Exploring a functional approach to attitudinal brand loyalty

Rebekah Russell-Bennett, Charmine Emma Jean Hartel, John (Steve) Worthington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


What psychological function does brand loyalty serve? Drawing on Katz s (1960) Functional Theory of Attitudes, we propose that there are four functions (or motivational antecedents) of loyalty: utilitarian, knowledge, value-expressive and ego-defensive. We discuss how each function relates to the three dimensions of loyalty (i.e. emotional, cognitive, and behavioural loyalty). Then this conceptualisation of brand loyalty is explored using four consumer focus groups. These exploratory results demonstrate that the application of a functional approach to brand loyalty yields insights which have not been apparent in previous research. More specifically, this paper notes insights in relation to brand loyalty from a consumer s perspective, including the notion that the ego-defensive function is an orientation around what others think and feel. This creates the possibilities for future research into brand loyalty via social network analysis, in order to better understand how the thoughts of others affect consumers loyalty attributes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43 - 51
Number of pages9
JournalAustralasian Marketing Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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