The rosy side and the blue side of emotional brand attachment

Hsiu Yu Hung*, Hao Te Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the rosy side (positive emotion) and the blue side (negative emotion) of brand attachment in consumer–brand relationships and their distinct motivational triggers. Adopting attachment theory, self-determination theory, and the relationship investment model, this paper provides a richer understanding of the positivity and negativity of emotional brand attachment in terms of consequential branding outcomes. Two hierarchical constructs—autonomous and controlled motivations—are proposed and examined using partial least squares path modelling. Data were collected through a 3-stage survey to gain 507 samples of customers' brand attachments to 9 international car brands. This research reveals that customers' positive-side (rosy-side) emotional brand attachments are driven by autonomous motivations including satisfying the intrinsic motivation of pursuing pleasure and fulfilling needs for self-determination and self-congruence in the car brand consumption context. Customers' negative-side (blue-side) emotional brand attachment reflects feelings of separation distress, anxiety, and sadness that are triggered by their controlled motivations in car brand consumption contexts. The results indicate that positive emotions (the rosy side) of brand attachment are a more effective predictor of brand repurchasing intentions and word-of-mouth behaviours than are negative emotions (the blue side) of brand attachment. This study applies Deci and Ryan's autonomous and controlled motivations to explain the positivity and negativity of consumers' emotional brand attachment in brand–consumer relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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