Consumers' self-congruence with a 'Liked' brand: cognitive network influence and brand outcomes

Wallace, Elaine
Buil, Isabel
de Chernatony, Leslie
Wallace, Elaine, Buil, Isabel, & Chernatony, Leslie de. (2017). Consumers’ self-congruence with a “Liked” brand: Cognitive network influence and brand outcomes. European Journal of Marketing, 51(2), 367-390. doi: doi:10.1108/EJM-07-2015-0442
Purpose Brand “Likes” on Facebook facilitate self-expression, forming part of consumers’ virtual selves. Yet, consumers’ brand “Likes” may bear little resemblance to their material realities. This paper aims to test similarities of brand image with self-image for Facebook “Likes” to determine whether self-congruence with a “Liked” brand leads to positive offline brand outcomes. It also investigates whether consumers’ perceptions about their Facebook social relations influence self-congruent brand “Likes”. Design/methodology/approach A large-scale survey was conducted of regular Facebook users who “Liked” brands. Data from 438 respondents was analysed and hypotheses tested using structural equation modeling. Findings Empirical results show that the perceived self-congruence with a “Liked” brand increases with social tie strength. Perceived social tie strength is informed by perceived attitude homophily. When the perceived self-congruence with a “Liked” brand is higher, brand love and word of mouth (WOM) are enhanced. Consumers also have greater brand loyalty and offer more WOM when brands are loved. Research limitations/implications Findings demonstrate the influence of consumers’ cognitive network on “Likes” and brand outcomes. Further replication would enhance generalisability. Future research should use a wider sample and investigate other variables. Practical implications Findings support managers seeking to grow and analyse Facebook “Likes” by providing insights into brand loyalty, brand love and WOM for “Liked” brands. Originality/value The paper addresses the dearth of research exploring how consumers’ perceptions of their Facebook network influence their online brand behaviour and how perceived self-congruence with a “Liked” brand relates to brand outcomes.
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland