University of Oulu, 2016

Public Defence: Teck Ming Tan

Friday, June 1, 2018

Academic dissertation of Teck Ming Tan (marketing) is presented for public defence at the University of Oulu, Oulu Business School on Friday June 1, 2018 at 12.00 (noon) in Arina Auditorium (TA105), in Linnanmaa Campus.

Topic: Humanizing brands: The investigation of brand favorability, brand betrayal, temporal focus, and temporal distance

Academic dissertation


Humanizing brands is an essential domain of current branding as it enhances the visibility of a brand by connecting consumers to the brand, thus contributing to strong brand equity. The term humanize used in this dissertation is not limited to brands with anthropomorphic characters, such as the M&M’s characters. Used in this context, the term also includes the ways in which consumers attribute a brand to be “close to me,” “like me,” and a “partner.”

Although the research of customer-based brand equity has been well-documented over the past twenty-five years, limited attention has been given to examining the differential effect of brand favorability in forming a self-brand connection. Even more scarce are studies on the antecedents and indicators of brand betrayal. Further, up-to-date research is mostly silent as to whether temporal focus and temporal distance influence a brand’s ability to serve as a means of reflecting the consumer’s selves. To fill up these research gaps, this dissertation reports four research articles. More than two thousand samples were collected from Finland, India, and the US to examine the conceptual frameworks.

First, this dissertation contributes to the literature on self-brand connection by articulating the effect of self-presentation by brand on self-brand connection. Second, it contributes to the literature of self-congruence, seen from the temporal perspective. Third, it adds to the brand betrayal literature by examining consumer anthropomorphize tendency and actual high-arousal positive states as the antecedents. It further explains the indicators of brand betrayal, consisting of failure severity and inferred negative motive. In term of managerial implications, the findings contribute to (1) the one-on-one marketing approach to branding, (2) incorporating consumer’s selves into branding considerations, and (3) assessing brand betrayal in a negative brand relationship.

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Last updated: 20.12.2019