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Effects of Brand Value Commitment on Consumer Perception and Brand Loyal



Yi Zhang, Jinping Liu, Lin Lan, Rui Zhang and Feifei Liu
 
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ABSTRACT

Business practice shows that brand in essence is a kind of "commitment" which creates value for stakeholders and can get value from it. At present, most researches explore the consumption psychology and behavior from the view of brand loyal (or purchase intention) and pay the less attention to the brand value commitment. Even in the few related studies, they are qualitative ones. Therefore, by virtue of the Organization Commitment Theory and Commitment Foci, this study divides the brand value commitment into Attitude Commitment by the way of organizational behavior and Behavior Commitment by the way of social psychology. Attitude commitment includes organizational commitment, affective commitment, quality commitment, economic commitment and relationship commitment. Behavioral commitment includes purchase commitment, reputation commitment, tolerance commitment and continuance commitment. By questionnaires, this study analyzes the influence of consumer brand attitude commitment on their behavior commitment. And it confirms that consumer brand attitude commitment have a significant positive impact on their purchase commitment, public praise commitment and continuance commitment; while the organizational commitment, affective commitment, quality commitment and relationship commitment have significant positive impacts on consumer brand behavior commitment.

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  How to cite this article:

Yi Zhang, Jinping Liu, Lin Lan, Rui Zhang and Feifei Liu, 2014. Effects of Brand Value Commitment on Consumer Perception and Brand Loyal. Information Technology Journal, 13: 443-451.

DOI: 10.3923/itj.2014.443.451

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=itj.2014.443.451
 
Received: May 13, 2013; Accepted: August 15, 2013; Published: February 12, 2014



INTRODUCTION

Business practice shows that brand in essence is a kind of "commitment" which creates value for stakeholders and can get value from it (Zhang et al., 2010). There are some representative views and conclusions: Duncan and Moriarty (2000) indicated that the stakeholders’ relationship affects directly on the brand building effectiveness. In order to create better consumer value, it must rely on the other stakeholders’ participation, contribution and support. It also showed that the stakeholders’ interactive relationship has a significant impact on their brand awareness. The close relationship between the enterprise and stakeholder can weaken the influence which the crisis may bring to the company or the brand. Meanwhile, the stakeholders’ relationship affects directly their method and extent to support the brand and the stakeholders’ interactive relationship also influences the connection between the company and consumers. On the interactive relationship between enterprise brand and stakeholder, Zhang et al. (2008) put forward the concept of “ecologic brand relation” and considered that good brand relation contribute to stakeholders’ positive cooperative intention, reputation intention, role-overlapping intention and the tolerance on the brand crisis. Brand relation has been the important role in condensing the stakeholders, creating the social capital and setting up the enterprise’s competitive advantage in the brand building process. Tim and Shawn (2000) believed that the stakeholder behavior is the underlying rationale between the corporate social responsibility and financial performance (CSP-FP). Once the high brand value commitment has been formed, it promotes the stakeholder to invest and support more positive (such as work, capital, resource, purchase power and reputation) and creates brand value directly and indirectly. Meanwhile, the high brand-value-commitment awareness of the stakeholder makes themselves easier tolerate the occasional product’s defect or the worse work and reduce complain and their tendency to leave (Dawar and Pillutla, 2000; Lee and Chang, 2011; Jian et al., 2012). Thus, the stakeholder behavior is the intermediate variable to explain the relation between the brand value commitment (corporate social responsibility) and the business performance. Based on the empirical study, this study hopes to explore the influence of consumer brand attitude commitment on their behavior commitment and reveal the internal mechanism of brand value commitment and business performance.

BRAND VALUE COMMITMENT DIMENSION AND RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

Concept and classification of commitment and organizational commitment: Commitment is defined as “a responsibility, something that you have promised to do” in the Oxford English Dictionary. It means that the acceptor makes a promise for the future, while in the real life the commitment actually is a way that the individual obtains the limited stability in the infinite and changing world and requires a safe and orderly life by nature (Zhang, 2004). As a kind of psychological phenomenon, organizational commitment is the same as the attitude variable and shows the significant impact on the individual behavior in the organization.

Organizational commitment is a concept in modern organizational behavior and it also called “Psychological Contract”. Briefly, it is the acknowledgment and involvement extent of the individual on some certain organization and it is the attitude or guidance to connect the individual and the organization, or the process to make the individual goal reconciled to the organization goal. There are two popular views on the organizational commitment: One is behavior commitment, the other is attitude commitment. Behavior commitment starts from the social psychology and concerns that how individual influences the attitude to consist with the behavior. Attitude commitment starts from the organizational behavior and pays more attention on how individual cultivates the firm faith on the organization value, brings the intention of struggling for the group’s benefit and trains the willing of staying in the enterprise without leaving.

In order to divide the organizational commitment dimension, Becker put forward the concept of “commitment foci” to explain who (what goal) the members promise to. These goals include the tangible objects (such as organization, profession and labor union) and abstract objects (such as performance). Like organizational commitment, professional commitment and supervisor commitment also have an effect on the individual behavior in the organization. Professional commitment can be taken as affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment, which respectively represents the career identity and affective attachment, career involvement and the difficult to change career, the degree of unwilling to change career for the social norm. When the commitment foci is the immediate boss, the supervisor commitment is set. Supervisor commitment is affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment, which respectively represents the identity on the supervisor and emotional attachment, the loss brought by the supervisor’s change, the degree of unwilling to change the supervisor for the social norm (such as “the supervisor helped me before and I should repay him”).

Brand value commitment dimension on the consumer: Based on the definition of organizational commitment, brand value commitment is consumers’ attitude and identification on the brand and thus derives a certain behavior tendency. Brand value commitment can explain the reason why the consumers prefer one brand and it is a target to test the consumer loyalty. Brand value commitment can be divided into two types: Attitude commitment by the way of organizational behavior and behavior commitment by the way of social psychology.

Whether the brand satisfies the consumers’ value desire and expectation decide the formation of attitude commitment. The higher value satisfaction the consumers obtain from the brand, the higher attitude commitment the consumers will have. In line with the organizational behavior way and consumers’ value desire; consumer value commitment dimension can be generalized as organizational commitment, affective commitment, quality commitment, economic commitment and relationship commitment. Organizational commitment refers to the consumers’ brand identification on the value idea, corporate image and social responsibility. Affective commitment refers to the brand value identification and emotional sustenance. Quality commitment refers to the brand quality identification and confidence. Economic commitment refers to the reasonable cost performance and use-cost. Relationship commitment refers to the satisfaction on the employee service attitude and behavior.

Consumers brand behavior commitment dimension: To reveal the correlation between the brand value commitment and enterprise performance, it should construct not only the brand attitude commitment dimension but also the brand behavior commitment dimension of consumers, to explore the influence of consumer attitude commitment on their behavior commitment. Therefore, this study confirms the consumers’ brand behavior commitment dimension from the brand loyalty.

There are relevant literature about the loyalty and brand loyalty: Oliver (1997) regarded loyalty as “a product or service that the consumers keep buying what they prefer in the future, although situation-influence and marketing effect will change consumers’ purchasing behavior”. Jacoby and Kyner (1973) considered that consumers’ personal preference would affect their repetitive purchasing behavior in a certain period. Jones and Sasser (1995) took the explicit behavior of loyalty for three types: Repurchase intention, primary behavior (actual purchase) and secondary behavior (recommendation). Newman and Werbel (1973) put forward that loyal consumers would buy the same brand repetitively without looking for other brand. Jacoby and Chestnut (1978) gave the fuller definition on brand loyalty: “Brand loyalty is a nonrandom behavioral response which will exist for a long time and a psychological (decision, evaluation) purchasing process on the brand commitment after some decision unit thinks over one or more than one brand”.

On the basis of the researches above, Chaung (2006) put forward six parts of the brand loyalty: (1) Nonrandomness: It refers to the consumers’ special preference on the product and brand and it makes clear that the purchasing behavior is not aimless. (2) Behavioral response: It means the actual purchasing behavior what consumers must show up. (3) Long-existence: It is the sustainability of the purchasing behavior, which is more than twice purchasing behaviors in a certain period. (4) Thinking over more than one brand: The consumers have several opportunities to choose brand and they must make the evaluation and choice from these different brands. (5) Psychological commitment process: The consumers must evaluate all kinds of brand, hold their view and attitude on each brand and make the decision according to their brand preference and attitude and carry out the final purchasing behavior. The psychological commitment is developed from the process before, so the psychological implicates the consumers’ repurchase intention. (6) Recommendation behavior: The consumers recommend the brand and product what they prefer to their friends and family and they also have the tolerance on the crisis and tendency to leave. If the good interaction has been formed, it can create the brand value directly and indirectly and tolerate the accidental product’s defect or the worse work and reduce complain and their tendency to leave (Duncan and Moriarty, 2000; Dawar and Pillutla, 2000). There will be not much harm to the enterprise brand value because of the crisis. Dawar and Pillutla (2000) discovered in the Expectation-Evidence that if consumers’ have the high expectation on a special brand or product, there will be not much harm to the enterprise’s right, no matter how the enterprise deals with the crisis.

In line with the social psychological way and consumers’ value desire, consumer behavior commitment can be generalized as purchasing commitment (repurchasing intention), public praise commitment (recommendation intention), tolerance commitment (crisis tolerance intention) and continuance commitment (leaving tendency). Purchasing commitment refers to the repurchasing intention and attitude because of consumers’ brand recognition; Public-praise commitment is the recommendation degree; Tolerance commitment is consumer’s tolerant degree on the brand crisis by their brand preference. Continuance commitment is the degree what unwilling to change brand by consumer’s brand preference. These four behavior intention is the most important indicator to judge consumers’ loyalty. The higher value commitment the consumers have, the stronger repurchasing behavior intention the consumers will hold, the higher recommendation intention they will own, the higher tolerant intention on the products’ defect they will have and the lower leaving tendency they will possess. Thus, the following researches are deduced:

Consumers’ brand behavior commitment and impact

H1: There is significantly positive impact of consumers’ attitude commitment on their cooperation commitment
H2: There is significantly positive impact of consumers’ attitude commitment on their public-praise commitment
H3: There is significantly positive impact of consumers’ attitude commitment on their tolerance commitment
H4: There is significantly positive impact of consumers’ attitude commitment on their continuance commitment

Consumers’ brand attitude commitment and impact

H5: There is significantly positive impact of organizational commitment on consumers’ brand behavior commitment
H6: There is significantly positive impact of affective commitment on consumers’ brand behavior commitment
H7: There is significantly positive impact of quality commitment on consumers’ brand behavior commitment
H8: There is significantly positive impact of economic commitment on consumers’ brand behavior commitment
H9: There is significantly positive impact of relationship commitment on consumers’ brand behavior commitment

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHOD

Operational definition and measurement items: Based on the questionnaires of survey company, related measurement items that put forward by Bhattacharya and Sen (2003), Fournier (1998), Algesheimer et al. (2005), Davis (2003), Wang (2006) and Zhang (2004) and consumers’ value desire, this study defines the operational definition of the variable on consumer’s attitude commitment and behavior commitment and designs the measurement items on the consumers’ brand attitude commitment dimension (including organizational commitment, affective commitment, quality commitment, economic commitment and relationship commitment) and behavior commitment dimension (including purchasing commitment, public-praise commitment, tolerance commitment and continuance commitment). The questionnaire that formed from the measurement items will adopt the Likert Seven Point Scale and 1 stands for totally disagree, while 7 stands for totally agree.

Sample selection: Sample selection requires that all respondents have actual brand-value-commitment experience; otherwise they can not make judgment. Usually, people use the shampoo and they have the experience in using shampoo. That is the respondents can understand the meaning of measure items. This questionnaire is by the way of sample selection.

Questionnaire preceding measure and revision: In order to guarantee the questionnaire’s exactness, there is a pretest. By giving a few questionnaires to some particular persons, it uses the Reliability Analyze of SPSS, calculates the correlation coefficient of the item-to-total, does the valid reliability analysis and considers taking out the item-to-total correlation which less than 0.5. Due to the fewer items on the latent variable and the caution of the research process, this study will adjust the item on the exploratory factor analysis after collecting all the formal questionnaires. Thus, all the lower items of the Item-to-total will be reserved temporarily.

Questionnaire investigation: This study puts the “questionnaire on awareness and behavior of consumers’ brand value commitment” on a particular system of network questionnaire (http://www.diaochapai.com). The survey objects are the students, friends and classmates.

Table 1: List of questionnaires and the recall

And the time is from March 27th, 2010 to September 20th, 2010. It gets list of questionnaires and the recall (Table 1).

DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

Descriptive statistics analysis: This study analyzes the questionnaire by the descriptive statistics analysis of SPSS17.0 and gets the respondents’ sample distribution. In this survey, 75% respondents are female; 80.3% respondents are 20-29 years old; 86.8% respondents are bachelor degree; 69.7% respondents are students, while 10.5% are company employees; in the shampoo brand distribution, the popular brands are Head and Shoulders, Rejoice, Pantene, Lux, the respective rate is 21.7, 20.4, 19.1 and 11.2%.

Reliability analyze on latent variable: Firstly, this study analyzes the Cronbach’s α value by the reliability analysis of SPSS and gets the reliability analysis result (Table 2). The table shows that all the Cronbach’s α value are more than 0.6 and indicates all the measure items are reliable. And then, this study uses the Reliability analyze of SPSS and calculates all measure items’ item-to-total correlation (Table 3). Due to the fewer measure items and to be cautious, although the item-to-total correlation of X1, Y2 and Y4 is less than 0.5, it will decide whether delete these three variables after doing the confirmatory factor analysis.

Validity analyze on latent variable
Content validity:
This questionnaire is basis on the theory, takes some scholars’ questionnaire and measure items for reference and revises the content aimed at the respondents. Thus, this study meets the requirement on the measure items and content validity of latent variable.

Construct validity: It contains convergent validity and discriminant validity. The way to check the convergent validity is to judge the standardized factor loading of measurement mode. If the coefficient is more than 0.6, it will show that there are high degree corresponding latent variables of some explicit variables (measure items) and that means this study is high convergent validity. Using the pearson related coefficient is the way to check the discriminant validity. If the related coefficient is less than 1, it will have the discriminant validity. The specific test and analysis of the construct validity are as follow.

Convergent validity test: This research adopts the Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and gets the Standardized Factor Loading in all latent variables and explicit variables (Table 4). To improve the validity of the variables, it should delete the variables which are less than 0.6. From Table 4, the explicit X1, X2, Y2 and Y4 will be deleted for their standardized factor loading of are lower than 0.6. Other coefficients are higher than 0.6, which means the degree is high (or acceptable).

Table 2: The reliability of the latent variable

Table 3: Item to total correlation of measure items and its corresponding latent variables
*Variable which the item to total correlation is lower than 0.5 and will be deleted

Table 4: Standardized factor loading of latent variables and explicit variables
*Variable which the item to total correlation is lower than 0.6 and will be deleted

Discriminant validity test: This research contains brand organizational commitment, brand affective commitment, brand quality commitment, brand economic commitment and brand relationship commitment. And it will calculate whether these five arguments have the discriminant validity. From Table 5, it shows every pearson correlation coefficient is lower than 1 (p<0.001), that means each argument have difference. In conclusion, the standardized factor loading by the confirmatory factor analysis and Pearson correlation coefficient measure up and the measure items meet the construct validity.

Structure mode analysis
Structure diagram:
There are 19 explicit variables in the primary mode of this research. After deleting 4 measure items by the item-to-total correlation coefficient and confirmatory factor analysis, there are 15 explicit variables to measure 6 implicit variables and check the mode’s structure relationship and the hypothesis.

Goodness of fit and modification of overall model: Firstly, through calculating the proposed model by the method of AMOS 5.0, it gets the Goodness of Fit Index (GFI) of absolute goodness of fit, value added goodness of fit and parsimonious fit. Making a comparison with ideal index, it finds that most indices can not fit. Secondly, through looking for the covariances of Modification Indices in AMOS Output, it modifies two suitable indices for SEM.

The specifics are: Releasing error variable and latent variable which both have covariant relationship, which is there is much large reduce on the Chi-square value and there is positive change on the expect parameters change value. On the part of the release parameters hypothesis, as soon as it amends a parameter, it will do the model test, check the decline of Chi-square and accept the amendment on the decline. All the former error variable and latent variable (can greatly reduce the chi-square value or greatly positively change expectations parameter value of the covariant relationship) will be amended till there is not any data (increase the path among the variables or set the covariant relationship between the error variables) need to be modified in the modification index. It shows the hypothesis model diagram is an acceptable path diagram. Thus, it gets the absolute goodness of fit, value added goodness of fit and parsimonious fit of the overall model’s goodness of fit (Table 6). And the fitness of this model is ideal through comparison the index result and the ideal value.

Estimate parameters: Through calculating the overall model and relevant data by the method of AMOS 5.0, it gets the standardized estimates of λx, λy (Table 7) and the result of the testable structural model of γ, β group (Table 8). According to Table 7 and 8, it draws the SEM model of consumers’ brand value commitment and behavior intention (Fig. 1).

Table 5: Pearson correlation coefficients of the independent variable
*p<0.05;**p<0.01;***p<0.001

Table 6: Goodness of fit of the SEM model
Meaning of upwards capital letters see service manual of AMOS

Table 7: The standardized estimates of CFA
*p<0.05;**p<0.01

Table 8: Path coefficient and test table of the SEM model
*p<0.05;**p<0.01

Fig. 1: SEM model on brand attitude commitments and behavior commitments of consumer

Hypothesis test: From Table 7, the correlation coefficient of consumers’ loyalty and purchasing commitment (repurchasing commitment), word-of-month commitment (recommendation to buy) and continuance commitment is 0.771, 0.666 and 0.682. When the p-value is lower than 0.01, it shows that there is significant positive impact of consumers’ brand attitude commitment on their repurchasing commitment, recommendation commitment and continuance commitment. The higher the brand value commitment is, the stronger the consumers’ repurchasing and recommendation intention is and the lower the preference to buy other brands. So, the hypothesis of H1, H2 and H4 establish. Because the standardized factor loading of tolerance commitment (crisis tolerance) is lower than 0.6, this item is deleted and H3 does not establish.

From Table 8 and Fig. 1, the correlation coefficient of brand organizational commitment and consumer loyalty and behavior is 0.241. It is significant at 0.01 and it shows that there is significant positive impact of brand organizational commitment on consumers’ loyalty and behavior. So, the hypothesis of H5 establishes. The correlation coefficient of brand affective commitment and consumer loyalty and behavior is 0.763 and it is significant at 0.01. That shows there is significant positive impact of brand affective commitment on consumer loyalty and behavior and H6 establishes. The correlation coefficient of brand quality commitment and consumer loyalty and behavior is 0.335 and it is significant at 0.01. That shows there is significant positive impact of brand quality commitment on consumer loyalty and behavior and H7 establishes. There is not significant impact of brand economic commitment on consumer loyalty and behavior and H8 does not establish. The correlation coefficient of brand relationship commitment and consumer loyalty and behavior is 0.156 and it is significant at 0.05. That shows there is significant positive impact of brand relationship commitment on consumer loyalty and behavior and H9 establishes.

CONCLUSION

This study constructs the attitude commitment and behavior commitment dimension of the brand value commitment and explores the impact of the consumers’ brand attitude commitment on their behavior commitment. The research makes a conclusion as follow: there is significantly positive impact of consumers’ brand attitude commitment on their purchasing commitment, public praise commitment and continuance commitment; there is significantly positive impact of organizational, affective, quality and relationship commitment on consumers’ brand behavior commitment. Although there is no demonstration on the tolerance commitment and economic commitment, this study provides the foundation for the theory of brand value commitment and qualitative analysis to some extent. Brand creates the value for the stakeholders and the brand gains the commitment from the value. In fact, the process of the brand building is that of creating the value by the stakeholders (Duncan and Moriarty, 2000; Zhang et al., 2008, 2013a; Jones, 2005).

This research provides the following management enlightenment for managers: (1) It should be keeping great insight into consumer’s value requirement and desire, organizing and setting up suitable communication mechanism and having a fully understanding on consumers’ brand value desire and expiration. It should be helpful for guiding and improving the brand management policy, management method and business strategy. (2) It should be satisfying consumers’ value requirement and expectation. Consumers fix their brand perception (confidence, identification, satisfaction and loyalty) by how satisfied they felt on the brand, which have the impact on their continued support, participation, cooperation and consuming behavior. Meanwhile, consumers’ word-of-month advertising will influence other consumers and their behavior. Thus, it is much important to set up the brand value commitment, internalize consumers’ knowledge, thought and information to the organizational resource and strength the consumers’ loyalty and behavior intention.

For example, the far east brand growth has the basic path step by step among “leadership characteristic, corporate culture, value commitment, organization, system and structure, management behavior and stakeholder value creation, satisfaction and active cooperation of stakeholder and brand growth”. At the same time, it concludes the five mechanisms of the Far East brand growth which are the establish the corporate culture of value commitment, adhere that the employees are the core to promote brand growth, import the model of total brand management, establish a good interaction between brand and stakeholders and do our best to create value for stakeholders (Zhang et al., 2013b).

The shortages of the study are as follows: (1) There is less measure items on the latent variable and it should addenda some items to enhance the reliability of the questionnaire, (2) It should do the separate and further research on the relationship variables because of the plain variable analysis and measure items, (3) The limited questionnaire situation and the fewer samples probable influence the result. Thus, in the future, it should focus more on the dimension, antecedents and scale development of the brand value commitment.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This study was supported by Humanities and Social Science Projects Organized by Ministry of Education (10YJC630148, 10YJC630078); Talent Introduction Scientific Research Projects of Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences.

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