Brand identification : A theory-based construct for conceptualizing links between corporate branding, identity and communications
Since relationships are an important part of the individual’s identity, it is not surprising that marketers looking to create long-term relationships have found that finding meaning in buying often makes a contribution to the construction of the individual (Fournier, 1995; Gruen, Summers and Acito, 2000). This search for personal meaning has tended to become inseparably linked to brands (Fournier, 1995; Holt, 2002; McAlexander, Schouten and Koenig, 2002), for brands have the potential to be designed around the need for belonging, and owning certain brands often affirms the consumer’s sense of identity (Aaker, 1994; Aaker and Fournier, 1995; Fournier, 1998). It may be that this is a peculiarly American phenomenon, as Holt (2004) writes assuredly that customers of iconic brands such as Mountain Dew ‘care about what the brand accomplishes for their identities’. His focus is the interesting are of cultural identity myths and he notes: ‘Customers who make use of the brand’s myth for the identities forge tight emotional connections to the brand’ (p.9).