Brand Sensuality and Consumer-Based Brand Equity

Abstract: Contemporary branding and sensory marketing literature stresses the significance and positive impact of sensory dimensions through brand sensuality in relation to brand experiences within a value-generating process. Moreover, it also accounts for the need to fulfill a research gap concerning how sensory dimensions contribute to enhance consumer-based brand equity when consumers experience products and services.Therefore, the main objective of this thesis is to explore, analyze and explain the relationship between brand sensuality and CBBE by answering the overarching research problem: Is the construct of brand sensuality an antecedent to CBBE in a B2C context? In this context, three research questions are raised and discussed in the three Essays compiled in this thesis, namely: (1) From a strategic point of view, how can brands express their sensuality to consumers in the value-generating process?; (2) Which is the relationship between brand sensuality and CBBE within a sensory branding framework? and (3) From an empirical point of view, does brand sensuality impact directly or indirectly on CBBE?Three main conclusions are derived from aforementioned research questions, namely (1) brand sensuality can only be expressed to consumers using sensorial strategies along the value-generating process; (2) brand sensuality, as a construct, is a key driver of brand value in the focus of service provision and (3) brand sensuality impacts directly on brand experiences and indirectly on CBBE.The main contribution of this thesis consists in integrating brand sensuality for the first time into a CBBE context, along with traditional branding constructs such as brand personality, brand relationship and brand experience, identified in literature as key drivers of brand value. Furthermore, this thesis is the first to explore the direct and indirect impact of brand sensuality on CBBE. Finally, the empirical research uses a sample of real consumers and was conducted online with the collaboration of ACP – the Portuguese Automobile Association. In this regard, it is the first study on car brands, which incorporates brand sensuality as a construct within a sensory-branding framework.

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