Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Ponder, Nicole

Committee Member

Lueg, Jason E.

Committee Member

Collier, Joel E.

Committee Member

Shanahan, Kevin J.

Committee Member

Breazeale, Michael J.

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Worthy, Sheri

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis and Business Law


Brand advocacy occurs when consumers who feel very passionately about a brand seek to promote it to others and defend it against its naysayers. These consumers are valuable to brands as information between consumers is more easily and rapidly shared than ever before, and as consumer distrust of brand-sponsored messages is high. As a result, brands are dependent upon their brand advocates to leverage the perceived reliability of peer recommendations to recruit new customers. However, thus far in the marketing literature, an adequate conceptualization of brand advocacy has failed to emerge. Instead, when discussed, brand advocacy is often measured using a proxy variable such as positive word-of-mouth. It is the supposition of the author that these two constructs are not synonymous and using one as a proxy for the other severely limits researchers’ understanding of the brand advocacy and its impact. The goal of this research is to define brand advocacy and develop a valid scale to measure it. Following Churchill’s (1979) paradigm for scale development, a series of four studies were undertaken to validate the new scale. The first two studies are qualitative in nature and help identify the domains of brand advocacy. Based on the results of the first study, a series of depth interviews, and the second study, an open-ended questionnaire, the following definition of brand advocacy is put forth: Brand advocacy is a combination of customer-motivated behaviors, including proactively recommending the brand and defending the brand against detractors, intended to maintain the customer’s relationship with the brand and promote it to others. The construct was determined to be a higher-order construct comprising two distinct sets of behaviors that address advocates’ need to not only defend the brand to naysayers but also to proactively spread positive brand communications to others. The third and fourth studies use quantitative data to complete the scale development process by proposing and validating a nine-item scale to measure the multi-dimensional construct of brand advocacy as well as provide evidence that it is a distinct construct from PWOM. The results of this research provide a definition and valid scale of brand advocacy.