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critique of brand love
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  Critique of Marketing Paper Brand Love Journal of Marketing 76.2 (2012): 1-16 Rajeev Batra , Aaron Ahuvia, and Richard P. Bagozzi.November 30, 2012 Submitted toProf . Mithileshwar JhaProfessor of MarketingIIM Bangalore ByPraveen S, FPM 2012, praveen.s@iimb.ernet.inTowards course credit of Advanced Marketing Management (AMM) 1  1 Introduction This paper offers a critique of the article “Brand Love” published in Journal of Marketing.It considers whether the approaches and theories adopted by the authors Ahuvia, Batraand Bagozzi (2012) are appropriate. The paper is also put in to check for its generaliz-ability and accuracy. Interpretation of the literature used in the srcinal article is alsoused as and when needed.Customer brand relationships has been one of the important areas of marketing. Overthe years many researchers have studied about the nature and functions of consumer’srelationship with the brand, and the processes which govern them. This has given way toa number of constructs like brand liking, brand attachment, brand loyalty etc. which pro-duces human relationship overtones. Brand Love is an interesting and relevant constructwhich has been in the research domain in the past decade.Since the author conceptualized an important marketing phenomena and developed anew higher order model, the ideas present in the paper deserves to be closely examined.The authors’ objective and findings are reviewed first. The standing of the presentpaper on Brand love literature is evaluated. Then the methodology adopted is reviewed.Multiple methods of study involved and their linkages are evaluated. Adequacy of sample,category and restrictive assumptions used in theorizing and empirical analysis are alsodiscussed. Critical evaluations of some of the ideas presented in the paper is presentednext. Finally the writing style and structure of the paper are discussed. 2 Summary One of the authors Ahuvia has been continuously researching about the effects of ’Loveon Brand’ Ahuvia (1993), Ahuvia (2005) and Ahuvia, Batra and Bagozzi (2009). Thecurrent paper can be seen as an extension of their previous study. According to theauthors’ there is a need for grounded theory approach in studying Brand Love, due to1. Increased substitution of interpersonal love literature in explorative studies inBrand love. According to the author this seems to be inappropriate as Brandlove may be different from interpersonal love. This is due to fact that differenttypes of interpersonal love exists, and theories of one can not be applied to theother. For example theories of sexual love can not be used to theories in parentallove.2. Failure to distinguish between love as a relationship and love as an emotion. Emo-tion can be a one time development, but relationship can be of long term and buildsthrough transactions.3. Prototype approach is not used for identifying and defining different type of Brandlove.(The concept Brand Love in this context can be taken as a metaphor applied to Brandingphilosophy. It also should be treated like ’Organisational ecology’, where all the theories2  in ecological studies can not be applied to organization studies). Extant brand loveresearch sometimes studies the love emotion and sometimes studies the love relationship,but it rarely acknowledges the distinction. Therefore the objective of the paper is to fillthe gap in the present literature.1. Brand love needs to be conceptualized from the ground up, built on a deep under-standing of how consumers experience it, and only then should valid connectionsbe made to the interpersonal love literature.2. Represent Brand Love from view of customer experience as a higher-order constructincluding multiple cognition’s, emotions, and behaviors, which consumers organizeinto a mental prototype. (Brand love as a mental prototype seems to be correct,but how well the author has been able to express it using the prototype modelneeds be analyzed).The authors are trying to investigate the nature and consequences of Brand love. Theyare providing more meaning to the Brand love construct using prototype modeling. Dif-ferent elements of Brand love are identified using quality interviews. Then they use surveydata to model these elements in as both first and higher order model structural equationmodeling. Prototype modeling to Brand love is conceptualized using antecedents andoutcomes and various elements relating them.Study 1 and 2 by Ahuvia, Batra and Bagozzi (2012) yielded ten major componentsof Brand Love prototype: high quality, linkages to strongly held values, beliefs that thebrand provided intrinsic rather than extrinsic rewards, use of the loved brand to expressboth current and desired self-identity, positive affect, a sense of rightness and a feelingof passion, an emotional bond, investments of time and money, frequent thought anduse, and length of use. A prototype is a list of attributes (i.e., prototype features) thatpeople associate with a particular kind of thing, in this case love. The authors also hier-archically reduced the ten attributes as self–brand integration, passion-driven behaviors,positive emotional connection, long-term relationship, positive overall attitude valence,attitude certainty and confidence (strength), and anticipated separation distress.(Table1 of Ahuvia, Batra and Bagozzi (2012). They also conclude that since none of the priorbrand love studies have all the aspects of Brand Love prototype uncovered here, theyconclude that interpersonal studies do not provide adequate theoretical foundation forBrand Love research.In study 3 using structural equation modeling they estimated first order and higherorder representations of Brand Love. Predictive models using the higher order modelshowed that it predicts brand loyalty, WOM, and resistance to negative informationbetter than a simple overall measure of brand love.3  3 Review 3.1 Standing in literature The authors comment that interpersonal love can not be used in Brand love domain, andwe need new conceptualization. Ahuvia was instrumental in the application of interper-sonal love theories in Branding. Ahuvia’s earlier studies were based in interpersonal loveliterature. The authors also comment that “Progress in brand love research has beenhindered by a lack of exploratory studies that guide subsequent measurement and the-ory development.”. But one of the cited papers Albert, Merunka, and Valette-Florence(2008) is indeed an exploratory study, done in similar setting as study 1 and 2. It cameup with 11 dimensions underlying Brand Love.Albert, Merunka, and Valette-Florence (2008) provide a similar type of analysis totheir Studies 1 and 2. They find that 11 dimensions underlie brand love: passion, a longduration relationship, self-congruity, dreams, memories, pleasure, attraction, uniqueness,beauty, trust (satisfaction), and a willingness to state this love. But their interviews canbe found to be superior as they do not use the word “Love” in their interview to preventany bias. Ahuvia, Batra and Bagozzi (2012) agree that prototypes are cultural modelsand can be cultural sensitive. But they ignored the findings of Albert, Merunka, andValette-Florence (2008) which was based in French settings. The difference in findingmay be due to the cultural differences between the samples.Loyalty, WOM and Resistance to negative publicity was identified as the outcomesof Brand Love by Carrol and Ahuvia (2006). The same result is uncovered by twoqualitative interviews conducted by Ahuvia, Batra and Bagozzi (2012). But the authorshave not acknowledged the earlier paper for the findings. There might have been a biasin the studies 1 and 2 to get antecedents as Loyalty, WOM and Resistance.There is an extensive literature on Brand and customer relationships available. Theauthors have not positioned their findings in relation to this literature. For examplestudies like Allen, Fournier and Miller (2008) which view consumers are active meaningmakers, paving way for co creation embraced in Brand might be a useful conceptualdomain to better explain Brand love. The author is starting from a point in the literatureand critiquing some of the earlier development on Brand love. They failed to bring acoherent definition of Brand love compatible to existing literature. It will be difficultto distinguish between the other constructs which define the Brand-Customer interface.Any construct during its development phase has to be defined and given meaning withrespect to the existing literature. Earlier studies in Brand love rooted in psychologicalliterature was able to explain the difference between Brand love and similar constructslike Brand delight and Brand liking. They also could explain the type of categories inwhich Brand love can be experienced. Distanced itself from previous literature, presentstudy by Ahuvia, Batra and Bagozzi (2012) do not have the distinctiveness or the destinedapplication of the construct.4
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