The role of brand sustainability and self-brand image congruity in developing brand trust and brand loyalty : A study on luxury brands for Generation consumers
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- Master Thesis 
Generation Z consumers are forecasted to become the most influential generation in the next years for the purchase of luxury goods. Understanding their needs and behaviors is becoming more and more crucial for luxury companies, in order to be able to attract and retain them as customers. On one side, Gen Z seems to particularly search for meanings behind the purchase of luxury goods, looking at the brand image and symbolic interpretation of brands. On the other side, they are extremely concerned about the environment and for this reason they require brands to take serious actions in terms of sustainability. Therefore, this thesis is focused in understanding the impacts of a brand's sustainability attributes on the creation of self-image congruity between the customer and the brand, as well as on the creation of brand trust, and consequently in the building of brand loyalty. In order to explore these themes, an online survey has been conducted directed to this target and focused on the fragrances sector. In the scope of this study, respondents were randomly exposed to one scenario about the brand Guerlain, leader in the luxury fragrances sector, in which a core or peripheral sustainability attribute was presented. Through the survey, it was possible to measure the self-image congruity perception of consumers, as well as their trust towards the brand and their propension to be loyal. Findings showed that self-brand congruity impacts both brand trust and brand loyalty, and that also brand trust influences the loyalty towards the brand. Moreover, other factors have been found to influence the creation of brand loyalty, which are the consumer product involvement, the perceived functional quality, the brand attitude and the environmental consciousness of consumers. Lastly, it was possible to observe that Generation Z consumers are extremely environmental conscious. This thesis provides insights and confirmation about Generation Z's attitudes and behaviors towards luxury brands. Therefore, managers of luxury companies should carefully focus on the symbolic meaning they are conveying, in order to transmit meaningful values to the consumers, also in terms of sustainability, to be able in the end to target and keep them as customers.
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