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The research in consumer relationship management is a wide field describing consumer behavior related long term relationships as the most influential impact on successful company leadership. Although there are constructs like trust or satisfaction as important drivers of purchase intention there is only one phenomena defining the relationship strength and dependence of a consumer to a brand as the most important driver of consumer loyalty. This phenomena is called brand attachment, defined “a self-related cognitive and (durable and situational specific) emotional bond between a consumer and a brand as a consequence of a consumer-brand interaction.“ (Proksch, 2012). In numerous studies and applied projects we showed the relevance of brand attachment on a company‘s longterm success.

Every consumer goes through a purchase process. First, a consumer gets awareness of a brand forming impressions and associations based on a companies behavior. Influenced by a company, this behavior leads to a consumer‘s image perception of a brand. This image in comparison to other brands related to the same purpose or product category is important forming a relevant set of brands in order to make a purchase decision. This purchase decision leads to a consumer‘s perception of satisfaction and trust. If a consumer is satisfied and if he/she trusts a brand is dependent on if a brand fulfills a consumer‘s expectations.

But satisfaction is not a guaranty to develop strong attachments and to get a loyal consumer. Our research shows that brands like Apple, Mercedes, BWM, or Ferrari are consumer attachment targets based on special brand characteristics, emotions a brand can elicit and special (e.g. lifestyle) needs a brand can fulfill next to the based functional needs a product has to satisfy.

What do you think? Why do you feel attached to a brand?