Soulmates, best friends, and casual buddies: The relationship of U.S. college students to retailer brands

Hye Young Kim, Yoo Jin Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

While the idea of brand relationships is a promising new way of thinking about consumer behavior, there has been a lack of reflection regarding its feasibility to accurately represent the way consumers interact with retailer brands. This study examines college students' relationships with retailer brands based on three interpersonal relationship metaphors (i.e., soulmates, best friends, and casual buddies). Forty five college students participated in the study. Participants were asked to think of retailer brands as "people" with actual thoughts, feelings, and actions. Next, they were asked to write about their relationship with a specific retailer brand. A content analysis was conducted. Findings suggest that even though college students' relationships with retailer brands do not necessarily share the same richness and depth as their relationships with human partners, they sometimes do behave with retailer brands as if they have a relationship with them. Implications are discussed with suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalClothing and Textiles Research Journal
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • brand relationship
  • loyalty
  • relationship marketing
  • retailer brand

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