Activating Multiple Facets of the Self: How Self-Concept and Brand Personality can Influence Self-Brand Connections: An Abstract
Nowadays, it is crucial for companies to connect more with consumers and to create emotional brand connections (Malär et al. 2011). Brand managers need to understand how people can express themselves and reflect their identities through their product consumption. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals can use brands to identify with a specific reference group (Escalas and Bettman 2005), to differentiate themselves from undesired groups (Berger and Heath 2007), and to boost their self-esteem (Sirgy 1982). This research explores what is the importance of identity-related brand personality in the creation of self-brand connections. For example, does the sincere, wholesome, and truthful brand personality of Dove reach more the actual self of consumers with its endearing aspect, while the glamorous, sexy, and charming aspect of Victoria’s Secret triggers more the ideal self of consumers? Drawing on the literature on personal and social identity, this paper investigates the effects of the self-concept of identity on the self-brand connections for different brand personalities to determine how brands can focalize on the bonding between the brand and the self-concept.
The authors propose the congruence between self-concept and brand personality that leads to stronger self-brand connections. Therefore, the influence of the individual actual self on self-brand connections is stronger for sincere brands (H1). The influence of the individual ideal self on self-brand connections is stronger for sophisticated brands (H2). Furthermore, the presence of identity threat leads to stronger self-brand connections for the corresponding brand personality (sincere and sophisticated). Finally, the identity threat moderates the effect of the primed identity (actual self and ideal self) on self-brand connections for the different brand personalities.
The authors conducted several studies (surveys and experiments) that supported the influence of congruence between the self-concept and the brand personality on self-brand connections. In addition, the studies demonstrate the moderating effect of different identity threats on these relationships. Indeed, the effect of congruence was positive only when threat-relevant identity had first been primed but was negative when threat-irrelevant identity had first been primed. In conclusion, the present research expands our knowledge about the role of self-concept by demonstrating its effects on self-brand connections for different brand personalities. The present results demonstrate that managers should consider the congruence between consumers’ identity and their brand personality to create stronger connections with the consumers.
References Available Upon Request