The purpose of Fournier’s article is to assess how a brand in the consumer products category exhibits the relational phenomenon since there have been several empirical studies carried out on the subject. The author of the article is in favor of there being the relationship theory in the consumer brand domain so that validity of the relationship is proven.
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The object of the study was, hence, to establish that the brand was a core partner in the consumer products relationship. However, empirical backing is required so as to justify this theory about consumer brand relationship phenomenon.
The author also went forth to bring out the kinds of relationships that exist in consumer brand partnerships, and to characterize and explain them for easier understanding. The study was needed because the marketing field had gone through a stage in which brands had lost meaning and importance and a solid conceptual foundation was needed so as to enable the development of brand relationship theory.
It is also important to recognize that the author used three case studies so as to provide data for the study. Also used was literature that evaluated the impact and characteristics of person-to-person relationships. According to the author, past studies had revealed that there was over emphasis on loyalty as the main relationship concept, and this had led brand relationship research to halt.
This highlighted the need for greater knowledge to be developed on other forms of relationships that constituted consumer brand partnerships.
Thus, the hypothesis of the author was that there had been indeed a valid relationship between consumers and the brands which could be expressed using conceptual terms since brands were feasible relationship partners that were proven through experience (Fournier 344).
From the findings of the study, it emerges that the concept of brand relationship quality is significant when evaluating the strength of the consumer brand relationship. Brand relationship quality is a tool that adequately aids at the conceptualization process of consumer brand relationship strength.
The author went further to explain how relationship strength could be conceptualized through the use of an indicator which would bring out quality and depth. The study revealed that the behaviors of brands and those of consumers were related because of the relationship that existed between the two factors.
The quality of brand relationship was found to be dependent on love/passion, self connection, commitment, interdependence, intimacy, and brand partner quality (Fournier 366). These, in turn, had an effect on the stability of the relationship since they brought about accommodation, tolerance/forgiveness, biased partner perceptions, devaluation of alternatives, and attribution biases (366).
The limitations of the study were that the study urged future researchers to further the development of theory on brand relationship, yet that, in itself, was not an assurance that the field would actually be pursued. The study lays down a good foundation but without additional research on the theories presented, then the subject will remain incomplete.
The reliance on other researchers to provide more insight on brand relationship theory is not an assurance that the correct approach will be taken during future development of the study.
A new research study related to brand relationship theory would be on how consumer behavior affected brand development after the consumer brand relationship was established. The theories established therein would help manufacturers understand the importance of customer experience and beliefs during development of brands.
Fournier, Susan. “Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research.” Journal of Consumer Research 24.4 (1998): 343-353. Print.