For a long time, I've thought that advertising can evoke the oxytocin response, making us feel bonded to products or companies. A new USC study shows that we do feel emotional attachment to brands.
The study shows that brand attachment can be strong enough to induce separation anxiety if our favorite product is replaced.
The study’s key findings include:
•The more strongly a consumer’s attachment to a brand, the more willing they are to forsake personal resources to maintain an ongoing relationship with the brand. They are willing to engage in difficult behaviors — “those that require investments of time, money and energy, so as to maintain or deepen a brand relationship.”
•Highly attached consumers are more motivated to devote their own resources in the process of self-expansion, including paying more, defending the brand, derogating alternatives, and devoting more time to the brand through brand communities and brand promotion through social media.
•Attachment represented by both brand-self-connection and prominence is a significantly better predictor than brand attitude strength of actual behaviors.
The study I'd like to see: Measuring subjects' oxytocin levels as they gaze as ads and logos.
The current study from USC's Marshall School of Business:
“Brand Attachment and Brand Attitude Strength: Conceptual and Empirical Differentiation of Two Critical Brand Equity Drivers,” a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Marketing, is co-authored by USC Marshall’s C. Whan Park, Joseph A. DeBell Professor of Marketing; Deborah J. MacInnis, Vice Dean of Research and Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Business Administration; and Joseph Priester, Associate Professor of Marketing; along with Andreas B. Eisingerich, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Imperial College (London) Business School; and Dawn Iacobucci, E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Marketing, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University