This paper aims to conceptualise attitudes towards brand genuinuity by developing and validating a psychometric scale through four studies. Study 1 generates a pool of potential scale items through a review of the literature, thesaurus search, focus groups, and expert surveys. Study 2 confrms the unidimensionality of the scale items using confrmatory factor analysis. Study 3 establishes convergent, discriminant, predictive, and nomological validity. Finally, Study 4 confrms the generalisability of the scale by applying it in a diferent context. The process resulted in a 5-item unidimensional scale measuring attitudes towards the brand’s genuinuity. The results demonstrated that brand genuinuity is a unique construct, and distinct from related concepts, brand sincerity, and brand heritage. The development and validation of the current scale fll an important gap in the advertising literature. It provides a better understanding of and mechanism to measure attitudes towards brand genuinuity, which could not be measured with previous scales. Likewise, the scale provides important insights for brand managers and will be an important tool for managers to test and confrm the degree to which new advertising material exhibits brand genuinuity.
Consumers are increasingly calling for brands to be genuine, and yet brands are struggling. The ‘2021 Global Marketing Trends’ report from Deloitte suggests that 66% of consumers were aware of brands which weren’t acting in consumers’ interests (Deloitte 2021). Likewise, a report from Stackla suggests that 51% of consumers feel that more than half of brand-created content doesn’t resonate with them. In contrast to this, 92% of marketers believed that their content was resonating with consumers as ‘authentic’ (‘Stackla Survey Reveals Disconnect Between the Content Consumers Want & What Marketers Deliver’ 2019). These reports show that there is a disconnect between brands and consumers, and there is a pressing need to better understand and measure what consumers perceive as ‘genuine’.
Limitations and future research
While the current paper has gone through a rigorous process to ensure the overall validity and generalisability of the newly developed brand genuinuity scale, there remains opportunity for further research to improve the generalisability and strength of the current scale. Firstly, there remains a need for a better understanding into how brand genuinuity might difer and hence be developed across a wider range of product categories (i.e. utilitarian versus luxury), product types (i.e. goods versus services), and market places contexts (i.e. individual versus group) (W. M. Lim, Phang, and Lim 2020). For example, some research has suggested that brand luxuriousness and brand genuinuity may actually be opposing forces (Ang and Lim 2006), and hence more research into how these dimensions interplay will be useful for both academics and researchers. Further, while this research compares and contrasts brand genuinuity with related terms, there remains other terms in the literature which the newly developed scale has not been explicitly tested against, such as brand authenticity. There is much cross-disciplinary research which suggests that these terms are conceptually diferent (Berger 1973; Richardson 1887; Akbar and Wymer 2017). However, there is a need to better understand how these concepts interplay within a branding context. This research was also largely based on consumers from western countries. However, previous research has suggested that in certain cultures, characteristic traits such as honesty and modesty are more important, and therefore this may also suggest that brand genuinuity may be perceived diferently in these cultures. Therefore, it would be useful for future research to explore how brand genuinuity might diferent across diferent cultures (both cross-country and within country). Finally, the current scale focuses largely on video advertisements. However, as modern business becomes more fast paced, and increasingly multi channelled, it would be useful to better understand how brand genuinuity might play out when the consumer engages in multi-channel and multi touchpoint interactions (i.e. social media, popup stores) with the brand (Weng Marc Lim et al. 2021).
Through the use of four studies, the current study has conceptualised attitudes towards the brand’s genuinuity, and developed and validated a new psychometric scale. As brands continue to explore options for resonating with consumers, researchers are encouraged to explore ways to incorporate the current newly developed scale into their research in the hope that a more fuller and well-developed body of literature can be built around this increasingly important concept.