sites, and the number of pages viewed on those sites all increase significantly with a user’s active engagement with online advertising. The findings suggest that the success of brand campaigns can be reliably evaluated through the dwell scores.

The Dwell on Branding study, a collaboration with Eye blaster and comScore, looked at the total dwell scores achieved by online brand advertising, which are calculated by combining the amount of time a user spends actively engaging with an ad and the proportion of ads they engage with. The study then compared the available online measures of brand engagement for campaigns with high and low total dwell scores. Ads with higher dwell scores consistently demonstrated a greater positive impact on brands.

In proving that greater levels of online engagement lead to uplifts in measurable brand benefits, the study provides yet more evidence that click-through alone are an unsatisfactory means of measuring advertising performance for brand advertisers. The value of rich media advertising, and the longer dwell times that rich media ads consistently deliver, is particularly likely to be undervalued when effectiveness is solely measured in click-through. According to aggregated Eye blaster data published in July 2009, consumers are 25 times more likely to spend meaningful time (an average of 53 seconds) with a rich media ad than to click on it (Online measures of brand engagement: dwell times hold the key to success, 2010).

Young Generation and Brand Relationship

Generation Y consumers are becoming a very important segment in today’s market because of their large size, their current significant amount of spending power and their potential for huge amounts of future spending power (Wolburg & Pokrywczynski, 2001). The size of generation Y is argued to be somewhere around 31-70 million people worldwide (Cui, Trent, & Sullivan, 2003) (Wolburg & Pokrywczynski, 2001). Choosing to ignore this segment could be risky for companies considering that they are the future dominating segment of the market (Neuborne & Kerwin, 1999) .

Generation Y consumers have a very unique attitude towards brands. They have been raised in a time where just about everything is branded and, therefore, they are more comfortable with brands than previous generations and respond to them differently (Merrill, 1990). Generation Y is unique approach to brands and marketing stems from changes that affect a whole generation of consumers. Their marketing know-how and brand consciousness results from growing up in a marketing and brand saturated environment (Heaney, 2007). In addition, generation Y consumers utilize brands as an extension of themselves unlike other generations and this has implications for how they should be marketed to (Novak, Thach, & Olsen, 2006). Therefore, generational theory is a useful framework to determine the similar ways that this generational cohort responds to brands and marketing that allows marketers to develop more effective marketing efforts. However, the response of generation Y to brands and branding efforts has been under-researched (Phau & Cheong, 2009).

The generation Y consumer may display behavioral loyalty by purchasing the IPad Apple tablet computer when there are few alternatives available in the market but the attitudinal loyalty component will mean they will not buy an alternative brand if it is available or if the Apple IPad is not available. The attitudinal component is psychological and evaluative and this is where the congruency and relationship with a brand will be considered in order to lead to the behavioral aspect of repeat purchase. It is the attitudinal loyalty that drives most loyalty behavior and will ensure loyalty over time not just with one purchase (Bandyopadhyay & M.Martell., 2007). Foscht, Schloffer, Maloles, & Chia (2009) found that feelings of loyalty in generation Y consumers were greatly associated with repurchase intentions (Foscht, Schloffer, Maloles, & Chia, 2009).

Developing a connection or relationship between the consumer and the brand is a critical factor of building brand loyalty (Blackston, 2000). If a generation Y consumer perceives the brand as congruent to their sense of self they are more likely to develop a relationship with the brand. Emotional connections with brands are vital to generation Y consumers (Tsui & Hughes, 2001). When an emotional bond is created between the generation Y consumer and the brand this leads to competitive advantage (Novak, Thach, & Olsen, 2006). The generation Y consumer must feel appreciated and singled out by the organization (Sebor, 2006) (Gronbach, 2000) . This relationship development and maintenance can also be achieved through the use of loyalty programs which distinguish the generation Y consumers from other consumers and make them feel special; appealing to their self-esteem needs (Sebor, 2006) (Gronbach, 2000). Loyalty programs can help to encourage and reward loyal patronage which is essential for generation Y consumers to want to repurchase (Sullivan & Heitmeyer, 2008). The generation Y consumer should feel a connection with the brand to want repeat purchase and exhibit other brand loyalty behaviors such as positive word of mouth (Wood L. , 2004).

It was stated previously that generation Y consumers are innovators and trendsetters. This may be the motivation for these consumers to be disloyal as they jump from brand to brand depending on what is popular and new at the time (Morton, 2002). However, this can be overcome with the introduction of periodic innovations and different product lines within the one brand which will satisfy their novelty needs (Moore & Carpenter, 2008) (Moore and Carpenter, 2008), as well as increase their congruency with the brand. This means that the brand must change with the consumer and constantly update itself. For example, Apple has successfully done this by constantly innovating and coming up with new fun products that match the self-image of their generation Y consumers. If a relationship is established between the generation Y consumer and the brand this can overcome the typical disloyal nature of generation Y as long as the brand continues to meet the values and the identity of the generation Y consumer.

A sizeable amount of research has sought to examine the “relationship” between a brand and its customer as a source of meaning (Allen, Fournier, & Miller, 2008) . This research has taken the form of qualitative inquiries in order to ascertain possible typologies of consumer-brand relationships (Fournier, 1998) or more quantitative research to ascribe a personality to a brand as relationship partner (Aaker J. L., 1997) and examine the effects of brand relationships in an experimental setting (Aggarwal, 2004). It has also been used as part of an argument that interpersonal attachment theory is applicable to brands due to the interpersonal-like nature of the consumer-brand relationship (Park, MacInnis, & Priester, 2008).

The young people in India are reaping the dividends of India's economic reforms. Gone are the days of slow growth, frugal lifestyles and unbranded products. Indeed, the rise of the young Indian urban consumer has been a feature of India's economic transformation over the past decade. In their mid-twenties, members of this segment do not think twice before spending on expensive global brands. They are comfortable buying on credit, have bought a house and a car, something their parents could never have dreamt of doing in their youth. The house is an investment for them and the car an indulgence. It is evident that being a young Indian in 2007 is hugely different from what it was in 1991. The past 15 years have changed the way young people live their lives. Thriving activity in the service sector has spawned a myriad of job opportunities in the cities. What the youth eat, wear, movies they watch and the gadgets they carry are a world apart from the choices available to their counterparts in the '90s Even kids in their teens are earning to augment their allowances, something which was rare in late 1980s and early 1990s. Possessing US$ 400 mobile phones is no longer unthinkable for this segment. These developments are a direct result of the exponential growth of the Indian middle class, the backbone of the India market story. An increasingly industrialized economy is opening new doors everyday for young people to embrace an affluent lifestyle. The large volume of young consumers in India is providing a new market for merchandisers stuck in a sluggish world economy. The country has now emerged as the next stop for luxury brands such as Gucci, Chistian Dior and Versace. According to a Technopak report on “India's Luxury Trends 2006” the upscale, premium and luxury market together at US$ 15.6 billion and high net worth individual households at 1.6 million, is growing at around 14-15 per cent.

According to the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), the Indian middle-class comprises 56 million people in households earning US$ 4,400-21,800 a year. The upper middle and high-income urban household has grown from 14.6 million in 2000 to 38.2 million in 2007. According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, aggregate consumption in India is expected to grow four-fold in real terms during the period, 2006-2025 to touch US$ 1.73 trillion from US$ 420.7 billion. Also, by then, the middle class will have grown almost 12 times, from 50 million in 2006 to 583 million in 2025 (India Brand Equity Foundation).

The study done by O’Cass & Lim argued that young consumers would hold different perceptions of brands from different cultural origins, proposing culture of origin as an important extrinsic cue in their evaluation of brands. Hence, the fact that brands of a country origin are perceived more favorably implies that culture of origin is an important factor in determining the favorability of the associations attached to brands (O’Cass & Lim, 2002).

Interestingly, young consumers favorably perceived a brand on emotional value with a high awareness of the brand ultimately encouraging purchase intention. This implies that emotional value may be critical for young consumers when making brand choices. In addition, good quality brands can build emotional value and a prestigious image among young consumers, which can lead to increased purchase intentions. Accordingly, creating and maintaining brand images and relationships with young consumers requires appropriate advertising media with sensory elements (e.g., music, color) and distribution channels (e.g., upscale department stores) in the market (Kim, Knight, & Pelton, 2009).

The young adults’ perception of celebrity endorsers has a positive influence on their product switching intentions, complaint intentions, positive word-of-mouth and brand loyalty. This suggests that celebrity endorsers have an impact on young adults’ decisions to switch brands, their tendency to talk about brands in a positive manner and their inclination to complain about products (Dix, Phau, & Pougnet, 2010).

The world is witnessing a rise in the number of young consumers that, anecdotal evidence suggests, are increasingly brand conscious. ‘When I start earning, like when I become an airhostess, then I will go for brands. I won’t for a single day compromise on my brand for sure,” said a teenager (Rana, 2007). A study conducted by The Keller Fay Group reveals that members of generation Y have 145 conversations a week about brands, which is twice the rate of adults. In addition, 57 per cent of the teenagers cite marketing and media in their conversations as compared to 48 per cent adults (Hein, 2007). Teenagers’ share of expenditure in the Indian market is worth $2.8 billion (Rana, 2007); young consumers tend to be more involved with material possessions (Belk, 1998).

India alone is home to 1.136 billion people1 out of which an estimated 350 million are in the age bracket of 10-24 years. Their purchasing power has significantly increased, both, in terms of salary and pocket money. Salaries in India rose by 14.4 per cent in 2006 and by 15.1 per cent in 2007 as surveyed by Hewitt Associates. An ASSOCHAM survey revealed that the average monthly allowance of urban children in the age group of 10-17 years has gone up from Rs 300 in 1998 to Rs 1,300 in 2008. This segment is very attractive due to its size, increasing spending power, and large exposure to media Among the existing studies, there is none in our knowledge that documents brand relationships of young consumers in an emerging economy. Finally, young consumers the world over are influenced by peers and family in their brand-related decisions (Singh, Kwon, & Pereira, 2003). For marketers, it is important to understand the impact of these factors on brand relationships and brand switching intentions.

There is also research that shows that young consumers may change their loyalties towards a particular brand depending on the situation and the role they play. When they are independent, they also like to experiment with new brands whereas more serious and responsible roles may make them switch over to the brand used by their parents (Bravo, Fraj, & Martínez, 2007). The younger age group is likely to be more emotionally involved with the brand. The younger age group loves their brands and is more passionate about them (Sahay & Sharma, 2010).

Brand resonance (relationship) development processes and factors influencing brand resonance (relationship)

The CBBE model looks at building a brand as a sequence of steps each of which is contingent on successful achieving the objectives of the previous one.

There are four assumptions for brand relationship development

Ensure identification of the brand with customers and an association of the brand in customers minds with a specific product class or customer need.

Firmly establish the totality of brand meaning in the mind of customers by strategically linking a host of intangible and intangible brand associations with the certain properties.

Elicit the proper customer response to this brand identification and brand meaning.

Convert brand response to create an intense, active loyalty relationship between customers and the brand (Keller, 2008, p. 82).

We can say that theses four brand building blocks are nothing but the stages for development of brand relationship. These stages are as follows

Brand Salience

Brand Performance and Brand Imagery

Brand judgment and brand Fallings

Brand Resonance (Keller, 2008, p. 82).

Brand Salience:

Achieving the right brand identity means creating brand salience with customers. Brand salience measures awareness of the brand. This is nothing but to know how often and how easily the brand is evoke under various situation or circumstances. To what extend is the brand top-of-mind and easily recalled or recognized.

Brand awareness refers to customers’ ability to recall and recognize the brand under different conditions and to link the brand name, logo, symbol and so forth to certain association in memory. In particulars, building brand awareness helps customers understand the product or service category in which the brand competes and what products or services are sold under the brand name (Keller, 2008, p. 82).

Brand Performance and Brand Imagery:

Brand performance describes how well the product and services meets customers more functional needs. To what extend does the brand satisfy utilitarian, aesthetic, and economical needs and wants in the product and service category.

There are five important types of attributes and benefits often underlie brand performance;

Primary ingredients and supplementary features

Product reliability, durability, and serviceability

Service effectiveness, efficiency and empathy

Style and design

Price (Keller, 2008, p. 86)

The other type of brand meaning is Brand Imagery. Brand imagery depends on the extrinsic properties of the product and service, including the ways in which the brand attempts to meet customers’ psychological or social needs. It is the way people think about a brand abstractly, rather than what they think the brand actually does. Thus, imagery refers to more intangible aspects of brand, and consumers can form imagery association directly from their own experience or indirectly though advertisement or by some other source of information, such as word of mouth, many kinds of intangibles can be linked to a brand , but four main ones are’

User profile

Purchase and usage situation

Personality and values

History, heritage and experiences (Keller, 2008, p. 87)

Brand judgment and brand Fallings

Brand judgments are customers’ personal opinions about and evolutions of the brand, which consumers form by putting together all the different brand performance and imagery associations. Customers may make all types of judgments with respect to a brand, but four types are primarily important; judgments about quality, creditability, consideration and superiority (Keller, 2008, p. 89).

Brand feelings are customers’ emotional responses and reactions to the brand. Brand feelings also relate to the social currency evoked by the brand. The emotions evoked by a brand can become strongly associated that they are accessibly during product consumptions or use (Keller, 2008, p. 90). Followings are the types of brand building feelings such as

Warmth

Fun

Excitement

Security

Social approval

Self- respect (Keller, 2008, pp. 91-92)

Brand Resonance:

This final stage focuses on the ultimate relationship and level of identification that the customer has with the brand. Brand resonance describes the nature of this relationship and the extent to which customers feel that they are “in sync” with the bran d. resonance is characterized in terms of intensity or the depth of psychological bond that customers have with the brand, as well as the level of activity engendered by this loyalty. We can break down theses two-dimensions of brand resonance into four categories:

Behavioral loyalty

Attitudinal attachment

Sense of community

Active engagement (Keller, 2008, p. 94)

The importance of brand for consumers to buy embodied in the impact of decisions, in the current with the customers as the center of the market environment, brand management main line is set up and maintain the relationship between customers, create brand is to and we want to happen relationship of people we want to happen happened, the relationship of the brand cultivation, development, and management of the process, is consumer groups and specific relationship, consolidate the relationship, the relationship between the development process. Because brand from business entity, eventually in the customer in mind settle down, so we can put the brand as connection enterprise relations with customers’ link. Brand relationship is a brand and customers based on the interaction between response, including brand to the customer’s attitude and customers to the brand attitude two aspects, the two aspects is a pair of force and the reaction, mutually beget each other, support each other out.

The essence of the brand relationship is the brand ability and consumer demand of between docking, attracted to each other, trust, and using the cognitive experience, satisfaction, and loyalty, achieve win-win relationship resonance.

Brand relationship has three development stages, respectively is to attract cognitive stage, use experience stage, resonance win-win stage.

1. Attract cognitive stage

Brand relationship from the start of the mutual attraction, attract key elements of the unique-also is the differentiation, unique and irreplaceable, have “first” the right of use. For example, the tallest building in the world, China’s first astronaut, the latest technology of the god of cell phones, etc.

Brand relationship built at the beginning of the key elements of the consumers are beginning to believe that similar products is not exactly the same, but there are big differences. At the early stage of the brand differentiation is the design of different symbols to realize.

Brand recognition system should be brand management origin, brand orientation; brand value is from brand recognition system. A complete brand recognition need six to 12 aspects to fully explain the connotation of the brand. Apparently so much is obviously too RongZa, so sure core identification, that brand recognition in the most important part of clear central task will can play the twice the result with half the effort. The core of identification of every area to reflect the organization’s strategic idea and concept of value, at least have a causes the difference with other brands, and consumers can resonance. When used to the new product and brand market, core recognition is most likely to be keep down, if people according to the core recognition to cognitive brand, has a good beginning, is half success.

2. Use experience stage

A new brand listed, attracted a lot of attention to customers, but we will soon find a phenomenon, many customers are watching and do not buy, in their new brand and old brand is often choose between the familiar with the old brand, although the new brand in terms of the quality of no less than the old brand, but old brand still have a strong influence, a short, because consumers to old brand has a trust, actually not to buy products and consumer, also is not to buy the gap between the products, but to buy trust and peace of mind, if there is no trust bridge, you will not be able to attract stage from progressive experience to use phase.

Brand value experience has three aspects, one is rational value experience; Second it is sensible value experience; Three is showing value experience.

When consumers through to the brand rational, sensibility, showing the value of experience, have positive judgment and experience, judgment involves consumer brand in light of their own experience will use different brand efficacy and image combine to produce Lenovo different view, brand to feel more tend to consumers in the emotional reaction to the brand. The results of the judgment and feel deep “burger” in the consumer space in mind, they will have a high brand cognitive and satisfaction, and in the memory formed powerful and preference, unique brand association, can produce and brand mutual trust relationship.

3. Resonance win-win stage

Through the unforgettable experience, customers have a value satisfaction. The next is to focus on customers and build the ultimate relationship and win-win resonance level. Win-win is brand relationship resonance of the highest stage; its core is a strong attachment, loyalty state. This has not only is like and preferences, consumers have even “love” on the brand. The equivalent of people marry, the brand and the consumer after attracted to each other, love experience cognitive, finally has deeply in love, has the aisle.

The relationship between the progressive is gradually brand needs certain of the driving force, the main driving force is marketing communications, marketing communication is not only a special promotion concept, but including product, price, terminals, promotion and so on elements, in the role of marketing communication is brand relationship all phases of development, can strengthen the brand attract and cognition, and can enhance experience using effect, can improve loyalty win-win level.

Management brand relationship, is an important enterprise mission, also is a long-term task, and need to strategic vision and good high practical with constant, sustainable well (jinmingchang, 2012).

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