Attachment, identification, and loyalty: Examining mediating mechanisms across brand and brand community contexts

Hsiu Yu Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Emotional attachment and identification with a brand are essential parts of a consumer's long-term relationship with a company. Through cultivating brand communities, firms can provide an effective platform for developing brand loyalty. Prior research has found that the fulfillment of individuals' inner needs and motivations are antecedents to brand community attachment, but the process of how these antecedents are translated into affective ties with the brand and brand community remains unexplored. Therefore, the author draws from concepts within the brand self-congruence and authentic self-expression literatures in order to examine how brand attachment and brand community identification are central to consumer-brand and member-community relationship dynamics. The author proposes that there are two mediating mechanisms that explain internalization and socialization dynamics: need fulfillment with brand attachment, and supporting values with community identification, respectively. Moreover, drawing from the similarity-attraction and affective self-affinity perspectives, the author proposes the existence of a transforming mediator that activates community identification through brand attachment. Finally, the author examines how these dynamics, in turn, influence consumers' loyalty behaviors. The author adopts a multi-phase research design with a sample of 280 paired responses drawn from the membership of nine different car clubs. Current research results show that brand self-congruence and authentic self-expression mediate brand attachment and community identification processes. Furthermore, similarity of perceptions among brand, community, and other members (fully) mediates the relationship between brand attachment and community identification. These findings deepen the branding literature in regard to individuals' socialization processes in brand community settings, internalization processes in brand consumption contexts, and the transforming process that catalyzes personal brand admiration into collective group identification across brand and community domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-614
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • authentic self-expression
  • brand attachment
  • brand community identification
  • brand community similarity
  • self-congruence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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