Marketing managers want consumers to form strong connections with their brands. This focus dominates brand management by seeking to move consumers from weak or indifferent relationships to stronger ones where the consumer is more attached, connected to, or in love with a brand. However, in reality such relationships are rare and many consumers are relationship-averse or content with the status quo. This article suggests there is value in embracing the relationship status quo. This research is the first to examine how marketers can more effectively manage existing brand relationships by focusing on the psychological distance between consumers and brands. Specifically, the authors demonstrate a congruency effect that arises when marketing communications are managed to match psychologically close brands with concrete language and psychologically distant brands with abstract language. Through such matching, results show that consumer spending increases, even for brands that are relatively distant to consumers.
Full Journal of Marketing article: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022242920984492
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