7 Branding

Belk (1988) posits the construct of extended-self, where possessions contribute and reflect a person’s identity (more related to consumer behavior than buyer behavior). We consume products to show our identity such as clothes or music.

Brands (e.g., Nike, Adidas) are getting their own apps instead of using Google Shopping or Amazon (Wichmann, Wiegand, and Reinartz 2021)


7.1 Brand Name

  • Pogacar et al. (2021) found that linguistically feminine brand names increase perceived warmth, in turn, increases attitudes and choice share—both hypothetically and consequentially— improves brand outcomes/ performance. The positive effect of feminine brand name on brand performance is lower when subjects are male and when products are utilitarian.

7.2 Brand Equity

Brand equity was operationalized as …. of Perceived Quality, Brand Associations, Brand Awareness, Brand Loyalty:

  • a reflective construct (Yoo and Donthu 2001)

  • a formative construct of (Henseler 2017)

  • a consequence/outcome (preferable, and easier to argue with reviewers, but still not the consensus of the field)


  • Quantitative measure of brand equity:

    • Kamakura and Russell (1993)

    • Rust et al. (2021)

  • Qualitative measure of brand equity:

    • Yoo and Donthu (2001)

    • Lassar, Mittal, and Sharma (1995)

    • Keller (1993)

brand and psychological distance: Congruence effect: “information is easier to process, which leads consumers to respond more favorably.” (Connors et al. 2020) “consumer spending higher when distance between consumer and brand matched with construal level of marketing communications.”

Value-added is the difference between a product’s price to consumers and the cost of producing it.

Whereas, brand equity is the difference between a branded product’s price to a generic product’s price.

This generic product can also have value-added in it in other forms (e.g., convenience)

Brand identity offers a value proposition to customers, where “a brand’s value proposition is a statement of the functional, emotional, and self-expressive benefits delivered by the brand that provide value to the customers” (D. Aaker 1996, 95).

Functional benefits are product attributes that deliver functional utility to customers, while emotional benefits are positive feelings customers feel when using the brand. Ads that provide emotional benefits are higher in effectiveness score compared to functional benefits ads (D. Aaker 1996, 98).

For example, Evian – “Another day, another chance to feel healthy” ad - which provides emotional benefits of feeling satisfied after a workout. Moreover, self-expressive benefits are when brands provide a means for consumers to express their self-image. A person/ consumer can have multiple roles which associate with multiple self-concepts. Such as a woman, a mother, an author. The difference between emotional benefits and self-expressive benefits can be subtle. Emotional benefits focus on feelings, private setting (e.g., feeling of watching a TV show), past-oriented (memories), transitory, after-use emotional; In contrast, self-expressive benefits focus on self, public settings (e.g., using cars or clothes to signal), aspiration or future-oriented, permanent (i.e., the self links to person’s personality), and during-use (wearing fancy clothes to signify a successful person). (cf. (D. Aaker 1996, 99))

With the advancement in mass production of high -quality products, quality is no longer a dimension of status signal (Holt 1998)

In the virality framework, the first and foremost driver is social currency. Social currency refers to things worth sharing. People share so that they can let others know that they are in the know. Sharing a new product to assimilate his or her identity with the product and its brand identity, customers are acquiring social currency. Moreover, brand identity is a driver of brand equity, which refers to the value portion that customers are willing to pay above the product’s utility value (practical value). Brand identity offers a value proposition to customers, where “a brand’s value proposition is a statement of the functional, emotional, and self-expressive benefits delivered by the brand that provide value to the customers” (Aaker, 1996, p. 95). Functional benefits are product attributes that deliver functional utility to customers, while emotional benefits are positive feelings customers feel when using the brand. Ads that provide emotional benefits are higher in effectiveness score compared to functional benefits ads (Aaker, 1996, p. 99). For example, Evian – “Another day, another chance to feel healthy” ad - which provides emotional benefits of feeling satisfied after a workout. Moreover, self-expressive benefits are when brands provide a means for consumers to express their self-image. A person/ consumer can have multiple roles which associate with multiple self-concepts. Such as a woman, a mother, an author. The difference between emotional benefits and self-expressive benefits can be subtle. Emotional benefits focus on feelings, private setting (e.g., feeling of watching a TV show), past-oriented (memories), transitory, after-use emotional; In contrast, self-expressive benefits focus on self, public settings (e.g., using cars or clothes to signal), aspiration or future-oriented, permanent (i.e., the self links to person’s personality), and during-use (wearing fancy clothes to signify a successful person). (cf. (Aaker, 1996, p. 99)) Hence, one can see that the brand identity portion that provides self-expressive benefits is social currency while exhaustively different from the brand identity portion that provides functional benefits (i.e., the practical value/ usefulness/ utility) .

We acknowledge that some might view usefulness/ utility as a dimension of brand equity (perceived quality): the perceived quality dimension can signal the true practical value. However, the practical value that drives virality is usually understood, experimented, experienced; while perceived quality is subjective comprehension that is hard to demonstrate. Moreover, quality used to be the status signal. However, with the advancement in mass production of high-quality products, quality is no longer a status signal dimension (Holt, 1998). Thus, we believe that the distinction between the two understandings should be appreciated.

7.2.1 Brand Loyalty

7.2.2 Brand Awareness

also known as brand familiarity

7.2.2.1 Brand Prominence

Butcher, Phau, and Teah (2016) found that consumer views of the quality of luxury items are influenced by increased brand prominence, with quality and respondents’ status consciousness influencing the emotional value they obtain from luxury goods. Along with the direct influence of brand prominence, this emotional value has a significant impact on purchase intentions.

(J. K. Lee 2021) reduced emotionality correlates with high-status communication norm, evoking high-status reference groups.

7.2.3 Brand Associations

“different groups of people can have different or even contradictory associations with the same stimulus” (Wheeler & Berger, 2007)

7.2.3.1 Brand Meaning

Brand meaning is a subset of brand associations (brand associations can also have associations regarding attributes - perceived quality)

Batra (2019)

  • Brand meaning refers to “the complete network of brand associations in consumers’ minds, produced by the consumer’s interactions with the brand and communications about it.” (p. 535)

  • Endorsers are conduits of cultural meaning transfer.

  • Previous researchers conflated brand meaning with the narrower construct - brand personality.

  • Propose possible brand meaning items

  • sources of brand meaning (independent variables):

    • visual cues (advertising, packaging)

    • sensory cues (e.g., music)

    • human cues (e.g., endorsers)

7.2.3.2 Brand Image

Successful brand transferability typically depends on attribute similarity and personality similarity (image similarity). Since customers expect a firm’s technological competencies to transfer between products with similar makeups, an antecedent of a successful brand’s transferability is that products share similar attributes. On the other hand, image similarity is the “relationship of categories in terms of the images of the brands in them” (Batra et al., 1993). For instance, a brand in the entertainment industry with the image of being fun and exciting can potentially extend to soda production. Aaker and Keller (1990) have shown that transferability is higher for complimentary products and hard-to-make products, and no impact for substitutes products, while Batra et al. (1993) showed that brand transferability is higher for a product with a high match on the image (personality dimension) and on product attributes.


Batra and Homer (2004)

  • Nonverbalized personality association of celebrity endorsers on fun and sophistication (classiness) can increase consumer beliefs about a brand’s fun and classiness. (only under social consumption context, and match between brand image beliefs and product category).

  • And ad-created brand image beliefs only influence brand purchase intention, not brand attitudes.


X.-Y. (Marcos). Chu, Chang, and Lee (2021)

  • Prestigious brands whose brand image is associated with status and luxury, consumers’ attitude toward the product becomes more favorable and their willingness to pay a premium for the product grows as the distance between the visual representations of the product and the consumer increases.

  • Popular brands whose brand image is associated with broad appeal and social connectedness, the closer the distance, the more favorable is consumers’ attitude and the higher their willingness to pay a premium.

Chernev and Blair (2015)

  • CSR increases not only public relations and customer goodwill, but also customer product evaluation.

  • Consumers perceive that products from companies performed CSR to be better performing (even though they can experience and observe the products or when CSRs are unrelated to the company’s core business).

  • This effect is lowered when consumers believe that company’s behavior is driven by self-interest as compared to benevolence.

  • Hence, acting good (and people don’t know your true intent) can lead to better company’s performance.


L. Liu, Dzyabura, and Mizik (2020) built BrandImageNet (based on multi-label deep convolutional neural network model) to predict the presence of perceptual brand attributes in the consumer-created images (which is also consistent with consumer brand perception collected from survey). Hence,this model can monitor brand portrayal in real time to understand consumer brand perceptions and attitudes toward their and competitor brands.

7.2.3.3 Brand Personality

Jennifer Lynn Aaker (1997)

  • 5 dimensions of brand personality:

    1. Sincerity

    2. Excitement

    3. Competence

    4. Sophistication

    5. Ruggedness

  • Also offers a scale to measure brand personality

  • Brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand.” (p. 347)


Batra, Lenk, and Wedel (2010)

  • Previous research posits that brand with greater brand associations and imagery “fit” will more likely to have successful brand extensions

  • If the brand is “atypical” - associations and imagery are broad and abstract compared to the brand’s original product category, the brand will be more likely to succeed

  • This research offers a Bayesian factor model that can measure that brand-level and category-level random effects, which later helps measure a brand’s fit and atypicality.

  • Category personality can be masculine or feminine, etc. (Levy 1959)

  • Brand extension considers

    • Fit

      • Concrete product attributes

      • Abstract imagery or personality attributes

    • Atypicality


Grohmann (2009)

  • advancement on Jennifer Lynn Aaker (1997)

  • scale measuring masculine and feminine brand personality

  • Spokespeople shape masculine and feminine brand personality perceptions

  • brand personality-self concept congruence affects affective, attitudinal and behavioral consumer responses.

  • masculine and feminine brand personality contributes to the brand extension perception


More reference on Actual and the Ideal Self: Malär et al. (2011)


7.2.3.4 Brand Coolness

Warren and Campbell (2014)

  • Autonomy refers to “a willingness to pursue one’s own course irrespective of the norms, beliefs, and expectations of others” (p. 544)

  • Autonomy means diverging from the norm.

  • Properties of coolness:

    • Coolness is socially constructed (i.e., “a perception or an attribution bestowed by an audience”) (p. 544), which is similar to popularity or status

    • Coolness is subjective and dynamic: can use consensual assessment technique to measure (Amabile 1983), which is similar to creativity.

    • Coolness is a good thing (positive quality)

    • Coolness is more than positive perception or desirable

  • Cool is different from good (being liked) is inferred autonomy

  • Autonomy only increase perceptions of coolness under appropriate context

  • Coolness is ” a subjective and dynamic, socially constructed positive trait attributed to cultural objects (people, brands, products, trends, etc.) inferred to be appropriately autonomous.” (p. 544)

  • Autonomy increases coolness when it’s appropriate will depend on

    1. whether a brand diverges from a descriptive or injunctive norm

    2. the perceived legitimacy of the injunctive norm

    3. th extent to which a brand diverges from injunctive and descriptive norms

    4. the extent to which the observer or audience values autonomy

  • Descriptive norm is” what most people typically do in a particular context” (p. 545).

    • People follow descriptive norm because of uncertain or unclear outcome, and the “normal” course of action is already effective. Hence, divergent could sometimes be more effective.
  • Injunctive norm is “a cultural ideal or a rule that people are expected to follow” (Cialdini, Reno, and Kallgren 1990)

    • People follow injunctive norms because it can help build or maintain relationships or social esteem (p. 545)
  • Norm legitimacy moderates the appropriateness of divergence from an injunctive norm


Warren et al. (2019)

  • Conceptualizes “brand coolness” and a set of characteristics associated with cool brands

  • Cool brands are perceived to be extraordinary, aesthetically appealing, energetic, high status, rebellious, original, authentic, subcultural, iconic, and popular

  • Develops scale items to measure component of brand coolness and its effect on consumers’ attitudes toward brands, satisfaction, intention to talk about, and willing to pay.

  • Cool brands are dynamic and change over time.

  • Cool brands first to a small niche (subcultural, rebellious, authentic, and original)

  • Later, when adopted by the masses, cool brands acquire iconic and popular attributes.

7.2.4 Perceived Quality


7.3 Brand Authenticity

This construct is to be determined, we still have not consensus whether this is a reflective or formative construct. The first paper (Morhart et al. 2015) is a reflective model, but could not find a latent construct of brand authenticity and they have some troubles with the first order dimensions. On the other hand, (Nunes, Ordanini, and Giambastiani 2021) recently introduced the formative measurement scale of authenticity. But their arguments on this paper is still questionable.

Morhart et al. (2015)

  • Perceived brand authenticity measurement scale

  • “PBA arises from the interplay of objective facts (indexical authenticity), subjective mental associations (iconic authenticity), and existential motives connected to a brand (existential authenticity).” (p. 202)

  • Definition: PBA is “the extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful and true toward itself and its consumers, and to support consumers being true to themselves.” (p. 202)

  • Dependent variables: emotional brand attachment, positive WOM

  • PBA is the interplay of

    • Objective facts (indexical authenticity) - objectivist perceptive

    • Subjective mental association (iconic authenticity) - constructivist perspective

    • Existential motives connected to a brand (existential authenticity) - existentialist perspective

  • Four reflective measures:

    • Continuity

    • Integrity

    • Credibility

    • Symbolism


Nunes, Ordanini, and Giambastiani (2021)

  • Authenticity has 6 formative constructs: accuracy, connectedness, integrity, legitimacy, originality, and proficiency

  • Authenticity is defined as “a holistic consumer assessment determined by six component judgments (accuracy, connectedness, integrity, legitimacy originality, and proficiency) whereby the role of each component can change according to the consumption context.” (p. 2)

  • Definitions of the six components (p. 3)

  • Authenticity is conceptually different from consumer attitude

  • Using grounded theory to come up with potential dimension, and verify the measurement model of authenticity based on PLS

  • Dependent variables: attitudes, behavioral intentions.


7.4 Brand Love

It exists on the same level as Brand Equity and it subsumes Brand Affect

Batra, Ahuvia, and Bagozzi (2012)

  • Brands are defined as “the totality of perceptions and feelings that consumers have about any item identified by a brand name, including its identity (e.g., its packaging and logos), quality and performance, familiarity, trust, perception about the emotions and values the brand symbolizes, and user imagery.” (p. 1)

  • Love emotion is a single, specific feeling, short term and episodic, while love relationship is long-lasting and involves numerous affective, cognitive, and behavioral experiences.

  • Brand love is measured based on reflective measurement (reflective indicators of hierarchical organized factors)


Richard P. Bagozzi, Batra, and Ahuvia (2016)

  • Developed a parsimonious brand love scale

  • Reflective Higher-order factor

    • Self-brand integration

    • Positive emotional connection

    • Passion driven behavior

  • Used Multitrait-Multimethod Matrix (MTMM) of method bias


7.5 Perceived Brand Globalness

E M Steenkamp, Batra, and Alden (2002)

  • Perceived brand globalness affects brand purchase (via brand quality, and prestige)

  • The effect is moderated by consumer ethnocentrism (CET)

  • Alternative route to brand purchase is to become an icon of the local culture

Davvetas, Sichtmann, and Diamantopoulos (2015)

  • Validate results from E M Steenkamp, Batra, and Alden (2002)

Y. Xie, Batra, and Peng (2015)

  • Formally introduce perceived brand localness

  • With the construct “brand identity expressiveness”, the path of brand quality and brand prestige from previous model become null.

  • Brand identity expressiveness is “the capability of a particular brand to construct and signal a person’s self-identity to himself as well as his social identity to important others.” (p. 53)

  • Three key needs in defining self-identity (Edson Escalas and Bettman 2012):

    • self-continuity

    • self-distinctiveness

    • self-enhancement


Steenkamp and de Jong (2010)

  • Introduce two concepts:

    • Attitude toward global products (AGP)

    • Attitude toward local products (ALP)


BATRA et al. (2000)

  • In the context of developing countries, brands from a nonlocal country of origin are preferred to those that are local because of social status.

    • This effect is greater for those who have a greater admiration for developed countries lifestyles.

    • This effect is greater for consumers who are high in susceptibility to normative influence and product categories that carry social signaling value

    • This effect is greater when products are less familiar


(Bart J. Bronnenberg, Dhar, and Dubé 2009; B. Bronnenberg, Dube, and Gentzkow 2010)

  • Found pattern of consumer preferences for local brands

  • People carry their local preferences to their new location (i.e., preference persistence)


7.6 Brand Relationship

Fournier (1998)

  • Brands can serve as relationship partners (p. 344)

    • Interdependence must be present in a relationship (i..e, partners can affect, define and redefine the relationship). (Hinde 1979)

    • Three ways brands are animated (animism):

      • brand is possessed by the spirit of a past or present other (e.g., spokesperson, significant others who use it, or givers)

      • Anthropomorphization of the brand object with human qualities such as emotionality, thought and volition (p. 345)

      • Perform as active relationship partner

  • “Consumer-brand relationships are valid at the level of lived experience” (p. 344)

  • Brand can be defined as “a collection of perceptions held in the mind of the consumer.” (p. 345)

  • Sources of relationship meaning: psychological, socio-cultural and relational

    • 5 socio-cultural contexts: age/cohort, life cycle, gender, family/social network, and culture
  • Relationships

    • as Multiplex phenomena

    • in Dynamic Perspective

  • Brand Relationship Quality BRQ (6 facets):

    • Love/passion

    • Self-connection

    • Commitment

    • Interdependence

    • Intimacy

    • Brand Partner Quality: brand performance in its partnership role.

  • Related to Brand Loyalty and Brand Personality


Aggarwal (2004)

  • When people form a relationship with brands, they use international relationship norms to guide this relationship.

  • There are two relationship types

    • Exchange relationship: (reciprocal favors)

    • Communal relationship: benefits are given to show concern for others’ needs.

  • Norm violation can influence overall brand evaluations.

  • Initial judgments of social stimuli (e.g., people) depend on inferred, abstract information while initial judgment of nonsocial stimuli (e.g., products) depend on concrete attributes because people use self as a frame of reference when comparing to other people (G. T. Fong and Markus 1982)

  • Norms of exchange relationship (i.e., quid pro quo): expected return, and prompt repayment

  • Norms of communal relationship (to demonstrate a concern for partners and to attend their needs): no expected return, or prompt repayment

  • “When consumers form relationships with brands, brands are evaluated as if they are members of a culture and need to conform to its norm” (p. 89)

  • The relationship between brands and consumers are more in line with celebrity and fan (p. 89)


J. Aaker, Vohs, and Mogilner (2010)


Puzakova, Kwak, and Rocereto (2013)

  • The negative side of brand humanization (i.e., anthropomorphization of a brand): it can decrease consumers’ brand evaluations when brand faces negative publicity as compared to non-humanized brands.

  • Because brands are living entities (after the humanization process) and attributions are due to stable traits instead of unstable contextual influences in human minds (Gawronski 2004), it is seen as having intention and responsibility for its actions

  • The extent of this negative effect depends on consumer-based factor (e.g., implicit theory of personality):

    • Those who believe in stable human traits (i.e., entity theorists) are more likely to devalue humanized brands because they attribute the wrongdoing to the underlying trait - indicative of future transgression. (p. 82)

    • “Those who believe personality traits as more malleable (i.e., incremental theorist) don’t form impression based on a single transgression and do not deem a single misbehavior a predictor of a future pattern of action” (p. 82)

  • Leveraging perceptual fluency when products are under human schemas, the product can enjoy greater liking (Delbaere, McQuarrie, and Phillips 2011)

  • Compensation (vs. denial or apology) is the only effective response among entity theorists.


MacInnis and Folkes (2017)

  • A summary of “humanizing brands” literature

  • Drivers of Humnaizing brands Epley, Waytz, and Cacioppo (2007)

  • Human-Focused Perspective (Anthropomorphism). Brands can be perceived as .. with consumers:

    • like

    • part of

    • in a relationship

  • Self-Focused Perspective. brands can also be perceived as

    • congruent or

    • connected to the self

  • Relationship-Focused Perspective: brand relationships are analogous to human relationships


(Ordabayeva, Cavanaugh, and Dahl 2022)

  • Negative internet reviews from socially distant (but not socially close) individuals may not be as harmful to identity-relevant brands. Because a negative review of an identity-relevant brand can threaten a client’s identity, the consumer will seek to strengthen their relationship with the brand.

  • They show that this effect does not appear when the review is positive or when the brand is irrelevant.


7.6.1 Competitor

(Zhou, Du, and Cutright 2021) found compliments posts (on Twitter) generated over 10x more likes and retweets than their typical content. Hence, complimenting competitors can have a positive effect on sales and reputation, because the complimenters can be seen as warmer, morre friendly and trustworthy. This phenomenon is coined as “brand-to-brand praise.” In the case of skeptical consumers and for-profit brands (i.e., those were seen not as warm) and authentic and ingenuous compliments, this effect is largest.


7.7 Reputation

Reputation is “a global evaluation of an organization accumulated over a period of time.” (quote by (J. Aaker, Vohs, and Mogilner 2010, 225)), original by (Fombrun and Shanley 1990).

Reputation can have both competence dimension (devine and Halpern 2001) and warmth (J. Aaker, Fournier, and Brasel 2004)


7.8 Brand Evaluation

  • Naylor, Lamberton, and West (2012) defined “mere virtual presence” as whether presence of virtual supporters for a brand (e.g., demographic) is revealed. The mere virtual presence can affect a target consumer’s brand evaluation and purchase intention. This effect is moderated by the composition of existing supporters and targeted new supporters and (2) and salience of competitor brands when evaluating the focal brand.


7.9 Brand Crisis

Keywords: brand crisis, product harm, crises, firestorm, negative word of mouth

(Ahluwalia, Burnkrant, and Unnava 2000) firms responses to negative events can mitigate brand perceptions

(An, Gower, and Ho Cho 2011) found firms communication can affect news.

(Golmohammadi et al. 2021) Complaint Publicization in Social Media

(Borah and Tellis 2016): nameplate recall effects on another car brand.

Other studies:


7.10 Brand Extensions

(Malhotra and Bhattacharyya 2022)

  • Use Twitter followership data, authors identify brand extension or co-branding opportunities based on common followership patterns.

  • Introduce brand transcendence construct: “measures the extension which a brand’s followers overlap with those of other brands in a new category.”


(Mathur et al. 2022)

  • Identify conditions in which low fit brand extension that can be beneficial

  • For context dependent individuals, benefit-based on can help increase the evaluation of low fit extensions, but providing attribute-based info can decrease the favorable evaluation of low fit extension via reliance on extension fit

  • For context independent individuals, they base their judgment on extension fit regardless of info provided

  • Not surprisingly, the high fit extension is unaffected by context dependence and type of information.