Keeping Up With The Heritage : An exploration of consumers emotional connections to heritage luxury fashion brands on Instagram
Abstract: Purpose The aim of this master’s thesis is to gain in-depth insight into the emotional connections of consumers to the brand heritage of luxury fashion brands. Another aim of the paper is to investigate how brand love is enriched by the communication of brand heritage dimensions on Instagram. Design/Methodology/Approach This study is adopting an epistemological position of interpretivism and an abductive qualitative methodology. Seven semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with emerging luxury fashion consumers. Further, to gain insight into the meanings attributed to heritage luxury fashion brands, visual participatory methods were implemented. The methods used were a digital tour and a visual collage. The data was analysed with the help of thematic coding. Findings The current study finds that emerging consumers form emotional connections to heritage luxury fashion brands through dimensions of brand love: self-brand integration, passion-driven behaviours, long-term relationships and declarations of affection. This process of forming brand love for heritage luxury fashion brands is named ‘heritage brand love phases’ by this study. Additionally, the study finds that brand heritage is an enricher of brand love for emerging consumers on Instagram, where the consumer is already ‘highly brand-involved'. Managerial Implications It became evident in this study that there is a compatibility conflict between heritage luxury brands and social media. Brand managers ought to weave brand heritage seamlessly into their social media strategy for it to succeed. It is further suggested that managers take into account the ‘heritage brand love phases’ when devising heritage-related social media strategies. Originality/Value This paper explores brand heritage as an enricher of brand love on Instagram. This represents an unexplored area of brand love research. The study expands knowledge of luxury fashion by investigating how one dimension of luxury, brand heritage, impacts emerging consumers’ brand love.
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