This research examined the relationship between consumers’ self-brand connections (SBCs) and psychological distance toward a brand (Study 1) and empirically tested the matching principle in which construal levels of ad messages (high vs. low) should be congruent with a target market’s SBCs to maximize ad effectiveness (Studies 2 and 3). Study 1 found when consumers had stronger SBCs, they felt a closer psychological distance toward the brand. Meanwhile, Studies 2 and 3 revealed that participants in the weak SBCs condition responded to high-level construals (or abstractly-framed ads) more favorably than to low-level construals (or concretely-framed ads). However, no difference by the ad construals was found for the strong SBCs condition, indicating that a brand with relatively weak SBCs is more conducive to the matching principle than one with strong SBCs is.
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