Byline: Shamaila Gull, Syed Salman Hassan, Sania Manzoor and Zubair Shafiq
In the previous decade, researchers have been working considerably on the relationship building between brands and the consumers(Aaker, Fournier and Brasel 2004); (Chaplin and John 2005); (J. E. Escalas 2004). What makes consumers to recall brands? How an experience is being made memorable for the consumers? (Vieira 2010) What strategies make a brand to capture share of mind and share of heart? These questions are important in a sense that they would help marketers and managers to create strong brands (Vieira 2010). The answers to these questions generate the concept of BESC. BESC is relatively a new conception in the world of marketing and the branding prose (Sprott, Czellar and Spangenberg 2009). The major concept which is considered as a base in this research is SBC.
The researchers have explored the connections between the consumers and their brands and found that SBCs existed and lead to positive attitudes toward brands(Escalas and Bettman 2003, J. E. Escalas 2004, Escalas and Bettman 2005). Former researches mainly considered the connection and association between the self-concept of a consumer and a specific brand (Sprott, Czellar and Spangenberg 2009). Comparatively, recent studies demonstrate that BESC is a generalized individual differencewhich proposes a phenomenon of general engagement of a consumer with many brands. These studies have examined the importance of BESC and have analyzed that how consumers tend to consider various brands as fraction of their selves(Sprott, Czellar and Spangenberg 2009, Vieira 2010).These two studies have been considered as a support for this research.
The current research is about exploring BESC and analyzing this construct with other major phenomena of marketing such as, loyalty intentions, behavioral intentions, switching costs and satisfaction. It also demonstrates the demographics effects on BESC and measurement of BESC with respect to the demographical factorslike age, gender, marital status and household income.
Scholars have been exploring the relationship of consumers with their brands and they have found that SBC does exist and it can lead to the favorable attitudes toward those particular brands (J. E. Escalas 2004). The terms SBC and self-brand association are used interchangeably (Sprott, Czellar and Spangenberg 2009). SBC measures the extent to which the consumer connects the perceived brand meaning to the self-concept (Moore and Homer 2007). SBC may be formed by processing the experiences one had with a specific brand (J. E. Escalas 2004). The ultimate impact of a brand depends on quality of the experiences consumers may have with that brand and to what level these experiences can create connections within consumers' mind (Fournier 1998). Consumers may develop a personal connection to a brand if a specific brand is relevant and associated to the self-concept (J. E. Escalas 2004).
BESC can be defined as an individual differential measure that represents the consumers' tendency to involvethe brands that are important to them as part of their self-concept (Sprott, Czellar and Spangenberg 2009). It is a generalized understanding of brands with respect to the self and the consumers vary on this view concerning the importance of brands near them. Normally, it is acknowledged that consumers use different brands to represent a desired self-image to present this image to other people and to themselves as well (Belk 1988). The idea of brand engagement refers to how consumers express themselves by using the brands which they consider important. Consumers try to show the self to others through the brands they select (Elliot 2004). Consumers tell about themselves to other people by using different brands that they chose for themselves as they feel those brands can reflect their personality.
This reflection of a personality helps consumer relate their "self-concept" to those particular brands. When consumers start relating the brands to themselves and they view those brand relevant to their lives, a connection is a bridge between the consumers and those brands (Fournier 1998); (Uncles 2008). It describes that how consumers relate themselves to particular brands and build connection to those brands. However, the tendency of incorporating multiple brands into one's self concept varies from consumer to consumer, situation to situation.
SBC and BESC
BESC is a more comprehensive and generalized view of consumer-brand linkage as multiple brands are incorporated in a consumer's self-concept. BESC is particularly engaging one's self with more than one brands; whereas,the possessions might includethe unbranded products or services. Additionally, the importance that consumers attach to possessions might not be related to the self(Sprott, Czellar and Spangenberg 2009). Consumers are connected to their brands and this SBC can lead to the favorable brand attitudes (J. E. Escalas 2004). SBC suggests the connection with a specific brand whereas, BESC construct is the measure of association with various brands that are incorporated in a consumer's self-concept (Vieira 2010)at one point in time.According to Vieira, consumersassociate their self-image with a particular brand in order to present themselves to other people. They may perhaps extend and associate their self-image to other important brands as well.
Consequently, consumers do not represent themselves by a single specific brand. Therefore, instead of using just Nike products to depict an image to run faster, a consumer might use Asics and Adidas as well, while showing the priority for different brands that are important to that consumer.
BESC and Attitude
In a previous experiment, SBC was related positively to favorable attitudes towards the brand and to more likelihood of purchase(J. E. Escalas...