ABSTRACT Purpose – The term customer intimacy has been used both in academia and business, albeit lacking clear definition and empirical validation. The authors in this paper aim to develop a measure of customer intimacy in business-to-business contexts and to assess its reliability and validity, as well as its relevance, within a nomological relationship marketing network. Design/methodology/approach – A multi-method (qualitative/exploratory and quantitative/confirmatory structural modelling), multi-staged (test, re-test) research approach is used and applied in the UK and Germany. Findings – The results show that customer intimacy is a second order construct reflected by the three formative dimensions of mutual understanding, closeness, and value perception. The results also show that customer intimacy is a relevant relationship indicator, distinct from the central relationship indicators of trust and commitment. It impacts relationship commitment levels, customer induced word-of-mouth, repurchase intentions, information disclosure, customer availability, and leads to an advisor status with the customer. Moreover, customer intimacy mediates relationship marketing's central trust commitment link. Research limitations/implications – The main limitations that should be addressed by future studies are: reliance on the key informant technique on one side of the supplier-buyer dyad; cross-sectional design. Practical implications – This study shows that achieving and managing customer intimacy is a relevant managerial goal and task for firms and shows managers how it can be measured and managed. Originality/value. – This study, for the first time, presents a measure for customer intimacy and assesses its quality and impact empirically. The measure will be of significant value in making customer-centric, relationship management approaches more accountable.
- SourceAvailable from: Susan Fournier
Article: When Good Brands Do Bad[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This paper reports results from a longitudinal field experiment examining the evolution of relationships between consumers and an on-line photography brand in response to brand personality and transgression manipulations. Development patterns differed significantly for the two personalities, whereby relationships with sincere brands deepened over time in line with friendship templates, and relationships with exciting brands evinced a trajectory characteristic of short-lived flings. However, these patterns held only when the relationship proceeded without a brand transgression. Relationships with sincere brands suffered dramatically and irrevocably in the wake of transgressions but, surprisingly, showed signs of reinvigoration for exciting brands. Character inferences concerning the quality of the brand as a relationship partner mediated the results. Findings suggest a dynamic construal of brand personality, greater attention to interrupt events including transgressions, and consideration of the relationship contracts formed at the hands of different brands.Journal of Consumer Research 11/2004; 31(June):1-16. · 3.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: etter targeting opportunities and the increasing role of information-intensive environments have created new challenges for firms in obtaining customer information. Such information can help firms increase their profits through cross-selling opportunities. However, revealing personal preferences and contact information can raise the risks for customers when dealing with a firm. Consequently, some customers trade off the benefit and risks of revealing information. As the opportunity to obtain a higher level of information increases, customers incur a higher level of risk when dealing with a firm. This increases the firm's incentive to commit on a cross- selling level. By such a commitment, a firm can obtain customer intimacy and benefit from detailed customer information. As a result, profits increase while prices decrease. Thus, legal regulations that explicitly require firms to spell out the extent of cross-selling may actually improve the profits of the firm.Management Science. 01/2005; 51:1007-1012.