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Brands Can Make Consumers Happy! Developement of a Scale to Measure Brand Happiness

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Let’s Get Engaged! Crossing the Threshold of Marketing’s Engagement Era


Throughout history, happiness has been proposed as the “highest good” that a person can seek in life; more and more, the attainment of this “holy grail” is sought and promised by the consumption of products and brands. By targeting this telos, marketers and researchers have recognized that specific emotional brand characteristics (such as the capacity to make people happy) have become the silver bullet for successful brand management (e.g., Bettingen and Luedicke 2009; Holbrook 1982). Consumers no longer want to buy brands only for what they are: they also select them for the emotional experiences that they deliver. It is therefore essential to identify the respective brand emotions that are influenceable and of high behavioral relevance. Because happiness is an emotion with these characteristics (e.g., Soscia 2007), it is worthwhile to devote attention to the topic of brand happiness. This research paper aims to provide a first insight into the definition, measurement and behavioral relevance of the brand happiness construct. To this end, different emotions are collected and collated within an overall construct of brand happiness.

According to the definition of happiness as a short-term emotional state (e.g., Delle Fave et al. 2011), brand happiness is defined as a moment-based consumer’s experience of pleasant emotions released at different brand touch points. Drawing on Brakus et al. (2009) and Thomson et al. (2005), the scale development process of this research paper is made up of four separate studies. Study 1 is qualitative in nature, consisting of 68 personal interviews with consumers and experts, as well as an extensive literature review. Study 2 serves to reduce the items generated in Study 1. Here, 187 consumers were asked to evaluate how well the identified items describe a brand that makes them happy (items with low means and low factor loadings were excluded from further analyses). Study 3 (n = 206) further reduces unimportant items based on low factor loadings. The factor analysis on the remaining 12 items reveals a four-factor solution: joy (emotions that reflect consumers’ exuberance towards brands), vigor (a high degree of activation and vitality), pride (feelings of self-enhancement in relation to the brand), and serenity (emotional harmony and balance regarding the brand). In a next step, a new sample (n = 435) was used to further assess the developed brand happiness scale. Different models were tested (a one-factor model, a second-order model, and a four-factor model) to uncover the relationship of the four factors to the greater brand happiness construct. The four-factor model exhibits the best fit. To test the nomological validity of the brand happiness scale, the effects of brand happiness on brand behavior were proven. Applying the appraisal theories (e.g., Lazarus 1991), the proposed hypotheses state that the experience of brand happiness results in a desire to re-experience it (through purchase and word-of-mouth). The results support the hypotheses that brand happiness positively influences purchase intention and word-of-mouth behavior, and thus provide evidence of the importance of brand happiness for brand success. Therefore, practitioners are prompted to create brands and brand experiences that make consumers happy.

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Correspondence to Stefanie Schnebelen .

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© 2016 Academy of Marketing Science

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Schnebelen, S., Bruhn, M. (2016). Brands Can Make Consumers Happy! Developement of a Scale to Measure Brand Happiness. In: Obal, M., Krey, N., Bushardt, C. (eds) Let’s Get Engaged! Crossing the Threshold of Marketing’s Engagement Era. Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science. Springer, Cham.

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