ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF BRAND LOVE: A RESEARCH ON SMARTPHONE PRODUCTS
- Marka aşkı,
- Akıllı telefon,
- Brand Love,
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After Shimp and Madden adapted love triangle (the eternal triangle) theory to consumer behaviour, Kevin Roberts (1998) brought called as love marks or brand love concept in marketing literature. The transition from being a brand to love mark means the transformation of rational relationship to the emotional relationship between consumers and a brand. The bond between the brand that has been a love mark and consumers is powerful, so much so that faults of these brands such as lack of innovation, bad timing, or unperfect price usually forgiven (Roberts, 2010, p.25). Also, consumers having love feelings about a brand are disposed to pay more for and have higher level repurchase intention to a product they want to own (Thomson et al., 2005, p.88). Lovemark becomes possible by generating a strong emotional bond between a consumer and the brand, and this bond depends on building up loyalty to and creating defensiveness against the brand. Lovemark concept is used for indicating products, services, or assets constituted “loyalty beyond reason” (Pawle and Cooper, 2006, p.38-39). Studies demonstrated that loving a brand cause loyalty. Therefore, marketers attempt to make their consumers feel love for their brands in order to keep pace with their competitors (Kazemi and Borandegi, 2013, p.322).
- RESEARCH SUBJECT
In this study, brand love’s interactions with its consequences and antecedents, such as brand trust, brand innovativeness and involvement, have been investigated. According to Aydın (2017, p.282), brand trust causes brand love. Similarly, according to Turgut (2014), trust positively affects brand love. When consumers love and trust a brand, they are resistant to negative criticism and information against the brand. On the other part, the innovation concept is the cause of love and romanticism feelings. Brands are making innovation achieve more commitment to the brand because of providing more stimulation in comparison with non-innovative brands (Aydın, 2016, p.131). In addition to this, ensuring consumers feel emotional bond for a brand, use this brand, and spend some money to be able to buy this brand is an essential factor in order to create brand love. Firms should plan strategies to make consumers curious about and take an interest in the brand until the moment of sale while designing, packing, and promoting branded products (Arslan ve Nur, 2018, p.115). Besides, the formation of a feeling of love toward the brand that of interest, and attributed to importance can wait.
Among the factors affected by brand love, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and brand image can be counted. Indeed, it is expected that brand love emanated people’s satisfaction and loyalty levels are higher than other customers (Aşkın and İpek, 2016, p.81). It is conceivable that consumer who has an emotional relationship with a brand will also have high-level satisfaction from products of this brand. Also, consumers establishing strong connections with a brand could give advice to their friends and environment to buy the brand they are using (Onurlubaş and Altunışık, 2019, p.131). On the other hand, based on brand image literature and the idea that consumers may anthropomorphize brands, it is asserted that emotional levels of consumers affect brand image (İsmail and Spinelli, 2012, p.389).
- RESEARCH PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE
Purposes of this study are determining effects of consumers’ trust in the brand, belief in brand’s innovativeness, and involvement levels on brand love and presenting effects of brand love on loyalty, customer satisfaction, and brand image, specific to smartphone brands.
- CONTRIBUTION OF THE ARTICLE TO THE LITERATURE
To reveal the structure of brand love, it is expected that examining antecedents and consequences of this concept will contribute to the literature.
- DESIGN AND METHOD
- RESEARCH TYPE
In this research, the data was gathered with the survey method and analyzed by using quantitative research methods.
- RESEARCH PROBLEMS
The main research problem of this study is determining whether some variables thought as antecedents and consequences of brand love have expected relationships.
- DATA COLLECTION METHOD
The population of the study is composed of university students. In the study, data was gathered by conducting questionnaires to students determined with convenience sampling. Seven hundred seven valid surveys were included in analyses.
- QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS
Primarily, validity and reliability analyses, confirmatory factor analysis, and correlation analysis were used in the analysis of data. In order to test the research model, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used.
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H1: Consumer trust in smartphone brands has a positive effect on brand love.
H2: Innovations made by smartphone brands have positive effects on brand love.
H3: Relevance dimension of consumer involvement toward smartphone brands has a positive effect on brand love.
H4: Hedonic value dimension of consumer involvement toward smartphone brands has a positive effect on brand love.
H5: Symbolic value dimension of consumer involvement toward smartphone brands has a positive effect on brand love.
H6: Brand love felt for smartphone brands has a positive effect on customer satisfaction.
H7: Brand love felt for smartphone brands has a positive effect on recommendation dimension of loyalty.
H8: Brand love felt for smartphone brands has a positive effect on repurchase dimension of loyalty.
H9: Brand love felt for smartphone brands has a positive effect on brand image.
- FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
- FINDINGS AS A RESULT OF ANALYSIS
Results of reliability and validity analyses show that research scales are reliable and valid. As a result of testing research model via Structural Equation Modeling, it is seen that the structural model demonstrated acceptable goodness of fit. Additionally, results of hypotheses tests revealed that all hypotheses had been supported, except H5.
- HYPOTHESIS TEST RESULTS
Hypotheses asserting positive effects of brand trust (H1), brand innovativeness (H2), and relevance (H3) and hedonic value (H4) dimensions of consumer involvement on brand love have been supported. On the contrary, the H5 hypothesis suggesting a positive effect of symbolic value dimension of involvement on brand love has not been supported. However, it is confirmed that repurchase (H6) and recommendation (H7) dimensions of brand loyalty have been affected by brand love. Moreover, H8 and H9 hypotheses proposed positive effects of brand love on customer satisfaction and brand image have been supported.
- DISCUSSING THE FINDINGS WITH THE LITERATURE
According to the results of the research, trust affects brand love directly. This result demonstrates that consumers first require trust in a brand in order to establish a bond with this brand. Overlapping with the results of this research, Kalyoncuoğlu (2017) has determined that there is a positive and significant relationship between trust and love which customers have to the brand, and Onurlubaş and Altunışık (2019); Albert and Merunka (2013); Turgut (2014) have determined that brand trust has a significant effect on brand love. According to the findings of the research, the more brands are innovational, the higher they have a chance to create a consumer group who are in love with them. Overlapping with the results of this research, Aydın (2016) and Özbek, Kutbay, Doğan and Külahlı (2017) have determined that brand innovation has a positive and significant relationship with brand love. In this context, it can be stated that research findings are coherent with the literature. Research results demonstrate the level of brand love increases in case that consumers regard smartphone as an essential product, have a particular interest in the product and enjoy the product. Supportively, Hegner, Fenko, and Travest (2017) have determined that high involvement level cause brand love. Besides, Ranjbarian, Kazemi and Borandegi (2013) have determined that consumers’ involvement in the product has an effect on brand love in their study on smartphone users. In parallel with the results of this research, Carroll and Ahuvia (2006) have confirmed that hedonic products affect brand love and Huber, Meyer and Schmid (2015) have determined that hedonic value has essential effects on brand love.
Results revealed in the research indicate that brand love affects recommendation and repurchase dimensions of loyalty. Overlapping with the results of this research, Arslan and Nur (2018) have determined there is a positive and significant relationship between brand love and repurchase intention in a study they carried out in ready-made clothing sector and Fetscherin (2014); Sarkar, Ponnam and Murthy (2012); Aydın (2016) have determined that brand love has a positive and significant effect on repurchase in their studies. Besides, Carroll and Ahuvia (2006); Albert, Merunka and Valette-Florence (2008); Batra et al. (2012); Albert and Merunka (2013); Fetscherin (2014) have determined in their studies that brand love affects word of mouth marketing and thereby recommendation positively. According to the results achieved in the research, brand love affects brand image positively. Based on this result, it can be stated that as the level of consumers’ brand love increases, their outlook on the brand’s image would increase positively as well. Overlapping with the results of this research, Kang (2015), in the study carried out on smartphones in India, has determined that brand love has a positive effect on brand image.
- CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATION AND LIMITATIONS
One of the most critical factors to create a brand love is brand trust. Firms which are striving to create a brand love must first give trust to their customers. Trust has tremendous importance in the smartphone sector just as in the others. Customers want to trust in the product, brand and company before, during and after buying the product. In the smartphone sector, the customer may be given confidence with the warranty after the sale of the product. By providing these, consumers are more likely to have an emotional bond with the brand.
Consumers prefer those bringing innovation, improving themselves, and making progress rather than ordinary ones. According to the results of researches, innovative brands are loved more in comparison to non-innovative ones. It is very often to introduce a new type of cell phone today, and innovation race immensely increased (transferring charge from a smartphone to other, artificial intelligence, face recognition etc.). In the meanwhile, companies having a desire to create a brand love must give more importance to R&D activities.
In the study, the result that relevance and hedonic value dimensions of consumer involvement concept affect brand love was determined. According to this result, companies having a desire to create a brand love must find out what attracts consumers’ relevance, what kind of products make them happy and what gives them delight by conducting market researches. Companies that present products attracting customers’ relevance and giving them delight may create more brand lovers in comparison to others.
Companies want their customers to re-choose their brands and recommend that people around them use the same brand. Because of these reasons, companies that do not desire to lose current customers must give enough importance to brand loyalty, and they must do researches to develop it. Companies that giving critical importance to brand love and that striving to create consumers who love their brand are in an advantageous position about creating customer loyalty. Similarly, brands must please the customers if they want a long-life span in the marketing world since brand love has a significant position to create satisfaction. On the other hand, companies desire to see themselves in a good position in consumers’ eyes. A strong brand image must be created in customers’ eyes to have a good position. Creating brand love is likely useful for a positive image.
Within the scope of the study, brand trust, brand innovation and consumer involvement (relevance, hedonic value and symbolic value) which are antecedents of brand love are researched and analyzed. In future studies, using different parameters which may be antecedents of brand love will be useful to reach different results. In the process of research, loyalty (repurchasing and recommending), customer satisfaction and brand image as consequences of brand love were searched. Different studies may be carried out about this subject, and literature may be contributed by using different parameters which are affected by brand love. This study was able to be carried out on undergraduates and only with undergraduates of Burhaniye Applied Sciences School and Burhaniye Vocational School affiliated to Balıkesir University due to limited time and cost. The validity of the results may be improved by testing the research model on different populations. Within the scope of the study, brand love, its antecedents, and consequences have been evaluated specific to smartphone products. Same antecedents and results may be studied in specific to different sectors and products.
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