Exploring social motivations for brand loyalty: Conformity versus escapism

Research paper by Lauren I Labrecque, Anjala S Krishen, Stephan Grzeskowiak

Indexed on: 18 Mar '11Published on: 18 Mar '11Published in: Journal of Brand Management


We posit and show that some consumers may remain brand loyal because of their motivation to conform; in contrast, others may do so because of their motivation to break away. Furthermore, we identify two central moderating variables – product knowledge and self-image congruence – that determine how conformity or escapism motivation affects brand loyalty. We show that these common communication goals play an asymmetric role for each motive. In particular, self-image congruence is found to enhance brand loyalty for consumers who are motivated to conform, but not for those who are driven to escape. Alternatively, product knowledge is found to enhance brand loyalty for escapism-motivated consumers, but inhibits brand loyalty for consumers who are bound to conform. Given that both moderators are central to most brand-related marketing communication, the insights of this study will help brand managers better understand the impact of communication goals on brand loyalty and ultimately marketing performance.