Of course we want customers to like our brand. But recent research suggests that an even more important driver of brand equity is brand attachment.

Brand attachment represents the emotional bond that consumers have between a brand and themselves. (Ahhhh! That's the cologne he wore on our wedding day!)

Consumers who are emotionally attached to a brand don't just like it, they love it. (Think Mickey and Minnie, Ben & Jerry, Harley-Davidson!) That is, they feel connected to it, regard it with a great deal of affection, and feel a great deal of brand passion.

This isn't just speculation: data based on a measure of brand attachment shows that it strongly predicts a consumer's loyalty. It does so even after taking into account the effects of strong brand attitudes, brand involvement, and customer satisfaction. None of these factors score as high as a true brand attachment.

The advice for marketers? Rather than asking whether your marketing activities induce brand liking, see if they enhance brand attachment. Does your brand offer a sentimental link to special occasions or activities? If so, consider that focus in your next promotion.

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