Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Marketing

Major Professor

Solomon, Paul J.

Keywords

television, experiment, psychology, interpersonal, communication, qualitative

Abstract

One approach to communicating and thereby building a close relationship with consumers is via advertising. In other words, if service providers can invoke feelings of connection and intimacy--where consumers feel understood, cared for, and validated--through advertising, a stronger bond and sense of loyalty is likely to follow. When intimacy is conceived as knowing and being known by another, which incorporates mutual and reciprocal (though not necessarily equal) liking and vulnerability, its application extends beyond romantic relationships to the current context of relationship and services marketing.

This research provides empirical support for the use of intimacy as an appeal in services marketing advertising by operationalizing the concepts presented in Stern's (1997) article "Advertising Intimacy: Relationship Marketing and the Services Consumer." The methods employed range from exploratory focus groups and in-depth interviews to the generation of a ratings scale and experimental testing of intimacy appeals that account for individual differences (i.e., gender, need for affiliation and felt involvement).

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