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My final thesis for my Master's degree in Communication Studies. Graduated with honours (cum laude) from the University of Twente, the Netherlands, in 2011.
Many studies assume positive effects of brand authenticity on brand outcomes, yet empirical evidence is lacking. This thesis addresses this lack by testing the effect of cues signaling authenticity on purchase intention and overall brand rating, mediated by the participants’ perception of authenticity. Furthermore, based on recent theory that assumes processing of authenticity cues is contingent on consumer goals, it is predicted that this mediation is conditional. Mediation by perceived authenticity occurs more strongly when authenticity cues match participants’ desire for control, versus when it does not. An experimental study was conducted using an online 2 × 2 between-participants design with 236 participants. Results confirmed that authentic cues led to higher perceived authenticity, which in turn caused higher purchase intention and overall brand rating. Moreover this effect was stronger for participants with a high desire for control when cues were consistent with this desire.