Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Engelland, Brian T.

Committee Member

Collier, Joel E.

Committee Member

Kellermanns, Franz

Committee Member

Moore, Melissa

Committee Member

Moore, Robert

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis and Business Law


Brands can often be highly capable of linking individuals to one another. Many brand admirers feel a psychological connection with one another, a feeling referred to in this dissertation as perceived connectedness to brand users (PCBU). Though this connection has been almost wholly studied among brand consumer engaged in recurrent brand-oriented social interaction (i.e. brand communities), brand consumers need not be engaged in social interaction in order to feel an implicit connection with one another. In this dissertation, a collection of individuals who feel a connection with a brand’s consumers, while engaging in minimal to no recurrent brand-oriented social interaction, is referred to as a brand collectivity. This dissertation provides insight as to how PCBU affects members of brand communities and brand collectivities and has six objectives: 1) to demonstrate the distinctiveness of PCBU as a construct; 2) to examine the consequences of perceived connectedness to brand users; 3) to examine antecedents of perceived connectedness to brand users; 4) to examine antecedents of self-brand connection; 5) to examine antecedents of brand user identification; 6) to investigate the moderating effect of enduring involvement on the relationships between perceived connectedness to brand users and its antecedents; and 7) to compare the hypothesized model of PCBU among members of brand collectivities and brand communities. Data were gathered from owners of the iPod, a subsidiary brand of MP3 players from Apple. Cluster analyses were used to classify respondents as members of either a brand community or a brand collectivity. An empirical examination of PCBU revealed that PCBU influences the perceived influence that their members’ feel they have over the meaning of a brand to others and that self-brand connection and brand user identification are antecedents of PCBU. Self-brand connection is significantly influenced by consumers’ perceived similarity to the brand and their opposition of competing brands; brand user identification is affected only by the latter. Neither group membership nor enduring involvement was found to have a moderating influence on the hypothesized model of PCBU. Overall, PCBU and significant differences between brand communities and brand collectivities are shown to affect consumer behavior.