The break-up: Why consumers end their love relationships with brands

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Purpose: Consumers are forming deep love relationships with brands to a degree that involves the incorporation of the brand’s symbolic attributes to their own self-concept. However, though deep, these bonds are not indestructible. With that said, this thesis aims to investigate the consumer-brand love relationship with specific regard to the dissolution of these deep bonds. Methodology: In-depth semi-structured phenomenological interviews were conducted. An interpretive qualitative approach allowed for the gathering of consumers’ subjectively lived experiences. Theoretical Perspective: Consumer-brand relationships (Fournier, 1998), Brand love (Albert et al., 2008; Batra et al., 2012; Carroll & Ahuvia, 2006), Consumer-brand relationship dissolution (Fajer & Schouten, 1995), The extended self (Ahuvia, 2005; Belk, 1988), Symbolic interactionism (Solomon, 1983). Empirical Foundation: The empirical data is gathered from ten in-depth interviews with individuals who have experienced love towards a brand that they no longer consume. Conclusions: The analysis shows that the elements of self-identification and sense of belonging were connected to the brand love relationships of the participants interviewed. Furthermore, the findings show that these deep relationships are often terminated when the brand no longer fits into the individual’s self-perception, along with when the mass consumption of the brand leads to dilution of the individual’s identification with the brand

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