Abstract: How can free publicity contribute to building high quality consumer-brand relationships or strong brands? This is an important question because building strong brands is the main objective of brand management. Consumers are more willing to receive communication messages from strong brands (Smit et al., 2007); consumers show a tendency to ignore negative communication more if it is related to strong brands (Oliver, 1999), and strong brands generate higher profits than weak brands (e.g. Bendapudi and Berry, 1997; Bendapudi and Leone, 2002; Bhattacharya and Sen, 2003; Blackston, 2000; Morgan and Hunt, 1994; O’Malley and Tynan, 2001; Reichheld, 1996; Winer, 2001). Hence the aim of brand managers should be to establish high quality consumer-brand relationships.
Keywords: consumer-brand relationship, brand relationship quality, free publicity, public relations