Brands, values and consumers - The importance of values in consumer behaviour
Ronald Voorn is a PhD student in the department Communication Science. (Co-)supervisors are prof.dr. A.T.H. Pruijn and dr. T.J.L. van Rompay from the faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Science and dr. G. van der Veen from Hogeschool Utrecht.
Values, representing higher abstract goals in life, receive increasing attention in branding literature and practice. However, understanding of how values drive consumer behavior is limited. This research contributes to a better understanding of the importance of values and value types in marketing communications and how they can influence consumer behaviour. This is particularly relevant given the recent rise in values-based marketing, sometimes also referred to as purpose marketing.
Three studies were conducted. The outcomes of study one showed that perceived values (rather than personality traits) indeed play a key role, alongside functional congruence, as a predictor of repurchase intentions. This was particularly true for consumer durables and service brands that consumers have longer relationships with.
Study two confirmed that perceived brand values are, next to functional product characteristics, considered as more important than brand personality traits when longer relationships are involved. These effects were most pronounced in the case of prospective situations and services compared to products.
Having demonstrated the importance of brand values, the third study zoomed in on the type of value communicated. To this end, brand messages involving self-transcending values (such as concern for society, the environment, and close others) were compared with self-enhancement values (mainly the personal need for recognition of achievements by others and power). In line with research on purpose marketing, results showed that brand messages with self-transcending values outperformed those with self-enhancement values on measures including attitudes toward the brand, perceived quality, and consideration to buy. Moreover, consumer brand identification acted as a mediator in this process, further reinforcing the aforementioned effects.
The final chapter of this dissertation presents a discussion of the findings presented across the studies, including relevance to practice and directions for follow-up research. Findings across these studies show that brand values are key to consumer decision making and hence deserve more attention in marketing and branding literature.