Products and Brands

When Fournier says that consumers have relationship with brands there is strong support for her sentiments. Fournier implies that customers are in most cases strongly attached to a particular brand and this draws the issue of brands having a relationship. According to Kapferer (2004) a brand is a relationship because brands are often at the crux of transactions and exchanges between people. The aspect of relationship between brands and customers defines the mode of conduct that most identifies the brand. Kapferer (2004) continues to say that this has a number of implications for the way the brand acts, delivers services or satisfies its customers.

Besides this, McNally & Speak (2003) says that when it comes to building a relationship with a brand the goal is the same as positioning and managing your brand for long term health and profitability. The relationship actually results from the notion of creating and reinforcing a particular impression in the mind of an individual. This relationship results from who an individual is, his or her values and what makes the brand valuable to him. McNally & Speak (2003) established that a branded relationship provides individuals with emotional payoff.

It has been established that defining personal brand dimensions and refining them into a personal brand platform involves identifying the roles, standards, and style that go into each relationship people have with the brands (McNally & Speak, 2003). The relationship that exists between people and brands is based on the fact that customers can compare brand standards and brand style characteristics to the list of their personal values. This means that once customer establishes their brand characteristics they develop connection with these brands.

According to Heding, Knudtzen & Bjerre (2009) the management of a brand relationship is a dynamic process as customer needs keep changing. The real customer brand relationship reflects the prerequisites of the relational approach in the sense that the brand consumer exchange is seen as a dynamic process. . Heding, Knudtzen & Bjerre (2009) continues to say that “the relational approach between brands and customer has some very profound consequences for the future development of the scientific discipline of brand management” (p. 176). In this context people emphasize that understanding of the life worlds of consumers rather than measuring the mere brand consumer transactions is vital is future developments of customer brand relationship.

In their further studies Heding, Knudtzen & Bjerre (2009) said that consumer brand relationship is always purposeful and it is engaged as meaning laden resources which help people to live their lives. We can therefore articulate that consumers play active roles as meaning makers in the brand relationship and therefore they mutate and adapt brand meanings to fit into their life projects and tasks. Heding, Knudtzen & Bjerre (2009) also noted that significant brand relationship with consumers is based on their involvement levels and on the significance of the brand meanings in the person’s life. In this context it was noted that even mundane goods could foster strong relationships provided their meanings resonated in their personal and cultural world.

Brand relationships can be indicated as strong versus weak, hierarchical versus egalitarian, formal versus informal, positive versus negative. Heding, Knudtzen & Bjerre (2009) noted that strong relationships can be qualified beyond loyalty and affect using the brand relationship quality scale and its added facets of self connection, socio cultural connection, interdependence, partner role quality and intimacy. On the other hand Sartain & Schumann (2006) indicated that “brand is only as strong as the emotions it generates and therefore the emotional connection with the brand is the foundation for a relationship with that brand” (p. 12).

Therefore like any relationship, this connection has many dimensions. The relationship here implies how a brand engages consumers on the level of senses and emotions besides how a brand comes to life for people and forges a deeper lasting connection (Sartain & Schumann, 2006). Sometimes brands become part of people’s lives. This magical connection is what makes a consumer to establish a relationship with a specific brand. Sartain & Schumann (2006) says that “the essence of creating a relationship with a brand culminates from every experience a consumer has with a certain brand” (p. 15).