Brand love is defined ‘as the degree of passionate emotional attachment a satisfied customer has for a particular brand’ (Carroll and Ahuvia, 2006, p. 81) where brand love can lead to positive loyalty outcomes. Loyalty from consumers is said to provide an organization or seller with protection from competition (Mascarenhas, Kesavan, and Bernacchi, 2006), positive word-of mouth, repeat purchasing and sizable purchasing from its consumers (Sirdeshmukh, Singh, and Sabol, 2002). Further to this it has been argued that loyalty provides an economic benefit to an organization beyond repeat purchase where the cost of acquiring new consumers is considerably higher than that ...view middle of the document...
Based on Sternberg’s (1986) original paper on the triangular love theory, Shimp and Madden (1988) argued that the triangular love theory concept could be used to study consumer-object relations. They argued that as consumers interact and form relationships with objects and brands they develop feelings which range from ‘antipathy, to slight fondness, all the way up to what would, in person-person relations, amount to love’ (Shimp and Madden, 1988, p. 163). Where this notion of love is equivalent to extreme enthusiasm towards a product or brand in the consumer behavior literature (Shimp and Madden, 1988). Whilst there are a few empirical studies on the measurement of brand love (Ahuvia, 2005; Albert, Merunka, and Valette-Florence, 2008; Heinrich and Bauer Johannes C. M. Muhl, 2008) there is much controversy over the conceptualization of brand love. Sternberg’s (1997) triangular love theory appears both reasonable and plausible, however once applied to the consumer brand relationship the term commitment (as a component of love) takes on a different meaning and the literature argues that commitment is a dimension or possible outcome of loyalty.
Thus far, the measurement of brand love has been investigated without consideration of other related constructs. Therefore, it is the intention of the present study to re-examine how brand love has been conceptualised and operationalised with consideration to existing marketing measures and terms. As distinct from Shimp and Madden (1988) who eluded to the similarities between brand love and brand loyalty, Carroll and Ahuvia (2006) argued that brand love can lead to the positive outcomes of word-of-mouth and loyalty. Thus, postulating the distinction between the constructs of brand love and loyalty. This relationship between brand love and loyalty has been further postulated by Maurice L_vy, the Chairman of Publicis Group (owners of Saatchi & Saatchi) who stated that ‘the vast majority of the population ... consumes and shops with their mind and their heart, or if you prefer, their emotions’ (Roberts, 2006, p. 68). Consequently suggesting that consumer decision making and therefore loyalty to a particular product or brand is emotionally driven.
Loyalty has been defined by Oliver (1999, p. 34) as ‘a deeply held commitment to rebuy or repatronize a preferred product / service consistently in the future, thereby causing repetitive same-brand or same brand-set purchasing, despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior.’ This definition highlights two distinct aspects of loyalty which are present throughout the literature, behavioral loyalty and attitudinal loyalty. George Day, in his 1969 study, was the first to suggest loyalty was a multidimensional construct whereby he postulated that true loyalty was the combination of both attitude and behavior (Dobni and Zinkhan, 1990). Day (1969) discussed the need for empirical investigation into...