Having a Great Vacation and Blaming the Wines: an Attribution Theory Perspective on Consumer Attachments to Regional Brands
Tourists’ affective experiences are important in a variety of contexts as their influence goes beyond immediate, short-term outcomes, such as satisfaction and spending. These experiences impact the relationship between the consumer and objects associated with the experience including brands. Yet, research on the influence of consumer affective experiences on emotional attachments to brands in general, and the process by which affect influences attachments in particular, has been limited. This study uses attribution theory to explain consumer attachments to regional brands in a tourism and wine context. Survey results covering twelve touristic wine regions on three continents (N =2,445) suggest that (a) causal attributions mediate the affective experience – brand attachment relationship, (b) consumers’ attributions depend on brand name strength, and (c) place attachment and spatial distance affect brand attributions. Results also suggest that when consumers attribute the pleasantness and satisfaction of the tourism experience to the brand, attachment increases; however, if consumers attribute the experience to the region, attachments decrease. Implications relate to destination marketing and brand management.