Conference PaperPDF Available

All you need is love: Assessing consumers' brand love

252 American Marketing Association / Summer 2009
Hans H. Bauer, University of Mannheim, Germany
Daniel Heinrich, University of Mannheim, Germany
Carmen-Maria Albrecht, University of Mannheim, Germany
Starbucks Coffee, Harley-Davidson, and Manolo
Blahnik are examples of brands that manage to create and
maintain deeply rooted emotional bonds with their cus-
tomers. Nowadays consumers rashly talk about a love-
relationship with their brands. However, it has to be asked
whether such a relationship is love actually?
Marketers have already picked up the idea of beloved
brands and are using emotionally laden advertising mes-
sages to create consumers’ love for brands. This can,
amongst others, be recognized by slogans like “Mini – Is
it Love?” or “McDonalds – I’m lovin’ it.” In management-
oriented literature, there are some hints that the emotion of
love plays a major role for creating a strong bond between
a consumer and a brand. Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin
Roberts (2005), for instance, has developed the idea of
“lovemarks.” In academic research, the concept of con-
sumers’ brand love has lately been introduced into mar-
keting literature (e.g., Ahuvia 1993; Ji 2002; Whang et al.
2004; Carroll and Ahuvia 2006). Nevertheless, a solid
understanding and valid measurement scale is still miss-
ing. The study intends to contribute to fill this research gap
by investigating the concept of brand love.
In detail, the main objective of this work is to concep-
tualize and operationalize the construct of consumers’
brand love by drawing on the concept of love from
interpersonal psychology as well as on studies carried out
in the consumer-object context (e.g., Belk 1988, 2004;
Shimp and Madden 1988; Ball and Tasaki 1992; Richins
1997; Thomson, MacInnis, and Park 2005). In order to
emphasize the relevance of consumers’ brand love to
practitioners, we link brand love to two marketing-related
variables, namely the willingness to pay a price premium
and the willingness to forgive.
Based on a literature review and several in-depth
interviews, the current study develops and validates a
scale for measuring consumers’ brand love. Brand love is
conceptualized analogously to Sternberg’s (1986) inter-
personal Triangular Theory of Love and can therefore be
understood as a consumer’s love relationship to a brand
that can be characterized by the interplay of intimacy,
passion, and commitment to that brand. Furthermore a test
for nomological validity of the developed measurement
scale of brand love is conducted. The second objective is
to explore its predictive validity, showing that variations
in brand love scores correspond to outcome measures of
consumer behavior.
The research design of study 1 was based on an online
questionnaire. For measuring brand intimacy, brand pas-
sion, and brand commitment scales were developed by
drawing on items used in scales in the interpersonal or
psychological context on the one hand and by drawing on
the results of qualitative in-depth-interviews with con-
sumers on the other hand. The final pool of measurement
items contains nine questions. The result of the scale
development allows the conclusion that consumers’ brand
love can be conceptualized as a second-order construct.
The three first-order factors brand intimacy, brand com-
mitment, and brand passion are reflecting the higher order
construct brand love.
In study 2 the proposed relationships regarding the
positive influence of brand love on key behavioral vari-
ables were tested in a structural equation model. The
results offered evidence of predictive validity, showing
that brand love has strong positive effects on consumers’
willingness to pay a price premium and that consumers
turn a blind eye to the beloved brand when the brand “pulls
a boner.” Thus, our findings underpin the relevance of
brand love even for marketers.
Ahuvia, Aaron C. (1993), “I Love It! – Towards a Unify-
ing Theory of Love across Diverse Love Objects,”
doctoral dissertation, Evanston.
Ball, Dwayne A. and Lori H. Tasaki (1992), “The Role
and Measurement of Attachment in Consumer Be-
havior,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 1 (2),
Belk, Russell W. (1988), “Possessions and the Extended
Self,” Journal of Consumer Research, 15 (2), 139–
Carroll, Barbara and Aaron Ahuvia (2006), “Some Ante-
cedents and Outcomes of Brand Love,” Marketing
Letters, 17 (2), 79–89.
Ji, Mindy F. (2002), “Children’s Relationships with
American Marketing Association / Summer 2009 253
Brands: ‘True Love’ or ‘One-Night’ Stand?” Psy-
chology & Marketing, 19 (4), 369–87.
Richins, Marsha L. (1997), “Measuring Emotions in the
Consumption Experience,” Journal of Consumer Re-
search, 24 ( 2 ), 127–46.
Roberts, Kevin (2005), Lovemarks: The Future Beyond
Brands. New York: Powerhouse Books.
Shimp, Terence A. and Thomas J. Madden (1988), “Con-
sumer-Object Relations: A Conceptual Framework
Based Analogously on Sternberg’s Triangular Theory
of Love,” Advances in Consumer Research, 15 (1),
Sternberg, Robert J. (1986), “A Triangular Theory of
Love,” Psychological Review, 93 (2), 119–35.
Thomson, Matthew, Deborah J. MacInnis, and C. Whan
Park (2005), “The Ties That Bind: Measuring the
Strength of Consumers’ Emotional Attachments to
Brands,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15 (1),
Whang, Yun-Oh, Jeff Allen, Niquelle Sahoury, and Haitao
Zhang (2004), “Falling in Love with a Product: The
Structure of a romantic Consumer-Product Relation-
ship,” Advances in Consumer Research, 31 (1), 320–
For further information contact:
Daniel Heinrich
University of Mannheim
L 5, 1
Mannheim, 68131
Phone: +49.621.181.1547
Fax: +49.621.181.1571
... Lovemarks (Roberts, 2005) sets the tone for both practitioners and academics. Bauer et al. (2009) document the increasing application of the concept in advertising. In academic research, the focus is largely on developing the brand love construct (Carroll and Ahuvia, 2006;Gumparthi and Patra, 2020;Hegner et al., 2017). ...
Purpose Negative online consumer reviews represent different forms of injustice. The effect of different types of injustice experienced in a service encounter on a brand is unknown. This study aims to investigate the effect and cause of different forms of injustice on brand love. It also explores which type of responses are more effective to mitigate their damaging effect. Design/methodology/approach One text mining, using SAS enterprise miner, and three experimental studies were conducted. ANOVA and mediation and moderation analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses. Findings Negative reviews specific to procedural injustice are more damaging than reviews specific to distributive or interactional injustice experienced in a service encounter. The underlying reason behind this differential effect is that perceived procedural injustice influences consumers more to punish the brand, resulting in a greater negative effect on brand love. To counter the damage, a sympathetic, rather than empathetic, brand response is more effective. Originality/value This study contributes to justice theory and brand love literature by providing evidence that procedural injustice triggers the highest level of willingness to punish and thus the lowest level of brand love. Consequently, willingness to punish, rather than emotion, is found to be the underlying reason behind procedural injustice having the strongest negative effect on brand love.
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This study uses a multi-method approach to examine antecedents of destination advocacy. Data were collected from 549 respondents via Amazon MTurk. A symmetrical analysis based on partial least squares-structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) and asymmetrical analysis based on fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis explore how combinations of various antecedents, including hospitality, perceived authenticity, destination experience quality, and destination love lead to high and low levels of destination advocacy. Findings indicate that hospitality and authenticity significantly impact destination experience quality. Moreover, destination experience quality and destination love have a significant impact on destination advocacy. Finally, fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) results reveal that a high level of hospitality and destination quality leads to destination advocacy.
... Brand intimacy, brand passion, and brand commitment are the three significant components of brand love, which correlate to the affective, conative, and cognitive aspects of consumer-brand relationships, respectively. Robert [29] expresses his keen interest in this field in his book Lovemarks, and also Bauer, Heinrich, and Albrecht [30], which show how the concept of brand love is widely used in advertising. Besides that, a few efforts also focus on establishing the dimensions and contents of brand love [25,26,[31][32][33]. ...
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... Instead, managers should implement integrated marketing activities to make the brand of the business loved by customers (Castaño & Eugenia Perez, 2014;Wallace, Buil, & Chernatony, 2014). Because brand love is related to desired organizational outcomes such as positive customer word-of-mouth (Batra, Ahuvia, & Bagozzi, 2012), which increases brand loyalty (Carroll & Ahuvia, 2006), or willingness to pay a premium price (Thomson, Maclnnis, & Park, 2005;Bauer, Heinrich, & Albrecht, 2009). Furthermore, Verma (2021) indicated that the relationship has a positive impact on brand love for overall brand equity as well as behavioral intention. ...
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... This study has shown that brand love has a positive eff ect on brand forgiveness. This fi nding has supported Bauer et al. (2009) andHegner et al. (2017) and showed that consumers are more likely to ignore a brand's mistakes if they have cognitive solid and aff ective bonds with brands. Besides, Palazon et al. (2017) have posited that brand love positively infl uences brand equity. ...
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Presents a triangular theory of love, which deals both with the nature of love and with loves in different kinds of relationships. It is suggested that there are 3 components: (a) intimacy encompassing the feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness experienced in loving relationships; (b) passion encompassing the drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, and sexual consummation; and (c) decision/commitment encompassing, in the short term, the decision that one loves another, and in the long term, the commitment to maintain that love. The amount of love one experiences depends on the absolute strength of the 3 components, and the kind of love one experiences depends on their strengths relative to each other. The components interact with each other and with the actions that they produce and that produce them so as to form a number of different kinds of loving experiences. The triangular theory of love subsumes other theories and can account for a number of empirical findings in the research literature, as well as for a number of experiences with which many are familiar firsthand. It is proposed that the triangular theory provides a comprehensive basis for understanding many aspects of the love that underlies close relationships. (53 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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