Creating Brand Authenticity Online: Exploring Antecedents and Consequences

Fiona Nohe

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose – Acknowledging the rising importance of authentic brands, researchers and marketers seek cues influencing consumers’ perceived brand authenticity (PBA). With the Internet, as an increasingly important environment for brands, the purpose of this paper is to extend, based on the previous research on brand authenticity, the understanding of influencing cues and consequences of PBA in the context of brands’ online presence.
Design/Methodology/Approach – Based on an extensive literature review, in this paper various antecedents of brand authenticity that refer to brand or brand-related online activities, as well as consequences of PBA on brand trust reflected by perceptions of brand reliability and brand intentions are identified. Referring to brand authenticity as a subjective construct, moreover, consumers’ need for uniqueness as a moderator is examined. As part of an online survey, data were collected from 175 consumers in Europe and North America. The data were analyzed, and hypotheses tested using linear regression analysis.
Findings – Overall, the results support previous findings that PBA can be influenced and presents further antecedents in the context of brands’ online presence (i.e., online consumer reviews, online brand advertising, informative and engaging CSR online communication, engagement in online brand communities, and online brand co-creation). Moreover, results did not fully support a positive effect of PBA on brand trust; as no relationship between brand trust and the PBA dimensions symbolism and continuity could be found. The analyzed relationships show no variation due to consumers’ need for uniqueness.
Originality/Value – This research contributes to the understanding of the construct of brand authenticity by demonstrating PBA’s role in a nomological network including antecedents, consequences, as well as a moderator effect. Moreover, the study is conducted in the context of the online environment of brands, which provides marketers with different approaches regarding the online presence of their brands to influence and create PBA. Finally, by adopting a recently proposed conceptualization and measurement scale that is the first to incorporate the dimension symbolism, this research reinforces the empirical evidence for the importance of perceptions of symbolism in perceiving brand authenticity.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages90
SupervisorsAlexander Josiassen