Get the picture? Visual servicescapes and self-image congruity
Examination of consumers' relationships with brands is available in depth only for the last decade. As brand relationship theory evolves from the early stages, researchers across disciplines have examined multiple theoretical traditions for guidance. To explore the reasons that consumers form relationships with some retailers, the authors borrow a method from the field of anthropology — the photo-elicitation technique. This method allows researchers to explore the deeply-held emotional responses that consumers have to retail servicescapes and provides insight regarding the specific factors that encourage the formation of lucrative relationships between consumer and retailer. The study finds and names five categories of relationships that differ on perceived self-image congruity and involvement: Perfect Matches, Mismatches, Fair-Weather Friends, Best Friends, and Acquaintances. A better understanding of these relationships may benefit both researchers and practitioners.
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