My Dear Brands, When You Transgress, Should I Forgive You? Relationship Types between Consumers and Brands
The book chapter reviews the stages that branding research has gone through–transaction exchange model, relationship partner model and marriage model–and discusses the implication of the nature of the relationship model a consumer has with the brand on how brand transgressions may affect the consumer.
The transaction exchange model views that brand brands/products are the means of transaction between consumers and sellers (company) and brands/products fulfill the expected utility of consumers (Silerberg and Suen 1990).
Departing from the transaction exchange model, the relationship partner model takes a long term focus between brands and consumers and emphasizes how consumer’s needs are fulfilled by brands, which partially explains consumer loyalty toward brands in terms of emotions and repeated purchases (Fournier 1998). In the marriage model, brands are conceptualized as intimate relationship partners like spouses.
We argue the latter is a particularly useful perspective as it helps us to understand the contingencies under which a consumer-brand relationship can bread down as well as how to recover from a transgression on the part of the brand.
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