Original Empirical Research

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 234-252

First online:

Exploring the dynamics of antecedents to consumer–brand identification with a new brand

  • Son K. LamAffiliated withTerry College of Business, University of Georgia
  • , Michael AhearneAffiliated withC.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston Email author 
  • , Ryan MullinsAffiliated withCollege of Business and Behavioral Science, Clemson University
  • , Babak HayatiAffiliated withCollege of Business and Administration, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
  • , Niels SchillewaertAffiliated withVlerick Leuven Gent Management SchoolInSites Consulting

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This study examines the dynamics of consumer–brand identification (CBI) and its antecedents in the context of the launch of a new brand. Three focal drivers of CBI with a new brand are examined, namely: perceived quality (the instrumental driver), self–brand congruity (the symbolic driver), and consumer innate innovativeness (a trait-based driver). Using longitudinal survey data, the authors find that on average, CBI growth trajectories initially rise after the introduction but eventually decline, following an inverted-U shape. More importantly, the longitudinal effects of the antecedents suggest that CBI can take different paths. Consumer innovativeness creates a fleeting identification with the brand that dissipates over time. On the other hand, company-controlled drivers of CBI—such as brand positioning—can contribute to the build-up of deep-structure CBI that grows stronger over time. Based on these findings, the authors offer normative guidelines to managers on consumer–brand relationship investment.


Consumer–brand identification Branding New products Longitudinal effects of consumer traits Growth modeling