Chapter 8: Reminiscing on self_brand connections: differentiating experiential versus symbolic origins
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Self_brand connections (SBCs) represent the extent to which consumers have incorporated a brand into their identity. Research into SBCs has focused on the symbolic nature of brand linkages to identity, that is, how consumers form connections to brands to create, verify and bolster their identities, as well as communicate who they are to others. In this chapter, the authors explore a second way that SBCs can arise, based on personal experience with the brand. In this function, brands can link people to a past identity, remind them of important people and events from their past, or provide a sense of nostalgia. Given that special experiences are central to our identity, brand connections based on these occasions also become linked to consumers’ sense of self. The authors develop a scale to measure SBCs based on personal experiences with the brand, and propose directions for future research where there may be relative differences in many of the positive downstream consequences of interest to marketers, based on whether an SBC was formed for symbolic purposes or based on personal history with the brand.

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