The antecedents and consequences of brand image: Based on Keller's customer-based brand equity
Due to the fact that brand equity has received significant research attention, brand image in the customer-based brand equity framework, has been recognized as an important concept in marketing and consumer behavior research. While an increasing number of studies have focused on conceptualizing brand image, empirical research on brand image in the restaurant industry has been consistently criticized for deficiencies of theoretical grounding and conceptual rigor. Therefore, there is an urgent need to investigate ways in which brand image can be empirically measured so that researchers can effectively analyze the key variables related to it.
The current study attempted to bridge this existing gap by developing an effective brand image measurement and model. Grounded in the foundation of marketing and hospitality literature as well Keller's customer-based brand equity framework, this study developed a conceptual model that explains the relationships between the antecedents and consequences of brand image.
The objectives of this research are: (1) to develop reliable and valid scales to measure brand image in a restaurant context; (2) to propose an integrated model of the causal relationship between the antecedents and consequences of brand image, by relying on Keller's customer-based brand equity framework. Based on the proposed model, nine hypotheses were developed with six latent variables.
Through focus group interviews and a pretest, the measurements were refined and the questionnaire used for the main study was developed. Data was analyzed using the 417 surveys. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in AMOS 17.0 were employed to evaluate the measurement model, to measure the model fitness of data and to test the research hypotheses and relationships among the latent constructs.
The results from the main study revealed a significant relationship between mostly all constructs in the model except the relationship between brand image and attitudinal brand loyalty. The findings clearly showed the primary effect of brand awareness and brand familiarity as the antecedents to brand image. It was concluded that brand awareness drivers brand image, customer satisfaction, brand trust and attitudinal brand loyalty. Moreover, the results indicated the critical mediating effect of brand image between its antecedents and consequences. The study also highlighted the importance of customer satisfaction and trust in order to establishing a customer's attitudinal brand loyalty.
From a theoretical perspective, this study developed a brand image scale and proposed an integrated model of brand image in customer-based brand equity framework in a casual dining restaurant context. The study also provides several managerial implications for chain restaurant managers and marketers by stressing the importance of brand image in the hospitality industry with a view to enhancing the marketers' understanding of the factors that may dilute or enhance brand image and thereby provide insights into brand equity management.