the Impact of Brand Trust on Brand Loyalty (Case Study: Yas
Abdolrasool Sabaghi Javedani
Department of Management, Najafabad
Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Iran
Azarnoush Ansari *
Assistance Professor,Department of Management, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
Assistance Professor,Department of Management, University of Allameh Tabatabae'i, Tehran, Iran
*Corresponding Author: A.firstname.lastname@example.org
The objective of this paper is to analyze the
impact of brand trust on brand loyalty in Yas Arghavani Co. In doing so, a main hypothesis and nine
secondary hypotheses are posited. The secondary hypotheses concern the impact
of various brand trust dimensions, including consumer satisfaction of the
brand, brand reputation, company reputation, consumer trust, consumer brand
experience, company honesty, brand predictability, brand identity, brand
competence, on brand loyalty. This paper
presents the results of a descriptive corelational
survey. The theoretical framework is developed through desk research while a
field study is conducted to collect the required data. The statistical
population includes all of the company’s customers, of which a stratified
multistage random sample of 381 is drawn. Data were gathered using a
questionnaire developed by the authors. A group of experts confirmed the
validity of the instrument while reliability was demonstrated by calculating Cronbach’s alpha, yielding an acceptable value of 0.77. For
analysis purposes, structural equations modeling and confirmatory factor
analysis were performed via the SPSS and LISREL statistical software
environments. Descriptive results indicate that attitude toward brand loyalty
as well as brand trust and its dimensions in Yas Arghavani Co. are significantly greater than average.
According to the results, for a confidence interval of 99 percent, brand trust
and its dimensions including consumer satisfaction, brand reputation, company
reputation, consumer trust, consumer brand experience, company honesty, brand
predictability, brand identity, and brand competence, significantly impact
brand loyalty among customers.
Keywords: Brand trust, Customer brand loyalty, Customer
brand satisfaction, Company honesty, Yas Arghavani Co.
Today, all successful organizations and
companies strive to focus on their customers. These organizations strive to
focus on their costumers and being customer-centered is their highest priority.
In the modern world of competition, only creativity and innovation geared
toward satisfying customer needs and expectations guarantee an organization’s
survival. This is reflected in the increasingly fierce competition between
companies to attract loyal customers. A critical issue for managers is to
better understand how the concepts of brand and customer loyalty relate to each
other. Marketing management literature has identified a host of factors which
may influence customer loyalty (Leong and Michael et al., 2001).
Brand loyalty is the result of performance which
exceeds customer expectations such that the customer feels delighted and
surprised by the provided value. Loyal customers substantially contribute to
the firm’s long-term profits. A brand, as a representation or symbol of the
company, serves as a communication platform between the customers and the
company and plays a key role in the formation and continuity of the
relationships between the two parties. Brand identity refers to a set of
elements that together make up its identity and lead to identification and
recognition of the brand in consumers’ minds (Ebrahimi
et al., 2012).
Brand identity determines how a company wants
to be perceived in the market. In today’s world, manufacturers are moving away
from production-based and price-based strategies and toward those based on
brands. Advantages of brands for firms include higher customer loyalty,
increased profitability, preventing the entry of new competitors, reduced
vulnerability to competition, and lower advertisement costs (Azizi et al., 2011).
Contemporary organizations ensure continued
survival by satisfying customer needs and expectations, instead of relying on
capital. Achieving organizational goals, attaining success, and creating a
strong brand are among the primary goals of any organization or institution.
Therefore, it is essential to study the factors that contribute to improving
performance and expediting goal attainment. The significance of the matter manifests
in the increasingly fierce competition to attract customers, on whom the
long-term success of the company depends. However, one-time customers are much
less important compared to their loyal counterparts. Creating loyalty is a
long-term endeavor which requires communication with the customer. As a
representation and symbol of the company, a brand embodies a means of
communication between the consumer and the company; thus, to create loyalty and
gain the associated benefits, customer trust must be gained. In other words,
trust is an antecedent of loyalty. Therefore, in order to develop loyalty and
gain the associated benefits, customers must come to trust the brand. A number
of factors including business globalization, advances in technology, rapid
changes in competitive markets, and higher costumer expectations have resulted
in the ever-increasing significance of brand loyalty in achieving goals as well
as carrying out tasks and missions. Quite a few variables can impact brand
loyalty; to the best of our knowledge, no study considers a total of ten variables
simultaneously. Furthermore, the gap in Iranian literature also justifies the
need for this study. Although the topic of brand has been extensively studied,
only a few papers explore the impact of brand trust on customers’ brand
loyalty. The majority of studies on the factors that influence brand loyalty
have been performed in the tourism industry. The issue assumes even greater
significance due to the fact that a deep investigation into the relationship
between brand trust and brand loyalty in Iran is lacking. Thus, this paper can
assist organizations in achieving their goals and ultimately bridge the gap in
The activities of Yas
Arghavani Co. are focused around information
technology in financial and market systems the performance of which is affected
by extremely important factors. Indeed, in this study, we seek to answer the
following question: Does brand trust impact brand loyalty among customers of Yas Arghavani Co?
Customers tend to attribute human
characteristics to brands; such perceptions are often created or enhanced by
marketers through positioning. Brands are believed to be among the most
valuable assets of a company or organization which ultimately add value to the
product. Today, customer loyalty is regarded as the key to business success. An
understanding of the market creates long-term benefits for business through
careful planning and appropriate strategies that generate or enhance customer
loyalty (Kryystallis, and …, 2014). Brand personality
is known as the core and the closest variable in customer decision-making (Nasiripour et al., 2010). Wysong
et al. (2002) state that the attribution of human characteristics to brands
attracted considerable research attention in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors
believed that brands and products have personalities that may be constructed or
destroyed in the market. Thus, it is easy to see that brands can possess
human-like characteristics. This is why branding literature relates human
characteristics to brands. Companies with strategic brand positioning are able
to have a much greater impact on consumer perceptions compared to more stable
and gradual methods.
Brand value is a “name, phrase, design, symbol,
or a combination of these elements which determines the identity of a service
organization and distinguishes it from its competitors”. The value is judged by
one’s intelligence, logic, feelings, and emotions. Furthermore, creating a
sense of comfort and ease is the role of a planned brand since the brand is
correlated with the customers’ personality, lifestyle, ideals, and behaviors. A
brand determines the origins of a product and/or service provider; assigns
responsibilities to manufacturers, reduces search costs, and increases product
quality (Jalalzadeh, 2009). In his book “Building
Strong Brands”, David Aaker argues that recognition
is the basis of a strong brand. According to Aaker,
brand recognition is a set of associations that the brand strategist aims to
create and maintain (Kazemi Rad,
Aaker distinguishes between four perspectives of
Brand as Product: consists of attributes,
quality, and scope of a brand’s products. Other dimensions include being in the
right place at the right time to take advantage of opportunities; consumers who
determine the positioning of the brand; and brand relationships with the
originating country which lead to higher credibility.
Brand as Organization: primarily focuses on
organizational characteristics and includes innovation and
customer-centeredness. This perspective includes both global and local aspects;
the company needs to decide whether to pursue local or global markets. A local
strategy through customer relationships can lead to a better understanding of
customer needs whereas a global strategy considers long-term brand
sustainability and guarantees its future.
Brand as Person: consists of the brand’s
personality, referring to a set of human-like attributes related to a brand.
These may include gender, age, interests, and attention.
Brand as Symbol: according to Aaker, a strong symbol can act as the basis for brand
personality and recognition, resulting in greater brand recognition and recall
among customers. Aaker argues that visual techniques
such as the use of imagery can serve as the most effective ways of creating
symbols for a brand (Kazemirad, 2009).
Brand perception refers to
the overall evaluation of a brand by the customer (Lam & Shankar, 2014). General
perceptions of a brand reflect how it is perceived and its overall position and
image. High levels of brand awareness lead to positive brand perceptions. Firms
often develop their brands to introduce new products, which is an extremely
high-risk activity that may damage the brand perception (Doaei
and Hasanzadeh, 2010). Brand development has been
shown to impact brand perception. Furthermore, brand positivism impacts
customer evaluations of a brand, thus influencing its development and the
subsequent success (Elaverta et al., 2009).
Loyalty is an important
strategic focus which forms the basis for developing competitive advantage
(Dos, 2015). Keller (2003) introduces brand loyalty under the new concept of resonance
which represents the nature of customer-centered relationships as well as the
extent to which customers are in harmony with the brand. Through brand
resonance, customers become highly loyal, actively engage with the brand and
share their experiences with each other. These definitions of brand loyalty
show a direct relationship between the concept and brand equity.
The main reason for
distinguishing between various definitions of loyalty lies in the fact that its
type and the relevant strategy used to develop loyalty among customers must be
determined. Clearly, customers with revealed loyalty can become committed to a
brand via appropriate and simple strategies. However, a more complicated
strategy is required for those with expressed loyalty. Strong brands evolve and
achieve excellence by changing customer needs and wants (Doyle, 2013).
According to Dalton (2003) three factors drive customer loyalty: value, trust,
and going the extra mile. The author goes on to argue that customers remain
loyal to those that help solve their problems, and even go beyond what is expected
Hiscock (2001) defines a loyal customer as one who purchases
from the same brand, encourages others to buy the brand, or tries to buy more
of that brand.
It is defined as the
customer’s overall perception of quality or excellence of a product/service
based on its purpose and compared to other products/services in the market.
Perceived quality is necessary for competition with many companies now using it
as a strategic tool. Customer satisfaction is achieved by continuously
fulfilling customer quality requirements. Kotler
explores the inner relationship between product/service quality, customer
satisfaction, and company profitability (Krystallis
and Chrysochou, 2014).
Brands are different in
terms of their strength and value in the market: some brands are unknown for
most customers while customers are highly aware of others. Aaker
defines brand awareness as the ability of the customer to recognize and recall
that a brand belongs to a particular group of products. Brand equity is
attained once customers are highly aware of the brand and several unique and
desirable associations remind the customer of the brand. Those who once buy a
brand are not loyal to the brand; however, five or more purchases of a brand
lead to stronger recall of the brand (Magda, 2013).
Brand associations concern
brand-related connections in one's memory. They may be seen in the form of
product-related attributes or aspects that are independent from the product. Associations
form a basis for customer purchases and loyalty; moreover, they create value
for both the company and its customers. Brand associations have been identified
as critical elements in creating and managing brand equity. Thus, a strong brand equity is indicative of positive associations
in the customers' minds (Seyed Javadeyn
and Shams, 2007).
Relationships between consumer personality and
Consumers often attribute human-like
characteristics to brands. These are often exploited by marketers to create or
enhance brand positioning. Brand personality results in emotional or symbolic
values that help brand preferences and are more durable than functional
characteristics. In order to successfully position a brand personality, one
needs measurement models capable of distinguishing between the unique traits of
the brand and those shared by all brands in a product category. Consumers come
to form perceptions of brands by generalizing human personality traits to
brands. As a result, brand personality dimensions are defined as
generalizations of human personality traits(Krystallis and Chrysochou. P., 2014).
Hiscock (2001) suggests that the ultimate goal of
marketing is to create strong relationships between consumers and brands, which
requires trust as its main antecedent. Considering
brand trust as an expectation, the feeling of trust is formed by the fact that
the brand enjoys certain qualities such as stability, competence, honesty, and
responsibility. This is consistent with recent studies on trust. It plays a
major role in establishing long-term relationships with customers (Lee et al,
2015). Trust is defined as expectation of reliability. Thus, brand trust has
two components that reflect two differing perspectives. Chaudhuri
and Holbrook (2015) define brand trust as a consumer's tendency to rely on the
ability of the brand to fulfill its promises. Furthermore, in an environment
where customers are vulnerable, trust reduces uncertainty. Developing and
extending a better understanding of the relationship between factors such as
brand trust and performance is a major concern for brand managers. A large
number of factors that affect brand performance have been identified in
branding literature (Nayebzadeh and Shahbazi, 2013).
Brand trust model
Moorman and Zaltman (1992) define trust as an overall expectation of
how likely a person is to perform differently in the future. Brand satisfaction,
competence, reputation, company honesty, consumer trust and the fit between
consumer self-concept and experiences deeply impact brand trust and
subsequently lead to trust between the buyer and the seller. Therefore, brand
satisfaction competence, reputation, company honesty, consumer trust and the
fit between consumer self-concept and experiences significantly impact trust by
increasing confidence in the fulfillment of promises (Krystallis
and Chrysochou, 2014).
Brand predictability refers
to the ability to predict behavior which allows consumers to rationally predict
the behavior of the product (Shamoushaki, 2006).
Brand competence is the
ability of a brand to solve the customers’ problem and satisfy their needs. It
has also been defined as the extent to which a consumer believes that the
company possesses sufficient experience and expertise to perform its duties
efficiently and effectively (Lam & Shankar, 2014).
Brand reputation is based
on the extent to which a brand is deemed good or reliable (Shamoushaki,
2006). For instance, the relationship between brand reputation and purchase
decisions, attitudes toward the product at the time of purchase, perceived
quality, and preventing competitor entry are among such relationships.
Brand identity involves
the visual elements of a brand (e.g. colors, designs, logos, symbols, and
names) all of which help in recognition and identification of the brand in the
consumers’ mind (Embrahimi et al., 2012).
Consumer satisfaction with
the brand is defined as the result of the consumer’s evaluation regarding the
extent to which his/her expectations have been met (Lam and Shankar, 2014).
Company reputation is
deemed as a strategic resource which can be defined as the sum of customer
evaluations of the company’s activities which explain its ability to provide
value and benefits to its multiple stakeholders (Owing, 2010).
Consumer trust of the
company represents promising and positive expectations of the dealing side in
risky situations (Shamoushaki, 2006).
Consumer experience refers
to the experiences consumers have with the brand (Shamoushaki,
Company honesty consists
of the consumer perceptions of the company being true to principles of ethics
and integrity. Honesty includes a level of confidence which the consumer has in
the intimacy of the business implying that the other party lives up to his
promises (Shamoushaki, 2006).
Table 1 summarizes
previous works on the topic of this paper.
Table 1. A summary of previous studies
Motaharinezahd et al.
Consumer satisfaction and trust have a significant
positive impact on brand love and loyalty.
Soltani et al.
Brand experience, trust, and loyalty significantly
influence brand equity while being significantly related to each other.
Aghazadeh et al.
The three dimensions of brand personality (i.e. competence,
honesty, and emotions) positively influence customer loyalty. Moreover, brand
personality and customer loyalty impact customer repurchase intentions, with
the latter having a stronger influence.
Shahverdi and Chitaei
Perceived quality is not sufficient to achieve
satisfaction. Emotional commitment has a strong impact on customer loyalty.
Furthermore, continued commitment has a significant effect on loyalty and
ultimately customer repurchase intentions.
Respondents were found to enjoy boldface and italic
type on billboard ads. Warm colors were more successful in attracting
attention and circular logos had the highest success among other logo shapes
such as square and triangle.
Heydarzadeh et al.
Brand reputation and credibility were found to directly
affect loyalty, continued commitment, satisfaction, and brand trust.
Vazifedoust et al.
Brand trust and customer loyalty are directly related.
Ahmadi et al.
Brand identity results in increased brand trust.
Lee et al.
Brand loyalty indirectly influences satisfaction and
Lam and Shankar
Old receivers emphasize perceived quality whereas
younger ones focus on brand satisfaction and loyalty. Developing brand
loyalty in the new generation is dependent on trust – rather than brand
attributes in the past.
Albert and Merunka
Consumer brand experience is related to trust.
Sahin et al.
Consumer trust is directly associated with brand
Akhtar el al.
Appropriate ways of employee customer interaction and
company reputation were identified as the most critical components of customer
loyalty and brand trust.
Wong Wong and Yahya Seyed
Among a number of factors such as name, model, quality,
price, advertising, services, and store environment, quality was found to be
the most important indicator of brand loyalty in sports apparel in Malaysia
The following hypotheses
are postulated in this paper:
H1: Consumer satisfaction
influences brand loyalty.
H2: Brand reputation
influences brand loyalty.
H3: Company reputation
influences brand loyalty.
H4: Consumer trustof the company influences brand loyalty.
H5: Consumer brand experience
influences brand loyalty.
H6: Company honesty
influences brand loyalty.
H7: Brand competence
influences brand loyalty.
H8: Consumer predictability
influences brand loyalty.
H9: A fit between the
costumer’s self-concept and brand personality influences brand loyalty.
The conceptual model of the
study is shown in Figure 1.