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When opposites attract? Exploring the existence of complementarity in self-brand congruence processes

Karampela, Maria and Tregear, Angela and Ansell, Jonathan and Dunnett, Susan (2018) When opposites attract? Exploring the existence of complementarity in self-brand congruence processes. Psychology and Marketing, 35 (8). pp. 573-585. ISSN 0742-6046

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In the psychology of human interpersonal attraction, complementarity is a well-recognized phenomenon, where individuals are attracted to partners with different but complementary traits to their own. Although scholarship in human-brand relations draws heavily from interpersonal attraction theory, preferred techniques for measuring self-brand congruence tend to capture it in only one form: the similarity configuration, which expresses the extent to which brand traits essentially resemble or mirror a consumer’s own. Hence, the aim of this study is to explore, for the first time, the existence of complementarity in self-brand congruence. From a canonical correlation analysis of survey data in which respondents rated their own personality traits and those of their favorite brand, the existence of both similarity and complementarity configurations is indeed revealed. Based on this, the study then derives a measure of self-brand congruence that captures both configurations, and tests its predictive power for a range of brand-related outcomes. The new measure is found to perform well against existing measures of self-brand congruence based purely on a similarity configuration, particularly for emotionally based brand-related outcomes.