Consumer-brand relationships in Private Cars – Conclusion and Implication for managers

In an increasing competitive world, retaining existing customers has become a priority for marketers. Marketers thus seek to establish a relationship with customers rather than structuring their interactions as a one-time exchange. Entities that achieve such relationships with existing customers can benefit from positive consumer behavior such as repurchases and word-of-mouth promotion. It is hence important for firms to develop ways through which they can establish a continuing relationship with customers. One such way for developing effective customer relationships is via the branding strategy. Realizing that customer satisfaction involves emotional aspects in addition to cognitive components, brands provide a tool through which entities can drive such emotional satisfaction. This paper thus intended to evaluate customer-brand relationships using private car brands to exemplify such relationships.

Customer-brand relationships occur due to an entity’s presentation of a brand as a relationship partner. Such a partner is imbued with personality attributes that provide customers with the reciprocity required for existence of a relationship. By providing such attributes brand offer customers ways of expressing their self image based on: (a) the similarity of such attributes with personal attributes, (b) the distinctiveness that such attributes offer customers from other customers and (c) the promotion of the need for self-enchantment that the brand attributes provide. When brand provide customers with a tool to fulfill these needs, they develop emotional attachment to the brand (e.g. by using Mercedes a owner would feel prestigious) hence benefiting the entity from advantages that arise with the relationships (e.g. repurchases, price tolerance, enhanced socio-psychological change barriers, and promotion). To benefit from such a relationship, the entity however needs to sustain activities that add both emotional and functional value for the relationships. Failure to sustain such values could result into a relative dismal performance of the brand as opposed to when the customer-brand relationships do not exist. Such could occur for instance when the brand fails in reliability, trust or when the brand identity is not coherently presented from time to time.

Implications for marketing managers thus lie in establishing and sustaining effective customer-brand relationships. To establish these relationships, the managers need to not only focus on the functional attributes of their brand but also attributes that satisfy the emotional needs for the customers. Such is developed through pulling resources to create a personality that customers will associate the brand with. Once this is provided, the customer experience (e.g. service, functional quality, communication) provided by use of the brand should be in line with the promise the personality offers. Failure to reinforce the personality with relevant experience could lead to the dismal performance and absolute failure of the brand, as compared to when the brand has not established these relationships with the consumers.

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