• 2017-18/126 - Consumer Brand Relationships In Rural India: Assessing The Dimensions Of Strength
  • Dec - 2017
  • Speaker(s) : Mr. Shubhomoy Banerjee

Consumer brand relationship (CBR) is used for brand-building through a complex process of consumer engagement with the brand. Research indicates a strong relationship between the consumer and the brand result in higher sales, lower vulnerability of brand due to price fluctuation. Recent research in India suggests that there is a growing brand consciousness among urban consumers. Rural India has undergone significant changes and there is a marked shift in consumption from commodities to brands. Despite the growth of availability of branded products in rural areas there are not many studies in rural context on consumer brand relationships.


To fill in the gap in our understanding of the brand consumer relationship this research investigates the role of antecedent factors that affect the strength of relationships between the consumers in rural markets and the brand. Further it also analyses the interrelationships between the various dimensions of the strength of CBR. Data were collected from one large village in Anand district of Gujarat. The choice of the village was necessitated by the presence of enough number of retailers and availability of brands.  A questionnaire was administered to 489 consumers (364 male, 125 female). Majority (76%) of the respondents belonged 18-35 years age group. The questionnaire along with demographic variables measured constructs like brand trust, brand satisfaction, self-brand connections (SBC), passionate attachment, brand loyalty, cross buying and brand distribution intensity using  adapted versions of  existing scales with good psychometric properties.


Results suggested that brand trust was significantly and positively related to brand loyalty, brand cross buying, and mediated the path between brand satisfaction, brand loyalty and brand satisfaction, and brand cross buying. Positive and significant relationship was found between brand satisfaction and brand trust, brand trust and SBC and SBC and passionate attachment. Passionate attachment was found to mediate the path between SBC and brand loyalty and SBC and cross buying. It was also found that distribution intensity of brands plays an important role in the formation of satisfied and trusted relationships between the consumers and the brands.


These findings corroborate findings from previous research and suggest that the consumers in rural India are able to form strong bonds with the brands which they use. The results also suggested the importance of the distribution intensity of the brands in the formation and maintenance of strong CBR.


This research adds to the growing body of literature on consumer brand relationships by introducing a hitherto under researched but important context, the rural markets in India. It also shows the interplay of the various cognitive and affective dimensions in the formation and maintenance of strong consumer brand relationships among the consumers in the rural markets. Additionally, it underlines the importance of the elements of marketing mix in the relationship based paradigm of brand management and strategy.

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