THE ROLE OF SELF-BRAND CONNECTION IN BRAND PRIMING AND BRAND CO-CREATION CONTEXTS
Johnson, Heather Macrea
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This dissertation includes two essays that examine how self-brand connection influences brand-related behaviors in different contexts. Essay I investigates conditions under which brand primes can lead to decreased behavioral intentions toward the brand not shown in prior brand priming research (Berger and Fitzsimons 2008; Ferraro, Bettman, and Chartrand 2009). We identify the type of association primed (core vs. non-core) as an important factor in determining whether positive or negative brand priming effects will occur for consumers with low vs. high self-brand connection (SBC; Escalas and Bettman 2003). Studies 1 and 2 find support for the notion that high (vs. low) SBC consumers' brand associative networks have stronger links between core associations and brand and overlap between the self and core associations. Studies 3 and 4 show that when SBC is low, priming core and non-core associations leads to increased behavioral intentions found in prior work (Berger and Fitzsimons 2008). When SBC is high, however, priming a non-core association decreases behavioral intentions, while priming a core association does not affect behavioral intentions. Thus, contrary to prior research (Park et al. 2010), we show that higher SBC may result in lower behavioral intentions under certain conditions. Essay II explores the conditions under which brief brand co-creation activities are effective in enhancing high (vs. low) SBC consumers' subsequent brand engagement in social media, such as liking the brand on Facebook and sharing brand promotions with others. Many brand marketers offer interactive activities that enable consumers to participate in the ongoing development of the brand, such as telling their own stories about the brand or evaluating other consumers' stories. We offer evidence that these co-creation activities vary according to their potential to create brand knowledge. We then examine how consumers' self-brand connection and the co-creation activity's brand knowledge potential interact to affect brand engagement. Across three studies, we demonstrate that high SBC (i.e., loyal) consumers intend to engage more deeply with the brand after participating in high rather than low brand knowledge potential co-creation activities. We show that generation of original, personal brand meaning underlies the effect.