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Developing brand relationship theory for festivals: a study of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Todd, Louise A



Ian Seymour Yeoman

Martin Robertson

Una McMahon-Beattie

Elisa Backer

Karen Smith



Relationship principles prevail in consumer marketing practice where brands are imbued with human traits to strengthen their consumer appeal. The brand-as-a-person metaphor has gained momentum in consumer research (Aaker, J. 1997; Aaker, J., Benet-Martinez and Garolera 2001; Aaker, J., Fournier and Brasel 2004; Azoulay and Kapferer 2003; Patterson 1999). Consequently, the related concept of consumer-brand relationships has attracted interest (Aggarwal 2004; Fournier 1998, 2009; Hess and Story 2005; MacInnis, Park and Priester 2009). Tourism research has applied brand personality constructs to destination branding and image (e.g. Ekinci and Hosany 2006; Hosany, Ekinci and Uysal 2006; Murphy, Moscardo and Benckendorff 2007). Nevertheless, brand relationship theory remains unused in developing equitable and differentiated festival brands contributing to future survival and success (Aaker, D. 1991).

This chapter proposes the significance of brand relationship theory to future festivals. With forecasted shifts in festival marketing, production and consumption (Ringland 2006; Schultz 2006) it is essential for festivals to foster strong, competitive and resonant future brands. These can competitively differentiate festivals and build valuable equity with consumers (Aaker, D. 1991). Further, positive, sustainable, stable and interactive festival-consumer brand relationships can successfully engage consumers (Fournier 1998).

A study of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (The Fringe) is presented to illustrate the potential value of the festival-consumer brand relationship paradigm. Fournier’s (1998) consumer-brand relationship research is applied to the setting of the Fringe and its consumers where phenomenological interviews reveal a typology of festival consumer-brand relationship forms. Although specific to the Fringe setting, this application of brand relationship theory provides a revealing account of consumers’ engagement with festival brands. This is relevant and applicable to future festivals in contributing to theory and brand management practice.

In considering the significance of contemporary Fringe consumer-brand relationships to future festivals, this chapter applies marketing scenario planning principles (Pattinson and Sood 2010; Ringland 2006). It also draws upon Bergman, Karlsson, and Axelsson’s (2010) ontological typology of future forecasts. The application of these to statements on the future assists in understanding the future of festivals, as this may be. The present study thus presents a prediction forecast of a future festivals scenario. Its drivers are based upon a potential scenario exploring the future (Ringland 2006) while founded on today’s standard world (Khan and Weiner 1967). This chapter therefore presents a future view where the festival brand relationship paradigm will be a useful and rewarding strategic marketing approach to engage consumers.

Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date Jun 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 157-176
Book Title The Future of Events and Festivals
ISBN 978-0-415-82462-0
Keywords Branding; festivals; consumer marketing; brand-as-a-person; Edinburgh Festival Fringe;
Public URL
Contract Date Jun 5, 2015


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