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Brand Trust: Corporate communications and consumer-brand relationships
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business.
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the wake of well-known instances of corporate misconduct – for example Enron in the U.S., and Skandia in Sweden – consumers ask for more transparent corporate brand practices to make corporate brands trustworthy. However, potentially, consumers who put their trust in brands may be sacrificing some of their own control, thus weakening themselves in the trusting relationship. The aim of this book is to shed new light on consumer-brand trust relationships, and the way such relationships relate to the corporate communication of brand trust. Further, the present book moves away from the traditional approach to trust as something (more or less) taken for granted that the corporation seeks to build into its brand, towards a perspective that includes consumers’ creation of brand meaning.

Traditionally, business research on trust has focused on corporations, and the way trust reduces transaction costs. However, the present book looks at the other side of the coin by focusing on relationships between consumers and brands from the perspective of trust. Trust is conceptualized as an instance of “asymmetrical reciprocity” (cf. Young 1997) to emphasize the potential vulnerability of the trusting consumer.

The methods in the present book include empirical research consisting of interviews with the CEOs and top managers of well-known corporate brands in Sweden, interviews with consumers, a follow-up ethnography-guided study of the consumers, and a philosophical and conceptual analysis. Combining the corporate and the consumer side of the relationship enables a discussion of key aspects in the brand trust relationships between consumers and brands. In conclusion, the concept of Faithful Shielding is presented, describing how the same practices that give the consumers benefits in relations with their favoured brands also increase their vulnerability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Företagsekonomiska institutionen , 2008. , 184 p.
Keyword [en]
Brand, Trust, Consumer, Corporate Brand, Relationship, Communication, Asymmetrical Reciprocity, Faithful Shielding
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8148ISBN: 978-91-7155-692-9OAI: diva2:199700
Public defence
2008-10-20, Philipssalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2008-10-13 Created: 2008-10-13Bibliographically approved

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