Loving Brands for Their Image : Exploring the Relationship Between Self-Congruity, Self-Monitoring and Brand Love.

Available to download from University of Twente.

Abstract: Nowadays, due to the wide range of products and brands consumers can choose from, organizations are having a hard time standing out and connecting with consumers. Establishing and maintaining a strong consumer-relationship is becoming more important but for organizations it is difficult to create a lovable brand. Brand love is a relative new phenomenon and the research on the consumer’s perspective on this topic is scarce. The current research was aimed at gaining more insight in factors that make consumers feel love for a brand, especially at the congruity between different self-images and the brand image, and what role self-monitoring plays in this relationship. In order to gain more insight into the extent to which self-congruity and self-monitoring influence brand love, two pretests and a main study were conducted. During the pretests scenarios were created in order to manipulate the respondents in the right congruity facet condition. The main study consisted of a scenario study wherein 226 participants were requested to analyze an advertisement by filling in an online questionnaire. This study provided better insights to which different congruity facets and their focus led to greater love for brands. The results indicated that congruity between the actual self-image and perceived brand image had a positive influence on brand love. Another marginally positive relationship was found between ideal social self-congruity and brand love. Furthermore, a marginally negative relationship was found for congruity between participant’s actual social self-image and the brands image, and brand love. Participants who thought that the brand image was congruent with their actual social self, had a less greater feeling of love towards the brand. Finally, no significant results were found regarding to self-monitoring as moderator between self-congruity and brand love. According to the outcomes, this research is very useful for organizations and marketers and therefore the results should take into account. To improve their branding approach it is advised to focus on possibilities for consumers to feel the sense of congruity between the actual self and the brand image. For example by carefully exploring the target group, segmenting the target group based on different self-image evaluations and, by creating different marketing instruments for each segment. Further, they should focus on the tactic to stimulate ideal social self-congruity. Because consumers like brands on social media to communicate idealized versions of themselves to others, social media can be used to segment target groups to address different social selves.