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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2014, Vol. 46 Issue (7) : 1000-1013     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01000
The Role of Social Connectedness and Imaginary Audience on Brand Love in Brand Experience Sharing: the Moderating Role of Divergence of Others’ Responses
YANG Defeng;LI Qing;ZHAO Ping
(1 School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China) (2 School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China)
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Brand love is the emotional attachment, passion and commitment a consumer has for a particular brand. This concept stresses the lover relationship between consumer and brand. People always say, “Happiness shared doubled and sadness shared halved”. Sharing brings important experience to other people; meanwhile, the sharing process also strengthens the sharers’ prior experience as well. Previous researches show that others’ congruent responses can enhance a person’s enjoyment of shared experiences; conversely, incongruent responses can reduce such enjoyment. However, few studies have examined the impact of divergence of others’ responses in the brand experience sharing and the effect of consumers’ social relationship perception on the change of their brand attitudes. Therefore, the present study examines how sharing brand experience influences sharers’ prior brand love and explores the interactive effects of others’ responses and social relationship perception (i.e., social connectedness and imaginary audience) on brand love in the context of experience sharing. Two experimental studies are conducted to examine the above effects. Experiment 1 explores the effect of brand experience sharing on sharers’ prior brand love. Experiment 2 examines the interactive effect between divergence of others’ responses and consumers’ social relationship perception on sharers’ prior brand love. The results show that: (1) brand experience sharing is conducive to building sharers’ brand love. Compared with non-sharing, sharing positive experience has a positive effect on sharers’ brand love; (2) The speakers, who are at either the lower level of social connectedness or at the higher level of imaginary audience, experience greater changes in their original brand love when others’ responses are divergent than such responses are neutral; (3) The speakers, who are either at the higher level of social connectedness or at the lower level of imaginary audience, experience similar changes of their love toward original brand, whether others’ responses are divergent or neutral. The research results provide us new insights into the research about brand experience sharing and brand love from the perspective of sharing by showing the moderating effects of divergence of others’ responses on the relationship between consumers’ social relationship perception (i.e., social connectedness and imaginary audience) and the changes of their original brand love. Besides the theoretical contributions, this study further provides some important implications for managers in inducing consumers to share positive brand experience.

Keywords experience sharing      brand love      divergence of others&rsquo      responses      social connectedness      imaginary audience     
Corresponding Authors: YANG Defeng   
Issue Date: 25 July 2014
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YANG Defeng;LI Qing;ZHAO Ping. The Role of Social Connectedness and Imaginary Audience on Brand Love in Brand Experience Sharing: the Moderating Role of Divergence of Others’ Responses[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2014, 46(7): 1000-1013.
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