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Journal of Consumer Marketing

The effects of corporate brand attributes on attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty
Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

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Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova, (2007),"The effects of corporate brand attributes on attitudinal and behavioural consumer
loyalty", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 24 Iss 7 pp. 395 - 405
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Ian Phau, Min Teah, Jing Theng So, Andrew Grant Parsons, Sheau-Fen Yap, (2013),"Corporate branding, emotional attachment
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Journal, Vol. 17 Iss 4 pp. 403-423 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-03-2013-0032
Mark D. Uncles, Grahame R. Dowling, Kathy Hammond, (2003),"Customer loyalty and customer loyalty programs", Journal of
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The effects of corporate brand attributes on


attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty
Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Downloaded by SELCUK UNIVERSITY At 07:03 06 February 2015 (PT)

Sydney Business School, Sydney, Australia


Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this research is to investigate the influence of the corporate brand on attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty. This
paper empirically demonstrates a significant relationship between consumer-perceived corporate brand and consumer attitudinal and behavioural
loyalty.
Design/methodology/approach The research is based on a sample of 285 consumers of an automobile manufacturer in Australia. Cronbach alpha
and Structural Equation Modelling were used to establish psychometric properties of the corporate brand constructs.
Findings This paper establishes two groups of corporate brand attributes: corporate and marketing-level. Corporate-level dimensions include
corporate activities, corporate associations, organizational values, and corporate personality. Marketing-level dimensions comprise functional,
emotional and symbolic brand benefits. The results reveal that corporate values, corporate brand personality and functional consumer benefits are the
most critical and consistent predictors of both attitudinal and behavioural loyalty.
Practical implications Through the comprehensive measurement of the corporate brand impact on both attitudinal and behavioural loyalty, this
paper offers insights for designing corporate branding strategies and generating consumer loyalty.
Originality/value This paper provides empirical validation of the relationship between consumer corporate brand perceptions and consumer loyalty
and demonstrates that the influence of each particular corporate brand attribute may be different.
Keywords Corporate branding, Customer loyalty, Consumer durables, Australia
Paper type Research paper

the aged population, will lead to people to be less inclined to


use and replace vehicles. In addition, as consumers are
becoming more discerning and more educated, they will need
a stronger justification for purchasing a car. This puts extra
pressure on automobile manufacturers to be innovative not
only in product development but also in terms of brand
communication. One way to compete in volatile markets and
increasing product parity is to adopt a corporate branding
strategy. Corporate branding represents an opportunity for
organizations to enhance and sustain their distinctiveness
through linking corporate characteristics to products and
services, thereby, allowing unique synergies to be developed.
Despite the importance of corporate branding, technology
companies not very often have corporate brand strategy and
largely rely on the assumption that constant product
improvement will sell itself (Tickle et al., 2003). As
Zambuni (1997, p. 4) observes, high-tech branding is: an
area that is less well understood than fast-moving consumer
goods or services branding. Consistent with this point,
Mazur (1999, p. 22), notes that a majority of high-tech
companies have been backwards about branding.
Therefore, in addressing some of these limitations, there is a
potential for organizations to determine brand attributes that
impact most on consumer loyalty.
Although there is recognition of the importance of strong
corporate brands to organizations among both practitioners
and academics, little is known about the impact of the effects
of corporate brands on consumer perceptions and consumer
loyalty. Whilst the existing frameworks are helpful for a
general understanding of the multidimensional nature of
consumer brands (Keller, 2003) and corporate brands (Urde,
2003), an important area that is yet to be addressed is the
relationship between corporate brand and consumer
behaviour. As Dacin and Brown (2006) point out, each
disciplinary line of branding has pursued its respective focus,

An executive summary for managers and executive


readers can be found at the end of this article.

Introduction
In the era of rapid advances of technology and product parity,
the range of options available to organizations to attract
consumers is decreasing. In the face of the fierce competition,
companies recognize a need for a value-adding strategy
(Normann and Ramirez, 1994). Intangibles such as corporate
credibility, integrity and corporate expertise increasingly
influence consumer responses towards brands (Merrilees
and Fry, 2002). As a result, a considerable amount of effort
within contemporary organizations is concerned with strategic
positioning in relation to various consumer groups (Dacin and
Brown, 2006).
Consumers are becoming increasingly fickle and savvy. For
organizations this implies placing more emphasis on the
individual consumer needs and expectations as well as heavily
investing in advertising (Lloyd, 2004). The determinants of
consumer demand in the automotive industry include vehicle
prices, exchange rates, incomes, and vehicle innovation and
consumer demography (IBISWorld, 2005). According to the
IBISWorld (2005) industry report Motor Vehicle
Manufacturing in Australia, the latter factor, namely,
slowing population growth and the increasing proportion of
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Journal of Consumer Marketing


24/7 (2007) 395 405
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 0736-3761]
[DOI 10.1108/07363760710834816]

395

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The effects of corporate brand attributes

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

and seldom has the existing research been integrative. Just


recently have researchers began to investigate the relationship
between the corporate brand and consumer behaviours (see
Da Silva and Syed Alwi, 2006; Souiden et al., 2006).
However, these attempts only partially examine the impact of
the corporate brand on consumer loyalty. For example,
Souiden et al. (2006) found the effects of corporate image on
consumer product evaluations. In addition, the extant studies
often reduce the corporate brand to a single dimension (i.e.
corporate personality) (see Davies and Chun, 2002).
However, because corporate branding blends within
organizational and marketing thinking (Knox and Bickerton,
2003), this paper investigates the effects on loyalty of both
corporate and marketing-level attributes. In particular, the
objectives of this paper are to:
1 establish psychometric properties of the corporate brand
attributes;
2 examine the relationship between corporate brand
attributes and consumer loyalty; and
3 ascertain the most influential dimensions of the corporate
brand on consumer loyalty.

components of brand loyalty (Gremler and Brown, 1998;


Kumar and Shah, 2004; Traylor, 1981). This type of loyalty
represents a more long-term consumer commitment to an
organization (Shankar et al., 2000) and indicates a propensity
of favorable word of mouth (Reichheld, 2003). However, for
any organization consumer commitment at the affective and
cognitive levels become meaningful when being translated
into actual purchases. Therefore, to reveal the potential for
organizations to determine and manage the linkages between
consumer perceptions and consumer loyalty, the examination
of both attitudinal and behavioural loyalty is undertaken.
The empirical support into the relationship between
corporate brand and consumer loyalty has been scarce. One
such study by Hsieh et al. (2004) suggests that perceptions of
umbrella brands have major effects on brand purchase
behaviour. However, a single, behavioural component of
consumer loyalty has been the focus of their study. Although
understanding consumer brand purchase behaviour is
paramount, the behavioural view alone is insufficient in
explaining the process of loyalty development (Dick and Basu,
1994). The fact that organizations are increasingly shifting to
differentiate themselves through the associations, values and
emotions symbolized by the whole corporation (Hatch and
Schultz, 2003) partially explains the importance of what
consumers know and think of an organization. Notably, in
recent years, the Australian automobile manufacturers are
increasingly embracing event-marketing to communicate with
their existing and potential consumers. In addition, little
research has considered various sources of corporate brand
image in one framework (see Souiden et al., 2006). However,
a comprehensive measurement framework enhances the
validity and practical utility of consumer perceptions Hsieh
et al.s (2004) and thus, was adopted in this paper. The
following proposition is formulated to examine the role that
corporate brand attributes play in consumer brand loyalty:
P.
Corporate brand attributes will have a direct influence
on attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty.

The paper is constructed in the following way. Firstly, a


review of the pertinent literature is provided and research
hypotheses are postulated. Methodology and procedures of
establishing construct reliability and validity, and hypotheses
testing are then presented. This is followed by a discussion of
the corporate brand effects on consumer loyalty. Academic
and managerial implications are also provided. The paper is
concluded with limitations and suggestions for future
research.

Theoretical background and proposition


Corporate branding has been fairly new to both marketing
(Macrae, 1999; Saunders and Guoqun, 1997) and
organizational literature (Argenti and Druckenmiller, 2004;
Balmer, 2001a, 2001b; Balmer and Gray, 2003). Being at the
crossroads of these disciplines, corporate branding blends the
thinking from marketing and organizational theories (Knox
and Bickerton, 2003). Therefore, managing the corporate
brand involves diverse departments and implies a broader,
organization-wide perspective. The organization-wide or pancompany marketing (Knox et al., 1999) changes corporate
branding from a marketing-communication activity into a
strategic framework, which allows companies to obtain a
clearer sense of direction and provides a basis for a
competitive advantage (Schultz and de Chernatony, 2002).
Corporate branding brings a substantial advantage to
organizations in terms of economies of scale in marketing
and lower total costs of advertising and promotion (Rao et al.,
2004). At the consumer level, corporate brands help
organizations to avoid brand confusion (Souiden et al., 2006).
The value of consumer loyalty for organizations is widely
discussed in the literature. Loyal consumers contribute to a
firms performance through making additional purchases such
as servicing and accessories (Huber and Hermann, 2001).
Lower costs of serving loyal consumers, lower consumer price
sensitivity and favorable word of mouth are among numerous
reasons for building consumer loyalty. Traditionally,
consumer loyalty has been defined in terms of multiple
aspects of purchase behaviour (Ehrenberg, 1988; DuWors
and Haines, 1990). Another important aspect of consumer
loyalty is loyalty at the level of attitudes. Attitudinal loyalty
can be defined as capturing the affective and cognitive

In conceptualizing the corporate brand construct, the author


builds on Kellers (2003) and Urdes (2003) conceptual
frameworks that propose multiple attributes within the
corporate brand. The following section presents a discussion
on how corporate brand perceptions can influence consumer
loyalty. From these five hypotheses concerning corporate and
marketing-level attributes are developed and subsequently
tested.

The hypothesis development


It has been shown that corporate image has a positive impact
on consumer loyalty (Andreassen and Lindestad, 1998; Aydin
and Ozer, 2005; Dick and Basu, 1994; Ngueyen and Leblanc,
2001). The results of Nguyen and Leblancs (2001) study
revealed that the degree of consumer loyalty has a tendency to
be higher when consumer perceptions of an organization are
strongly favorable. Dick and Basu (1994) found that a
favorable image could influence repeat consumer patronage.
Souiden et al.s (2006) findings determine that corporate
reputation was highly considered by consumers in their
evaluations of durable products such as automobiles.
However, whilst corporate charisma can affect some
consumers behaviour towards companies and brands,
others may stay completely indifferent (Souiden et al.,
2006). This is demonstrated by the diversity in results of
the effects of corporate image and reputation on consumers.
396

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The effects of corporate brand attributes

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

For example, while Aydin and Ozer (2005) found a positive


influence of corporate image on consumer loyalty, this
relationship was not significant. More specifically, Sen and
Bhattacharaya (2001) found that some initiatives aimed at
enhancing corporate image and reputation like corporate
social responsibility CSR can, under certain conditions,
decrease consumers intentions to buy a companys products.
Ricks (2005) found that traditional philanthropy may be
effective for corporate or brand image objectives, but
ineffective for brand evaluation and purchase objectives.
Interestingly, more recent research by Sen et al. (2006) shows
that those consumers who were aware of corporate social
initiatives has significantly more favorable views of the given
organization in terms of their associations, attitudes, and
behavioural intentions. Therefore, it is postulated:
H1a. Corporate activities and will have a direct influence on
attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty.
H1b. Corporate associations will have a direct influence on
attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty.

particular, in the automotive industry Duarte and Davies


(2002) measured Ford brand image using the Corporate
Personality Scale. However, considering only brand
personality in this context highlights this as a narrow view
on measurement of corporate brand image. Certainly,
corporate brand personality is a useful concept, but being
multidimensional, corporate brand encompasses dimensions
beyond personality alone (Azoulay and Kapferer, 2003). As
Aaker (1996, p. 113) maintains: using personality as a
general indicator of brand strength will be a distortion for
some brands particularly those, that are positioned with
respect to functional advantages and value. Thus, brand
personality was deemed important to include along with other
components comprising the corporate brand. Therefore, it is
postulated:
H1d. Corporate personality will have a direct influence on
attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty.
For complex durable consumer goods such as cars, the
purchase of which requires a high-involvement decision
(Brucks et al., 2000), assessment of multidimensional
consumer experience was deemed appropriate. Whilst
functional product utility involves for consumers
performance, safety and quality attributes, emotional and
symbolic brand values communicate to the consumer a variety
of meanings (e.g. joy of ownership, individuality, prestige).
Results of Brucks et al.s (2000) study have shown that
consumers use brand names in order to evaluate the prestige
of brands.
The importance of understanding the determinants of
consumer loyalty is generally well acknowledged and
researched in the marketing literature (Ro et al., 2001;
Romaniuk and Sharp, 2003; Sweeney and Soutar, 2001). Ro
et al. (2001) researched the impact of brand functions on
consumer behavioural loyalty. Sweeney and Soutar (2001)
operationalized the consumer value construct as a
combination of functional, emotional and social components
and found that multiple value dimensions account for
consumer choices better than single attributes. However, a
single aspect of buyer behaviour, namely, behavioural loyalty
has been a focus of these studies. In this paper it is proposed
that:
H1e. Customer benefits will have a direct influence on
attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty.

Over the last decade, there has been an increase of interest in


corporate values under headings such as stakeholder value
(Freeman, 1984), the customer value proposition (Knox
et al., 1999), social responsibility (Carrol, 1999) and
corporate citizenship (Bolino, 1999). Discussing
organisational values, authors often make a reference to the
notions of vision and mission as well as a core purpose of an
organization (Cambell and Tawaday, 1990; Collins and
Porras, 1996). Urde (2003) describes organizational values
as authentic differentiators that allow a company to
distinguish itself from competitors. Knox et al. (1999,
p. 140) view organizational values as a part of a unique
organizational value proposition that they describe as a
visible set of credentials throughout the supply chain in
relation to the core processes in an organization. Cambell
and Tawaday (1990) view corporate values as senior
managements beliefs. In a comparable vain, Thompsen
(2004) considers corporate values from a technical
perspective in terms of weight that managers attach to
goals in the process of decision-making.
Despite its importance core values has not gained adequate
attention in the corporate branding literature. One alternative
explanation for this is that the concept of corporate values
being considered of importance primarily to organization
members. However, examining the direct influence of
corporate values on customer performance outcomes should
contribute to consumer research into branding. Using this
rationale, it is expected that:
H1c. Core corporate values will have a direct influence on
attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty.

Methodology
Unit of analysis and sampling elements
The unit of analysis was the organization engaged in
corporate branding. A structured questionnaire was the
method of data collection. Survey was distributed by the
participating car manufacturer through their data-bases in
Australia. The questionnaires were distributed by mail and
were returned by reply paid post. The consumer sample
yielded 285 useable responses representing a 33.5 per cent
response rate. This was achieved in one mail-out.

It has long been recognized in the theoretical literature (King,


1991; Olins, 1978) and also shown in some empirical research
(Kapferer, 1998) that consumers perceive brands as
possessing personality features. Brand personality per se
represents embodiments of non-product-related features
important for the development of relationships with
consumers. Kapferer (1992) identifies brand personality as
one of the key dimensions of brand identity and defines it in
terms of features of human personality that are pertinent to
the brand. Subsequently, Aaker (1997) introduced the brand
personality scale, which had a substantial impact on branding
literature. As a result, a number of studies on brand
personality have been undertaken based on Aakers scale
(see Davies et al., 2001; Brown and Dacin, 1997). In

The questionnaire
The questionnaire was an eight-page long, double-sided
document. Corporate activities, corporate associations, and
corporate personality and brand benefits were measured using
a seven-point Likert scale from (1) not at all to (7) to a
very great extent. Corporate values were measured using a
seven-point Likert scale from (1) strongly disagree to (7)
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The effects of corporate brand attributes

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

strongly agree. The questionnaire was standardized and


undisguised for all the respondents. To minimise the problem
of reducing validity, the neutral response alternative was
included (Churchill and Iacobucci, 2002).
In order to increase response rate, the principle of
Dillmans (1991) Total Design Method was employed in
this study. Three central concepts of Dillmans design were
adopted; cost minimization for respondents, perceived reward
maximization and increase of their trust. The survey package
consisted of an outgoing envelope, two cover letters, the
questionnaire and a return envelope. The questionnaires were
bound into an A4 booklet presentation that reflected a
professional approach. Since the participating car
manufacturer distributed surveys from its internal databases
there were zero returns to sender. 285 used questionaries out
of 850 distributed were received.
Although literature highlights multifaceted nature of
corporate brand, to date empirically, the corporate brand
has been measured using a single dimenion (i.e. corporate
personality) (Davies and Chun, 2002). By capturing
corporate and marketing-level attributes, this paper falls
within the scope of the holistic approach towards corporate
branding (Grassl, 1999; Styles and Amber, 1995).
In the process of developing new constructs, a number of
procedures recommended by Churchill (1979) and Jacoby
(1978) were employed to ensure the appropriate scale
development. These procedures included the employment of
multiple item measures, which enabled a more comprehensive
portrayal of the concepts under the measurement, ranging
from seven to fifteen measures. The tests for reliability and
validity
were
undertaken
in
accordance
with
recommendations by Nunnally (1978) and Gerbing and
Anderson (1988).

the hypotheses. The results of the psychometric properties are


presented in Table I.
Discriminant validity was established using average
variance extracted (i.e. the average variance shared
between a construct and its measures) (AVE) (Fornell and
Larcker, 1981). As can be seen from Table II correlations
between corporate associations and corporate values are
marginally larger (0.75) than the average variance extracted
(0.73) suggesting some shared variance between these
constructs. However, this is a reasonable expectation given
the theoretical similarity of these variables. Likewise,
functional and emotional values appear to have some
shared variance (see Table II). This implies that these values
are not necessarily mutually exclusive and may overall, to
some extent, in consumer minds.0. Whilst these measures
share some similarity, they clearly differ in terms of what
they capture. Therefore, it was decided to keep them
separate.
Data analysis procedures
Multiple regression method was used to address hypotheses.
As the purpose of this proposition was to examine the
whole set of independent variables, it was deemed
appropriate to use a simultaneous rather than a
hierarchical or stepwise method of multiple regression
(Coakes and Steed, 2001).
Each individual corporate brand dimension was entered
into multiple regressions as a means of assessment of its
predictive ability for attitudinal and behavioural loyalty. The
regression equations with the individual dimensions were
followed by a multiple regression test with the aggregated
models. An estimation of proportion of variation in the
dependent variable was assessed using the square of the
multiple correlation coefficients (R2). The relative importance
and significance of each of the dimensions is evaluated in
terms of beta-values and t-values.
For the purposes of testing hypotheses formulated for the
Proposition, a series of multiple regression equations were
performed. These are:
1 corporate activities;
2 corporate associations;
3 corporate values;
4 corporate brand personality; and
5 consumer benefits.

Reliability
Churchill (1979) suggests assessment of Cronbach alpha and
exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to be the first tools for the
assessment the measurement instrument quality. Measures
reliabilities were accessed by calculating Cronbach alpha
(Cronbach, 1951). The majority of measures employed in this
study exhibited reliability scores over 0.7, which is above the
acceptable level (Nunnally, 1978; de Vaus, 1995).
Establishing psychometric properties
Both types of factor analyses have been performed in this
study. Although there was an idea regarding the structure of
the data of the constructs, there were no preconceived
thoughts about the data. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA)
served as a preliminary stage to evaluate unidimensionality of
the constructs (Ahire and Devaraj, 2001) and to determine
hidden dimensions. Undertaking EFA was in line with
Churchills (1979) and Gerbing and Andersons (1988)
suggestion regarding the usefulness of exploratory factor
analysis as a preliminary technique in the absence of a
sufficiently detailed theoretical basis.
The sample size of 285 observations is in accordance with
Hair et al. (1998) guidelines regarding the preferred sample
size of 100 and larger. It was deemed important to employ
EFA for the above reasons and follow this up with
Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) to further support the
reliability and validity of the resulting constructs. In order to
examine the total variance explained by each individual factor,
retaining only those factors with eigenvalues of greater than
one was adopted. Aggregated variables were employed to test

Attitudinal and behavioural loyalty represent the dependent


variables. The individual dimensions of the corporate brand
construct were simultaneously entered multiple regression
analyses and their predictive abilities presented in Tables III
and IV.

Results and discussion


Corporate brand attributes and consumer loyalty
Although Model 1 explains a significant amount of variance in
consumer attitudinal loyalty 37 per cent and almost 30 per
cent in consumer behavioural loyalty, as presented in Tables
III and IV it was corporate values that accounted most
variance in attitudinal and behavioural loyalty. This suggests
the importance of the corporate values for generating
consumer cognitive and affective, and behavioural
outcomes. This finding is in line with Sen et al.s (2006)
assertions that corporate-level intangible assets help
organizations in developing multidimensional relationships
with consumers beyond traditional product and brand ones.
398

The effects of corporate brand attributes

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

Table I The psychometric properties results for the corporate-level attributes constructs
Construct
Corporate activities

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Corporate associations

Corporate values

Corporate personality

Smart

Dependable

Technologically refined

Functional benefits

Model fit indices

SFL

t-value

0.79
0.66
0.56
0.72
0.78
0.81
0.49

10.386
14.247
9.030
10.386
13.364
13.189
8.164

0.50
0.79
0.83
0.91
0.53
0.74
0.64

8.145
13.295
13.986
15.321
9.562
13.295
10.628

0.66
0.61
0.80
0.72
0.70
0.56

9.809
9.809
10.159
9.656
8.795
7.865

0.74
0.76
0.86
0.75
0.79
0.94
0.87
0.60
0.95
0.92
0.63

12.760
12.750
12.375
14.4111
13.194
11.068
11.068
11.232
25.657
25.657
12.812

0.70
0.78
0.60
0.66
0.60
0.76

10.915
12.096
9.430
10.256
9.259
12.096

Model fit indices: x 25:644; DF 9; Probability level 0:002; CMIN=DF 2:849; GFI 0:975;
AGFI 0:921; RMSEA 0:081; TLI 0:958; NFI 0:973; CFI 0:982; Holtier default 240; Cronbach
alpha 0:865
Sponsorship of worthy social activities in Australia
Sponsorship of national sporting events
Strong support of research into technology
Advancement in robotic technology
Development of aircraft technology
The Australian outback
Providing consumer-specific motoring solutions
Model fit indices: x2 33:437; DF 12; Probability level 0:001; CMIN=DF 2:786; GFI 0:968;
AGFI 0:926; RMSEA 0:079; TLI 0:964; NFI 0:969; CFI 0:979; Holtier default 223; Cronbach
alpha 0:871
A good corporate citizen
A successful auto manufacturer
A company at the forefront of technology
A manufacturer of outstanding cars
An auto manufacturer with strong environmental awareness
A manufacturer of stylish cars
A committed player in the Australian automobile market
Model fit indices: x2 10:931; DF 4; Probability level 0:027; CMIN=DF 2:733; GFI 0:988;
AGFI 0:935; RMSEA 0:078; TLI 0:961; NFI 0:984; CFI 0:990; Holtier default 345; Cronbach
alpha 0:838
Customer focus
Constant innovation
Respect for the individual
Practical technology
Ecologically responsible motoring
Community orientation
Model fit indices: x2 104:259; DF 37; Probability level 0:000; CMIN=DF 2:818; GFI 0:942;
AGFI 0:897; RMSEA 0:080; TLI 0:954; NFI 0:953; CFI 0:969; Holtier default 164; Cronbach
alpha 0:917
Sporty
Bold
Smart
Refined
Intelligent
Socially-responsible
Trustworthy
Genuine
Technologically advanced
Technologically sophisticated
Ambitious
Model fit indices: x2 19:501; df 7; probability level 0:007; cmin=df 2:786; gFI 0:977;
AGFI 0:932; RMSEA 0:079; TLI 0:959; NFI 0:971; CFI 0:981; Holtier default 270; Cronbach
alpha 0:851
Consistent quality
Value for money
Fuel efficiency
Aesthetically appealing car features
Individuality
Practicality

(continued)

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The effects of corporate brand attributes

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

Table I
Construct
Emotional benefits

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Symbolic benefits

Model fit indices


Model fit indices: x2 32:643; DF 12; Probability level 0:001; CMIN=DF 2:720; GFI 0:969;
AGFI 0:927; RMSEA 0:078; TLI 0:977; NFI 0:980; CFI 0:987; Holtier default 229; Cronbach
alpha 0:932
Driving pleasure
A feeling of serenity
Youthful spirit
A feeling of adventure
A sense of oneness with the car
Model fit indices: x2 18:132; DF 7; Probability level 0:011; CMIN=DF 2:590; GFI 0:982;
AGFI 0:928; RMSEA 0:075; TLI 0:982; NFI 0:990; CFI 0:994; Holtier default 290; Cronbach
alpha 0:929
Feel that you made a smart choice
Stand out in a crowd
Enhance your personal image
Get social approval
Express your personality
Look sophisticated
Display your status symbol

Internal consistency
0.8718
0.8867
0.8449

0.70
0.48
0.52

0.73
0.75

0.83

0.8864
0.8891
0.8531

0.78
0.67
0.76

0.80
0.64

0.83

0.8519
0.9310
0.9417

0.70
0.74
0.66

0.82
0.51

0.83

t-value

0.61
0.83
0.76
0.84
0.89

12.395
17.108
14.415
17.437
18.939

0.85
0.67
0.83
0.85
0.80
0.88
0.93

11.768
16.854
19.645
20.775
18.536
22.613
22.613

Model 3 was found to explain a largest amount of variance in


both attitudinal (over 39 per cent) and behavioural loyalty
(almost 38 per cent). In particular, support was found for
functional benefits (H1e) and brand symbolism (H1 g) at the
p , 0.001 level. These findings indicate that utilitarian and
symbolic aspects of consumer brand experience appear to be
important predictors of consumer loyalty. The finding
regarding functional benefits supports previous research that
these have positive influence on consumer-based measures of
brand equity (Agarwal and Rao, 1996) and consumer loyalty
(Ro et al., 2001; Sweeney and Soutar, 2001). The result
concerning the brand symbolism suggests that inward and
outward symbolic meanings aimed at constructing consumer
social worlds (Belk, 1988; Elliott and Wattanasuwan, 1998)
are important paths to consumer loyalty. This finding implies
the brand usage in the consumer social environments and
social situations (e.g. loyal peers) drive the development of
consumer loyalty towards the corporate brand. However, as
results show, emotional brand experiences do not seem to
contribute to either attitudinal or behavioural consumer
loyalty.

Table II Internal consistency, square roots of average variance


extracted and correlation matrix for corporate brand attributes

Corporate-level constructs
Corporate activities
Corporate associations
Corporate values
Corporate personality constructs
Smart
Dependable
Technologically refined
Marketing-level attributes
Functional benefits
Emotional benefits
Symbolic benefits

SFL

Notes: Figures in italics represent square root of average variance


extracted; the figures in roman text (beneath the figures in italics) are
covariances

Aggregated corporate brand attributes and consumer


loyalty
From Tables III and IV it can be observed that Model 4
accounts for almost 47 per cent of variance in consumer
attitudinal loyalty and almost 41 per cent of variance in
consumer behavioural loyalty. Except for corporate
personality, which in the aggregated model was no longer
significant, overall, the results of Models 1, 2 and 3 are similar
to the findings in the individual models. This suggests that
when consumers perceive the corporate brand as a totality,
corporate values, utilitarian and symbolic contribute most to
consumer loyalty.

No support was found for H1a and H1b with regard to


attitudinal loyalty. This implies the company engagement in
various corporate endeavours such as sporting events and
sponsorships of worthy social activities does not appear to
generate consumer loyalty. However, corporate associations
were found to be significantly related ( p , 0.01) to
behavioural loyalty. In that this finding is in line with the
previous research (Andreassen and Lindestad, 1998; Ngueyen
and Leblanc, 2001; Hsieh et al., 2004) that found positive
impact of corporate image on consumer loyalty. Corporate
brand personality (Model 2) was also found to be a significant
driver of both attitudinal ( p , 0.001) and behavioural
( p , 0.001) consumer loyalty. This finding suggests that
favourable and unique personality features that consumers
attribute to the corporate brand favourably impacts on
consumer loyalty.

Conclusion
The goal of this paper was to determine the influence of
corporate brand constituents on consumer loyalty. For this,
five hypotheses were formulated that related each of the
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Journal of Consumer Marketing

Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

Table III Corporate brand multiple regression models on consumer attitudinal loyalty
Corporate brand variables

Model 1

Corporate activities H1a


Corporate associations H1b
Corporate values H1c
Corporate personality H1d
Functional benefits H1e
Emotional benefits H1f
Symbolic benefits H1 g
R2
Adj. R2
F-ratio

0.034
0.153
0.476 * * *

Model 2

Loyalty
Model 3

0.533 * * *

0.374
0.368
56.016 * * *

0.285
0.282
112.575 * * *

0.440 * * *
0.021
0.262 * * *
0.391
0.385
60.243 * * *

Model 4 (aggregated)
0.065
0.039
0.351 * * *
2 0.140
0.305 * * *
2 0.024
0.255 * * *
0.468
0.454
34.750 * * *

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Notes: * p , 0.05; * * p , 0.01; * * * p , 0.001; n 285

Table IV Corporate brand multiple regression models on consumer behavioural loyalty


Corporate brand variables

Model 1

Corporate activities H1a


Corporate associations H1b
Corporate values H1c

0.010
0.220 * *
0.369 * * *

Loyalty
Model 3

0.303
0.296
40.814 * * *

Model 4 (aggregated)
0.037
0.030
0.186

0.549 * * *

Corporate personality H1d


Functional benefits H1e
Emotional benefits H1f
Symbolic benefits H1 g
R2
Adj. R2
F-ratio

Model 2

0.301
0.299
122.006 * * *

0.025
0.458 * * *
0.046
0.199 * *
0.377
0.371
56.727 * * *

0.328 * * *
2 0.010
0.186 * *
0.407
0.392
27.127 * * *

Notes: * p , 0.05; * * p , 0.01; * * * p , 0.001; n 285

on the enhancing corporate and reputation; the companies


may benefit from implicitly enhancing synergies between
corporate image and products. Furthermore, attitudinal and
behavioural loyalty can be increased through enhancing
consumer personal representation (i.e. looking sophisticated)
and their representation in the society (i.e. getting social
approval) in the brand communication and consumer
experience.
Secondly, it was found that internal (core values and
personality) are important paths to consumer loyalty. This
concurs with Schultz and Ervolders (1998) assertions
regarding the increasing breakdown of the boundaries
between external and internal corporate brand constituents.
The result in regard to core values is interesting because these
are traditionally viewed as internal characteristics that unite
an organization around its mission and vision (Kunde, 2000),
and yet in this study core values were shown to be predicting
consumer loyalty. An important implication therefore is that
beyond conventional marketing mix, car manufacturers need
to raise customer awareness of their core values and
organizational culture. In addition, managers should further
promote corporate identity and personality in consumer
markets. With the increase of the product and price parity,

corporate brand dimensions with consumer loyalty. The


results reveal that for complex and infrequently purchased
durables such as cars; corporate brand is a crucial predictor of
consumer loyalty. The results come to support the idea of the
importance of multidimensionality within corporate brands.
Organizations are called on to further stress their corporate
brands as these were shown to be highly considered by
consumers.

Managerial implications
This study identified a number of significant linkages that can
support managerial decisions on positioning and branding
strategies. First, the literature seems to pinpoint the lack of
understanding of the nature and practices involved in
corporate branding. The present study proposes a hierarchy
of five dimensions that have implications for conventional
marketing as well as corporate marketing. Although the
importance of building corporate associations was highlighted
in the literature (i.e. Brown and Dacin, 1997), it was found
that the link between corporate activities and corporate image
associations in consumers memory and consumer loyalty is
not straightforward in regard to consumer attitudinal loyalty.
However, this is not to say that companies should not focus
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Journal of Consumer Marketing

Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

enhancing consumer corporate loyalty may reduce consumer


switching behaviour.
Thirdly, the results of this study are consistent with the
research that found brand functionality play an important
role in consumer evaluations of durable products (Brucks
et al., 2000) and that the product innovativeness determines
success of technology companies (Tickle et al., 2003).
However, the findings also suggest that symbolic associations
play an important role in nurturing consumer loyalty. For
managers this has important implications with regard to
corporate branding positioning strategies in that apart from
technology, managers need to focus on embedding a
symbolic dimension in consumer experience with their
purchases. These findings are also in line with studies on
consumer value (Keller, 2003; Park et al., 1986) that
advocated examining the dimensionality of consumer brand
value.

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Limitations and suggestions for future research


Although this paper makes several contributions to
consumer research in branding, there are a few limitations
that emerge from this study, which, however, present
opportunities for future research. The first limitation of this
study is that a sample comprised of consumers of a single
car manufacturer. Applications in other industries where
corporate branding strategy is widely employed (i.e.
banking, retail) would seem beneficial. Secondly, the
cross-sectional nature of the primary method of data
collection also limits the data in regard to the
phenomenon under investigation to the information at a
single point in time. Furthermore, the use of the aggregated
measures may mean that some components of the corporate
brand that could have been of interest to the managers of
the participating car manufacturer and practitioners at a
more specific level could not be addressed.

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Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

Executive summary and implications for


managers and executives

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This summary has been provided to allow managers and executives


a rapid appreciation of the content of this article. Those with a
particular interest in the topic covered may then read the article
in toto to take advantage of the more comprehensive description of
the research undertaken and its results to get the full benefit of the
material present.
Rapid growth of technology means that companies are finding
it increasingly difficult to differentiate through product alone.
Because of this, consumer evaluation of brands is influenced
by factors such as corporate credibility, integrity and
expertise. Corporate branding strategies are therefore being
recognized as an ideal means of succeeding in precarious
markets where uniformity of products is becoming the norm.

Corporate branding and customer loyalty


Corporate branding enables an organization to distinguish
itself from competitors by associating unique corporate traits
to its product and services. But many technology companies
are ignoring corporate brand strategies, believing instead that
product innovation continues to hold the key.
Current knowledge about the relationship between
corporate brands and customer perceptions and customer
loyalty is limited. A focus in this area might therefore enable
organizations to identify the brand attributes that most impact
on consumer loyalty. To date, research has largely centered on
specific aspects of corporate branding rather than taking an
organization-wide perspective and investigating the
aggregated effect. The latter approach means that corporate
branding becomes a strategic framework instead of being
considered a marketing and communication activity.
The potential benefits corporate branding offers an
organization are manifold and include economies of scale in
marketing and lower advertising and promotion costs. But
such benefits are perhaps supplementary to the main objective
of securing customers loyalty and the obvious advantages that
will ensue. In the automobile manufacturing sector, for
example, organizational performance can be boosted through
customers purchasing extras like accessories and servicing,
the lower cost of serving loyal customers who also become less
sensitive to price, and favorable word-of-mouth publicity.
Customer loyalty is often measured solely in terms of
purchase behaviour. While this aspect is significant, many
analysts believe it is attitudinal loyalty that generates
consumer commitment to an organization over the longer
term. Given that companies are increasingly attempting to
differentiate through the associations, values and attitudes
symbolized by the organizational whole, knowing how
consumers feel towards them is clearly vital.
Recent research has shown that corporate image has a
positive impact on customer loyalty. And the degree of loyalty
tends to increase when a consumer strongly approves of the
organization. There is also some indication that corporate
image is particularly important to consumers of durable
products like cars. However, results to this point are not
conclusive since other studies have found the relationship
insignificant. Instances of a negative impact on consumer
purchase intentions have also occasionally been recorded.

Further reading
Argenti, P., Howel, R.A. and Beck, K.A. (2005), The
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Davies, G., Chun, R., da Silva, V.R. and Roper, S. (2004), A
corporate character scale to assess employee and customer
views of organization reputation, Corporate Reputation
Review, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 125-46.
Lukas, B.A., Hair, J.F., Brush, R.P. and Ortinau, D.J. (2004),
Marketing Research, McGraw Hill, Sydney.
Orth, R.U., McDaniel, M., Shellhammer, T. and Lopetchrat,
K. (2004), Promoting brand benefits: the role of consumer
psychographics and lifestyle, Journal of Consumer
Marketing, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 97-108.
Quester, P. and Lim, A.L. (2003), Product involvement/
brand loyalty: is there a link?, Journal of Product & Brand
Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 22-38.
Vazquez, R., Ro, A.B.d. and Iglesias, V. (2002), Consumerbased brand equity: development and validation of a
measurement instrument, Journal of Marketing
Management, Vol. 18, pp. 27-48.

About the author


Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova is a Lecturer at Sydney
Business School, Australia, where she teaches postgraduate
courses in marketing. Her current areas of research are
corporate branding, controlled and uncontrolled
communications and stakeholder management
404

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Tatiana Anatolevena Anisimova

Volume 24 Number 7 2007 395 405

The multidimensional perspective


During the last decade there has been growing interest in the
values of an organization and its vision and mission. But since
many regard such issues as significant only within an
organization, attention given in some quarters is still
limited. The function of values have been variously
described as a visible set of credentials throughout the
supply chain, authentic differentiators that allow a company
to distinguish itself from competitors and reflecting the
importance attached to specific objectives in the decision
making process.
The notion that consumers perceive brands to contain
personality features is well established. Personality is deemed
a major component of brand identity and often described in
terms of human personality traits that are regarded as
pertinent to the brand. But Anatolevena believes that a focus
on personality alone is too restrictive and urges a multifaceted
consideration of brand image. Brands with functional value,
for instance, may be underrated if brand potency is solely
gauged through personality.
A multidimensional approach includes both functional and
emotional attributes. Studies have shown that consumer
perception of brand value is realized through the combined
effect of these attributes and that choice is determined by
multiple rather than single value dimensions. The functional
attributes valued by consumers include performance, safety
and quality. In terms of emotional or symbolic traits those
communicating such as joy, uniqueness and prestige appear to
have most effect.
The author proposes that corporate brand attributes will
have a direct influence of both behavioural and attitudinal
consumer loyalty. Several hypotheses were constructed and a
study of an organization involved in corporate branding
carried out. A car manufacturer mailed a questionnaire to
consumers listed on its Australian databases and 285 usable
responses were recorded. Participants were required to
measure corporate activities, corporate values, corporate
associations, corporate personality, and brand benefits.
Results indicated that:
.
Functional and emotional values are not necessarily
mutually exclusive.
.
Correlation exists between corporate values and corporate
associations.
.
Corporate values accounted for most variations in
behavioural and attitudinal consumer loyalty. The author
suggests that this indicates that corporate values play an
important role in generating cognitive, affective and
behavioural outcomes.
.
Company support of sporting events and worthy causes
does not appear to influence customer loyalty. Corporate
associations were, however, strongly connected to
behavioural loyalty as previous research had indicated.
.
Corporate brand personality significantly drives attitudinal
and behavioural loyalty.

Functional benefits and brand symbolism are important


predictors of consumer loyalty.
Inward and outward symbolic meanings play a key role in
nurturing consumer loyalty. One assumption here is that
development of consumer loyalty towards a brand occurs
when consumers use the brand in social situations.
Emotional brand experiences do not seem to contribute to
either loyalty form.

Anatolevena believes that the study confirms the effect as


being greater when consumers regard the corporate brand as
multifaceted. She also concludes that corporate branding can
accurately predict customer loyalty within contexts where
complex and infrequently purchased durables like
automobiles are concerned. The discovery that core values
influence consumer loyalty shows alignment with earlier
research pointing out the blurring of distinction between
internal and external corporate brand components. This is felt
significant given that core values are conventionally regarded
as internal features that function to unite an organization
around its mission and vision.
The relationship between corporate activities, corporate
image associations and consumer loyalty was not
straightforward in terms of attitudinal loyalty. Despite this,
the author believes that a company can still benefit from
engaging in activities that help to enhance its reputation and
image. For instance, from the synergies created between
corporate image and products.
Marketing implications
One conclusion to the study is that increased product and
price homogeneity means that boosting corporate loyalty
could lead to higher customer retention rates. Anatolevena
believes that a car manufacturer therefore should inform
customers of its core values and culture, while also promoting
corporate identify and personality within consumer markets.
The importance of brand functionality to consumers of
enduring products suggests that product innovation continues
to be crucial. Symbolic associations were also found to be
significant and the author recommends companies to
incorporate symbolic facets in the product for customers to
experience.
Confining the sample to customers of a single manufacturer
is recognized as a study limitation. Further applicability of
findings here may arise through investigation into banking,
retail or other sectors where corporate branding is widely
utilized. The author also accepts that collective examination
of measures may have implications in that some elements of
the corporate brand could not be focused on, even though
these elements may have been significant to the company
involved in the study or to other practitioners.
(A precis of the article The effects of corporate brand attributes on
attitudinal and behavioural consumer loyalty. Supplied by
Marketing Consultants for Emerald.)

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