The Relationships among Self-Brand Congruence, Brand Attachment, Customer Engagement, and Brand Loyalty
Although relationship marketing has been recognized as a feasible strategy in mass consumer markets, the research and development of theory in the field has focused primarily on the analysis of social bonds between people, either in a B2B context, the services sector, or both. It has been acknowledged, however, that the development of strong and lasting customer-brand bonds creates a competitive advantage for companies. Therefore, understanding the ways in which consumers relate to brands is an important area of research. The current research investigates the relationships among self-brand congruence, brand attachment, customer engagement, and brand loyalty. These constructs represent different ways in which customers relate to brands. Using an experimental design, we show that self-brand congruence positively affects brand attachment and customer engagement. We also show that brand attachment predicts brand loyalty. We fail to support the hypothesized positive relationship between customer engagement and brand loyalty, which is a perplexing finding considering that companies are constantly looking for ways in which to engage their customers.