Fuzzy promises: explicative definitions of brand promise delivery

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This article clarifies the commonplace assumption that brands make promises by developing definitions of brand promise delivery. Distinguishing between clear and fuzzy brand promises, we develop definitions of what it is for a brand to deliver on fuzzy functional, symbolic, and experiential promises. We argue (a) that brands deliver fuzzy functional promises through encouraging and facilitating courses of actions that are conducive to the promised functionality; whereas (b) brands deliver fuzzy symbolic promises through encouraging and facilitating ways in which consumers can use brands as narrative material to communicate self-identity. Finally, (c) we propose that brands deliver fuzzy experiential promises through effectively motivating consumers to adopt and play a social role implicitly suggested and facilitated by the brand. A promise is an inherently ethical concept and the article concludes with an in-depth discussion of fuzzy brand promises as two-way ethical commitments that put requirements on both brands and consumers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarketing Theory
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)267-287
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 40902883