Emotional Brand Attachment and Brand Personality: The Relative Importance of the Actual and the Ideal Self

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Abstract
Creating emotional brand attachment is a key branding issue in today’s marketing world. One way to accomplish this is to match the brand’s personality with the consumer’s self. A key question, however, is whether the brand’s personality should match the consumer’s actual self or the consumer’s ideal self. On the basis of two empirical studies of 167 brands (evaluated by 1329 and 980 consumers), the authors show that the implications of self-congruence for consumers’ emotional brand attachment are complex and differ by consumers’ product involvement, consumers’ individual difference variables, and the type of self-congruence (fit of the brand’s personality with the consumer’s actual self versus with the consumer’s ideal self). On a general level, actual self-congruence has the greatest impact on emotional brand attachment. Product involvement, self-esteem, and public self-consciousness increase the positive impact of actual self-congruence but decrease the impact of ideal self-congruence on emotional brand attachment. The authors discuss important managerial and academic implications of these findings.