Make Brand Love, Not War: The Power of Combining Explicit and Implicit Brand Attitude Measurement to Detect Brand Affection

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Motivated by the success of major brands like Coca-Cola or Apple, marketing researchers continuously try to better measure consumers’ brand perception and behavior. The comprehensive analysis of a brand’s intangible value drivers is therefore one of the main subjects in brand research and brand management. Important question especially arise from the customer-brand relation: Why do consumers love specific brands, why do they hate some and how does love turn into hate? In order to better understand the underlying brand mechanics, a growing number of marketing researchers not only explores the explicit (conscious) elements of brand affection, but also their implicit (unconscious) facets. Still, research studying consumers’ underlying implicit, in terms of automatic evaluations of a brand is scarce. Against this background, our paper presents two studies that combine implicit and explicit measures of brand attitude with regard to two major brands (Coca-Cola and Adidas) and two different consumer brand touch points. Our results show that implicit and explicit brand attitudes significantly differ regarding the analyzed brands and the analyzed brand touch points. Furthermore, our results indicate that the implicit side of brand attitude can show a totally different picture of the brand depending on the analyzed brand touch point, enabling marketing managers to better detect and counter unplanned or unwanted brand attitude changes