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The relationship between brand love and positive word of mouth
Being able to create strong emotional bonds between consumers and brands can be seen as an important goal of today’s brand management. As in interpersonal relationships also in product and brand context love is presented to be the strongest stage of emotional attachment a consumer may have. Brand love is previously discovered to have several desirable outcomes from marketing perspective but the understanding of this phenomenon still remains in its infancy. The objective of this research was to gain a better insight of the construct of brand love by observing how the three following phenomena, self-expressiveness of a brand, brand trust and hedonic product type affect brand love. In addition, the study investigates whether brand love would have positive effects on word of mouth (WOM) both in traditional and online environment (eWOM). As the objective was to examine the relationships between the particular constructs, a quantitative research method was applied. A questionnaire was developed on the basis of previous brand love literature and a survey was conducted with the target audience of Finnish consumers. The data of 342 responses was analyzed in SPSS Statistic 22 program and further on partial least squared structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) program SmartPLS 2.0. The results of this study indicate that self-expressiveness, trust and hedonic product type all have significant positive effects on brand love. According to the findings, the strongest predictor of brand love seems to be self-expressiveness of a brand. Moreover, brand love is found out to lead to positive WOM and eWOM. The findings suggest that marketers should aim at creating trust, communicate the self-expressive characteristics and emphasize the hedonic features of their trademarks in order to create love between consumers and their brands. The theoretical contributions of this study can be stated to be observing the new-found topic in a different cultural environment as well as supporting the findings of previous brand love studies. ...
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