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Type: Journal article
Title: Consumers' brand identity complexity: conceptualization and predictive ability
Author: Orth, U.
Rose, G.
Citation: European Journal of Marketing, 2017; 51(2):304-323
Publisher: Emerald Publishing
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0309-0566
Statement of
Ulrich R. Orth, Gregory M. Rose
Abstract: Purpose – This study aims to integrate Roccas and Brewer’s (2002) social identity complexity theory with the brand symbolism literature to propose a new construct: brand identity complexity (BIC). Different than previous conceptualizations of identity complexity which focus on the degree of internal differentiation of the personal self, BIC focuses on the degree of complexity in the social self and is defined as a consumer’s subjective representation and psychological state of belongingness to multiple identity-constructing brand ingroups. BIC impacts the adoption of new brands as they relate to the social self. Design/methodology/approach – Three experiments were performed to test BIC’s predictive power. Study 1 measures BIC and tests its influence on the adoption of new brands positioned as unique. Study 2 manipulates BIC through priming and tests its influence on the adoption of new brands that appeal to independence. Study 3 also manipulates BIC and examines its influence on the adoption of brand extensions. Findings – Study 1 demonstrates that high BIC consumers are more likely to adopt a new brand that appeals to a unique social self. Study 2 shows that high BIC individuals are more likely to adopt a new brand that appeals to an independent self. Study 3 shows that high BIC consumers are more likely to adopt a brand extension with a low fit to the parent category. All three studies offer evidence of the mediating role of identity-driven payoffs. Research limitations/implications – The findings suggest that individuals perceive their multiple brand ingroups to be more or less complex. This outcome merges the social identity theory with consumer– brand relationship research and adds to an emerging stream of research that explores personal, situational and cultural differences in the social self and its relation to commercial offers. Practical implications – Marketers can benefit from the findings by better understanding which brand appeals will be more effective with target consumers and under what conditions. Originality/value – This research develops a conceptual framework for understanding the development of brand ingroup-based identity complexity.
Keywords: Brand management; emotion; consumer identity; social self
Rights: © Emerald Publishing Limited 2017 Published by Emerald Publishing Limited Licensed re-use rights only
RMID: 0030071168
DOI: 10.1108/EJM-07-2015-0446
Appears in Collections:Business School publications

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