The Impact of a Flagship vs. a Brand Store on Brand Attitude, Brand
Attachment and Brand Equity
Pierre-Yann Dolbec a,1 , Jean-Charles Chebat b,∗ a Schulich School of Business, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Ofﬁce N304K, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada b HEC Montreal, 3000 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, Québec H3T 2A7, Canada
How can flagships and brand stores contribute to building brands? We inquire about the relationships between store image, brand experience, brand attitude, brand attachment and brand equity using store intercepts. We find that flagships, due to the powerful brand experiences they allow, have a stronger impact on brand attitude, brand attachment and brand equity compared to brand stores. We provide retail marketers with avenues to offer increased in-store brand experiences by appealing to consumers’ emotions, senses, behaviors, and cognition.
© 2013 New York University. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Brand experience; Flagship; Brand store; Branding; Retailing
What makes flagships so special? Flagships are brandished as the apex of branding. An expanding number of brands are now offering consumers experiential retail spaces tailored to deliver powerful brand experience (e.g., ESPN Zone: Kozinets et al. 2004; American Girl Place: Diamond et al. 2009; Niketown: Pe˜naloza 1998; Sherry 1998). Retailers use in-store brand experiences as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors, improve their brand image and build brand awareness (Pine and Gilmore 1998) and branding strategy (Kozinets et al. 2002). Previous research regarding flagships focused on brand narrative (Kozinets et al. 2002), sociocultural branding
(Diamond et al. 2009), brand ideology (Borghini et al. 2009), and retail spectacle (e.g., Kozinets et al. 2004). These studies do not point out the differential impact of flagships vs. brand stores.
Our study is the first to measure the capacity of both types of store for building brands. By doing so, we test the degree to which flagships provide an increased brand experience compared to brand stores. We also suggest that store image impacts three brand constructs (brand attitude, brand attachment and brand equity) through brand experience. Our methodology allows us to provide information on effect sizes for these relationships, and to test them in a retail setting immediately following an
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in-store brand experience. Finally, we address the limitations of previous studies on brand experiences (Brakus, Schmitt, and
Zarantonello 2009; Chang and Chieng 2006) by comparing different retail venues and introducing overlooked brand-related constructs. Brand experience is defined as the “subjective, internal consumer responses (sensations, feelings, and cognition) and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications and environments” (Brakus, Schmitt, and Zarantonello 2009, p.
53). Our use of this concept contributes to deepening the understanding of experiential marketing and provides researchers with a concept central to modeling experiential phenomena in shopping venues.
In the next section, we propose our conceptual framework.
We then present our methodology and measures, discuss our results, offer ways for retailers to provide increased brand experiences, and highlight the limitations of this study.
Conceptual framework and hypotheses
Our study focuses on the differential impact of flagships vs. brand stores. A flagship is a store “1) carrying a single brand of product, 2) owned by that brand’s manufacturer, and 3) operated
– at least in part – with the intention of reinforcing the brand rather than selling a product at a