You are on page 1of 10

World Applied Sciences Journal 13 (2): 277-286, 2011 ISSN 1818-4952 © IDOSI Publications, 2011

The Effects of Brand Image and Perceived Public Relation on Customer Loyalty
Kambiz Heidarzadeh Hanzaee and Fatemeh Torabi Farsani Department of Business Management, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
Abstract: This paper discusses the effect of brand image and perceived public relation on customer loyalty. Data were collected via a questionnaire distributed to LG Electronics consumers in Tehran. Hierarchical regression analysis of data from 385 respondents was used to test two hypotheses. The results show that perceived public relation has a positive relationship with customer loyalty and that this relation is moderated by brand image. When brand image is favorable, the positive effect of perceived public relation on customer loyalty is significant. Further research should examine the role of public relations in relationship marketing. Key words:Perceived Public Relation % Customer Loyalty % Brand Image % Altruistic Motives % Reputation % LG's Electronics Co. INTRODUCTION Attracting new customers remains an important marketing management task. However, today's companies must also focus on retaining current customers and building profitable, long-term relationships with them. The key to customer retention is superior customer value and satisfaction [1]. Loyal customers are more likely to repurchase the same service or brand, provide positive word-of-mouth and be willing to pay a premium price [2]. Public relations (PR) is defined by Grunig and Hunt (1984) as "management of communication between an organization and its public," while Ledingham and Bruning (1998) define PR as "relationship management." Cutlip et al. (2006) argue that PR is "the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success and failure depends." Similarly, Dozier and Lauzen (2000) argue that defining PR as a management function is a "myopic focus" on PR theory, particularly at the organizational level (p. 529) [3]. Higher customer loyalty implies a higher market share and an ability to demand relatively higher prices compared to those of competitors [4]. One major promotional tool is public relations, which refers to building good relationships with the company's public by obtaining favorable publicity, building a good corporate image and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories and events [1]. Three factors for creating permanent relationships with customers are conversational reciprocity, reciprocal empathy and reciprocal vulnerability, which are effective via messages that allow information to flow and trust to build. People seek cues in their relationships to guide them toward behavior that gains social acceptance, a condition necessary for a sense of personal validity. Relationships also provide us with sources that help us fulfill our agendas. Relationships are integral for our beliefs in both worldly and spiritual contexts [5]. One of the greatest challenges facing firms today is how to gain an advantage over competitors in satisfying customer needs. This is being driven primarily by more demanding customers. Hence, businesses must be able to show more concern for customers than the competition in order to gain any competitive advantage. A disparate group of leaders of successful firms have reported enjoying a unique and sustained competitive advantage by showing greater concern for customers; this was achieved by focusing on building strong relationships [6]. Moreover, many practitioners and managers believe that effective press relations and the purported goodwill that results, positively influence key public members to be favorably predisposed toward the organization, inferring that enhanced organizational image is linked to key public members’ behavior. As a result of its journalistic heritage, public relations have generally been practiced using a mass communication perspective in which message creation, dissemination and measurement are the primary focus [7].

Corresponding Author: Kambiz Heidarzadeh Hanzaee, Department of Business Management, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran, E-mail: heidarzadeh@srbiau.ac.ir.

277

the professional relationship influence key public members’ evaluations of satisfaction. However. It is important that public relations practitioners manage an organization’s public relationships using a two-way symmetrical model. 2011 H1 Perceived public relation H2 Customer loyalty Brand image Fig. This research shows that maintain relationships with customers via public relations is very effective for future loyalty [8]. 1: Conceptual model Although past scholars have not produced consistent findings on the dimensions of establishing relationship quality. we describe the research method. Brand image and perceived public relation are important variables that help consumers understand process. Consequently. It is necessary to take into account the separate effects of positive and negative brand images when analyzing PR results [4].World Appl. Consumers reward ethical behavior with a willingness to pay higher prices for a firm’s product. Creation.. consumers believe that their purchase behavior is influenced by ethical and unethical corporate actions. According to Creyer and Ross (1997). to a lesser degree. Literature Review: Figure 1 shows the research model underlying our study. PPR has a positive relationship with customer loyalty and brand image plays a moderating role between PPR and customer loyalty. The model begins with customer perceived public relation (PPR) provided by a home appliances supplying company. We first develop a conceptual model with supporting research hypotheses. professional and community relationships. Sci. retention and extension of this mutual relationship lead to customer loyalty. recall and recognize information. If consumers’ self-concepts and perceptions of characteristics. Based on Figure 1. relational benefits also have an indirect effect on customer loyalty via perceived value. because the relationship is strengthened when customers perceive benefits beyond their satisfaction with the core product. Respondents’ perceptions of the personal relationship and. personal and community relationships affect key public members’ satisfaction. which are presented through PR efforts. which is very important in communication [7]. empirical results indicate that the relationship between corporations and customers is increasingly intimate and that this benefits the enhancement of customer loyalty in the long run. However. Fortunato (2000) reported that public relations and promotional strategies play a prominent role in selecting and framing mass media content that could influence public opinion and behavior. Higher consumer selfcongruence enhances the establishment of commitment and meaningful relationships with the organization and 278 . In the triangular relationship among public relations. Next. The data suggest that public relations programmatic initiatives should be based on multidimensional relationship building strategies designed to enhance key public members’ perceptions of personal. how existing brand image (especially negative brand image) impacts on the effectiveness of PR has received very little attention. Chen and Hui Hu (2009) believe that customers also benefit in other ways from long-term associations with firms. associations and values are identical to those of the company conducting PR activities. Relational benefits have a direct effect on perceived value and customer loyalty. mass media and the audience. the study findings are presented and the managerial and research implications as well as limitations are discussed. which. they want to do so at lower prices. the purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of brand image and perceived public relation activities on customer loyalty. Finally. in effect. J. Perceived relationship benefits add to the perceived value of the product. Some studies show that the inconsistent results might be caused by a moderator such as brand association. previous research has not produced consistent results regarding the factors that positively affect consumer perception of public relations (PRP) practice. The ultimate goal of a public relations program should be to build a mutually beneficial relationship with key public members. punish the unethical act [9]. then consumers attach a higher degree of acceptance of the company. Although they may buy from an unethical firm. it has been demonstrated through public relations strategies that a company is proactive in assisting the mass media content selection and framing processes. 13 (2): 277-286. Consumers’ reactions to PR depend on their levels of self-congruence and how their expectations match the company’s properties. which positively influences loyalty. In addition. Professional.

that is. This implies that image impacts satisfaction via quality. while the company’s reputation has a broader influence on perceptions of customer value and customer loyalty. Sci. [14]. In addition. The indirect influence is via satisfaction. No significant link between satisfaction and loyalty has been found [12]. Balmer (2001) believes that company reputation is linked with the organisation’s values. there is no indirect effect between store image and customer loyalty. As a result. 279 . Considering the committed relationship between customer and corporation. even through satisfaction. then thoughts about using the product and about how the product fits with self-image are significant predictors of brand and attitude. Brand image has a more specific influence on customer loyalty. the first hypothesis is stated as follows: H1: Customer PPR will be positively related to customer loyalty. similarly. vision and purpose. while the brand images will be specific to the particular product category. it can be expected to have a broader influence.. In these situations the reputation associated with the company’s name acts as the umbrella brand for the range of product categories. Alternatively. We also found no indirect effect of image through satisfaction. when advertising encourages consumers to think only about product quality. The image congruence hypothesis states that consumers should have favorable attitudes and purchase intentions toward brands perceived to be congruent with their self-image and relatively less favorable attitudes toward brands perceived to be incongruent with their selfimage. organizations’ PR practices can raise consumers’ self-congruence: the higher the self-congruence. when consumers commit an unfavorable brand image to memory. the organization’s aggressive pursuit of PR activities can conflict with consumers’ perceptions about the corporation’s reputation. Corporate image relative to other factors such as satisfaction has a stronger effect on customer loyalty while the customer satisfaction has no significant effect on loyalty. which can lead to consumers being skeptical about the sincerity of the organization’s actions. the higher the consumer loyalty [4]. which can generate brand loyalty [17]. although these effects may have a lesser degree of importance [11]. Corporate image plays the dominant role when explaining future loyalty.World Appl. If there is congruence between brand image and self-image. thoughts about using the product and about how the product fits with self-image have no effect on attitude [16]. Therefore. Moreover. In business markets it is common for the company’s name to also be the brand name across a range of product groups. The effects from corporate image are by far higher than those from overall satisfaction. the more committed the customer is to it. Bloemer and Ruyter (1997) imply that the effect of store image on loyalty corresponds to satisfaction with the store. the higher the level of customer commitment toward the brand and the higher price tolerance. 2011 intensifies customer loyalty. Thus. So the reputation would lead to customer loyalty via trust that customers can achieve through public relation activities [15]. the different influences that they have on the processes that create perceptions of customer value and customer loyalty for the company’s products [15]. such as relationships with customers and social motives. In other words. On the contrary. A negative attitude can also arise from skepticism over an organization’s honesty and fairness in executing PR activities [4]. store image has an indirect effect on store loyalty through store satisfaction [10]. corporate image and customer satisfaction with the corporation's performance significantly explain the variance in customer loyalty [13]. Therefore. 13 (2): 277-286. This means it may have a more direct impact on perceptions of customer value and customer loyalty. This could be due to consumers’ lack of trust in organizations. However. attitudes and behaviors. have an indirect effect on customer loyalty. J. The higher the level of trust in a brand. other factors. Peeters (1998) expressed that image does not have a direct positive effect on loyalty. then proactive PR perceived by customers will be more congruent to corporate reputation and consumers are better able to maintain positive beliefs. favorable brand image can enhance the PR effects and boost customer loyalty. Corporate image is positively related to customer loyalty. the second hypothesis of this study can be stated as follows: H2: The relationship between PPR and customer loyalty is moderated by brand image and the tendency for PPR to be positively related to customer loyalty will be more significant when brand image is high rather than low. we found that quality has a direct and an indirect impact on loyalty. Unfavorable brand image leads to a negative halo effect and negatively influences other brand associations. When brand image is favorable. there is a strong relationship between image and future loyalty. Contrary to the previous research.

age. Control Variable: Following the work of previous researchers. the value of a product or service. we take the broad view that an unfavorable brand image is generally considered to be undesirable from the consumers’ perspective. This study operationally defines altruistic motives as a company’s ethical behavior. Loyalty occurs when customers purchase only from a certain company in the future and recommend the company to others. disposable income and altruistic motives [4]. thereby causing repetitive same-brand or same brand-set purchasing. while those over age 43 comprised 9. needs. such as publicity. A proportional stratified sampling was applied. After more investigation and consideration of PR activities for different companies. J. which is more willing to participate in PR activities than the manufacturing industry. Amin Hozoor and Shariati) for home appliances in Tehran city. feelings and expectations [18].3%. The study focused on the service industry.7% of the total sample and females (n=186) accounting for 48. Brand image will have an impact on customers' buying behavior and is an important variable that positively or negatively influences marketing activities. or activities of the organization [18]. it sometimes refers to a form of benevolence toward others or a form of utilitarianism (ibid). 13 (2): 277-286. with scale anchors ranging from “1” (strongly disagree) to “5” (strongly agree). Public relations seeks to make use of publicity and other nonpaid forms of promotion and information in order to influence feelings or opinions about a company. This study measured PPR using an eight-item scale adapted from the works of Devellis (1991) and Hsieh and Kai Li (2008). Perception is the cognitive impression that is formed of reality. This study measured brand image as a moderator variable using a three-item scale adapted from the works of Park et al.6 % of the total sample holding bachelor’s degrees or higher. stimulus factors and situational determinants. (1996) and Hsieh and Kai Li (2008). The study used a five-point Likert scale. despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior" (p. Adopting convenience sampling. which in turn influences the individual's actions and behavior toward that object. Brand image is the perception of a brand in the minds of individuals. Most of the participants were well educated (n=218). or services. we controlled several variables including sex. 2011 Method Sample and Data Collection: Samples for this study comprised consumers of the LG Electronics Company (Goldiran Company) in Tehran who had actual experiences purchasing home appliances. 280 . Sci. with 47. Brand image is a mirror reflection (though perhaps inaccurate) of the brand personality or product. we determined LG Electronics to be the best choice among home appliance supplying companies that participate in PR activities. events.. Oliver (2006) defines customer loyalty as "a deeply held commitment to re-buy or re-patronize a preferred product/service consistently in the future. which results in attractiveness to customers and generates customer loyalty. Perceived public relation (PPR) is defined as the individual's perception of public relations activities of the company and serves as the independent variable. Altruism is generally seen as positive but does not always denote self-sacrifice. Finally. Measures: Individuals perceive objects. In this research. The majority of respondents (about 37. It is what people believe about a brand and includes their thoughts. 246 valid questionnaires were collected indicating companies with a good brand image and 139 indicating companies with a poor brand image.9% of the total sample. The sample was selected from consumers of LG Electronics based on three main markets (Jomhori. The total sample of 385 represented an effective response ratio with males (n=199) accounting for 51. This study measured customer loyalty as a dependent variable using a five-item scale adapted from the works of Zeithaml et al. its products. This study measured altruistic motives using a three-item scale adapted from the works of Webb and Mohr (1998) and Hsieh and Kai Li (2008). beliefs. This study operationally defines public relations as a set of activities that illustrates the reputation of the company and attracts customers to the company. we asked consumers to respond to questions about the home appliances with which they are familiar. This study operationally defines customer loyalty as the possibility of a returning customer repurchasing from company and willing to behave with them as a partner. This study operationally defines brand image as the ability to influence customer perception of the goods and services offered. 272) [19]. charity and sponsorship. (1986) and Hsieh and Kai Li (2008).7%) were between the ages of 26 and 31. or people in the world around them based on prior attitudes.World Appl.

but other control variables such as sex. four control variables were entered into the regression: altruistic motives. a questionnaire is translated from one language into another and then a second party translates it back into the original language.25% of the variance in customer loyalty. This process pinpoints misinterpretations and misunderstandings before they reach the public [21]. Face validity considers whether experts confirm that the tool measures the understandable concepts (ibid). Respondents of this research expressed their opinions about sentences.05). the overall explanation power increased by 9. the model accounted for 0. PPR has positive and significant influences on customer loyalty ($ = 0. gender.342.89% for customer loyalty. In back translation. must be written perfectly. Next.6. To assess the reliability of the questionnaire. so the questions were revised to be more explicit. H0 considers that.01). was added to the regression. r = . Overall. RESULT Factor analysis with varimax rotation is used for combination questions in order to create variables of perceived public relation.7%. After confirming the existence of a relationship between these two variables. The Cronbach alphas for all variables in the second pre-test stage using a small sample of 50 respondents were satisfactory. the final questionnaire was amended and face validity was provided. The percentage of the variance explained was 63.144% of the variance in customer loyalty. the more willing that consumers will be to purchase the organization’s products and to recommend those products and services to friends and relatives. The obvious solution of having a questionnaire prepared or reviewed by a native speaker of the language of the country is frequently overlooked.6 are considered satisfactory. p < 0. the first pre-test stage was conducted on a small sample of 50 respondents.21% for PPR. p < 0. PPR. 66. Thus. Exploratory factor analysis is used to reduce the number of variables by combining two or more variables into a single factor. Cronbach alphas after two pretest stages with 50 respondents were all higher than 0. Altruistic motives was significantly related to customer loyalty ($ = 0.436). the Cronbach alpha for altruistic motives was 0. 2011 Validity: Validity assesses whether each item has been measured correctly. It seems that the questions on altruistic motives were vague. hierarchical regression analysis was used to investigate the degree of PPR influence on customer loyalty. Overall. 69. statements and words in the questionnaire during two pre-test stages. the back translation technique was used to help eliminate translation errors. As a result.29% for brand image and 62. brand image and altruistic motives. A factor loading of greater than or equal to 0. 281 . J.6. Thus. Varimax rotation is often used in surveys to see how groupings of items measure the same concept [22]. face validity was used. The information gained about interdependencies can be used later to reduce the number of variables in a data set. The first hypothesis is as below: H1: Customer PPR is positively related to customer loyalty. Testing Research Hypotheses: We tested the hypotheses using hierarchical regression and Pearson's correlation coefficient. we can conclude that the questionnaire is valid and reliable. Insufficient or unsuitable measurement can damage scientific research [20]. the independent variable. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to analyze the relationship between PPR and customer loyalty. If not.05. there is no relationship between PPR and customer loyalty while H1 considers that there is a relationship between PPR and customer loyalty. customer loyalty. In this research.World Appl.7% for altruistic motives (Table 1). H1 is strongly supported (p < . PPR has a positive relationship with customer loyalty. Reliability: The reliability of multi-item or ordinal scales was determined by computing Cronbach alphas.5 was used as the benchmark to include items in a factor. Variances greater than 0. as shown in Table 3. Thus. PPR and customer loyalty have a relationship with each other. First. After obtaining the result. the model accounted for 0.. Moreover. age and disposable income.469. 13 (2): 277-286. As Table 2 shows. including the research questionnaire.56. Sci. consumers and customers will not respond accurately or even at all. This result supports H1 of this study and indicates that the higher the level of consumer perception of an organization’s PR activities. but the other variables had satisfactory values. age and disposable income did not have a significant effect in this model. The minimum amount of Cronbach alphas in behavioral science variables is 0. All marketing communication.

468 .241 49.11 .75 Table 2: Result of Pearson's correlation coefficient test between PPR and customer loyalty Variables PPR and customer loyalty Notes:* Denotes p < .86 3.68 .88 .004 Standardized coefficients 0 .58 . Hsieh and Kai Li (2008)] Recommend Say positive things Encourage First choice Repurchase 3.922 Step 2 -----------------------------------------------------------------------$ -.50 .50 Customer loyalty [Zeithaml et al.14 .007 .51 66.306 -.81 3.96 .29 1.001* 0.72 .879 0.65 .81 Altruistic motives [Webb and Mohr (1998).99 1.66 3..81 3.95 Brand image [Park et al (1986).83 2. Sci.94 .81 3.01 .78 .117 0.436 P-Value 0.21 Continuity Important PR activities (product-related) Sponsorship Expenditure Message release Two-way communication Crisis management 3.89 1.05 .46 1.54 .342 p-value .032 .90 .048 .000* 0.05 1.85 3.65 .90 .96 1. 2011 Table 1: Results of EFA and CFA Variables Mean SD Factor loading Variance Perceived public relation [Devellis (1991). Hsieh and Kai Li (2008)] Symbolic benefit Experiential benefit Functional benefit 3.97 .99 1.089 .144 17.45 3.029 .11 .000* .469 -.66 1.21 .88 3.026 .178 .035 . Hsieh and Kai Li (2008)] Help others Give feedback Implement social responsibilities 3.005 p-value 0. Hsieh and Kai Li. (1996). (2008)] 63.611 .076 .52 69.7 1.97 2.153 .62 3.64 3.342 .000* Standardized coefficients 0 .50 .000* $ -1.05 Table 3: Regression analysis of the relationship between PPR and customer loyalty Hierarchical Regression Analysis -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Step 1 -----------------------------------------------------------------------Variables Constant Altruistic motives Sex Age Disposable income PPR R square Adjusted R square change F Significant F change Notes:* Denotes p < .09 1.000* . 13 (2): 277-286.250 .16 4.00 .51 3.68 4.253 -.006 .00 1.01 1.62 .464 0.14 .85 3. J.62 3.388 -.48 .85 .000* r .153 .96 .World Appl.54 62.000* 282 .00 1.

08 -. how to maintain or even enhance consumer loyalty has become an important success indicator for companies.07 .05. Hsieh and Kai Li (2008) found that consumer reaction to PR depends on levels of self-congruence and how consumer expectations match the company’s properties presented through PR efforts.000** Standardized coefficients 0 .43 -. However. 2011 Table 4: Moderating effects of brand image Hierarchical Regression Analysis ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Favorable Brand Image N=246 -----------------------------------------------------------------------Variables Constant Altruistic motives Sex Age Disposable income PPR R square Adjusted R square change F Significant F change $ . for the unfavorable brand image group (n = 139).54 .1 . 13 (2): 277-286.37 -.01 . Relative to organizations with unfavorable brand images. the standardized regression coefficient was significant for PPR ($ = 0. R2 = 0. so brand image will have a negative effect.11 -.000** Unfavorable Brand Image N=139 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------$ -1.84 .145 4. favorable brand image has a positive effect on customer loyalty.9 0.87 .01* Notes:* Denotes p < .4 . This hypothesis shows that the relation between PPR and customer loyalty is moderated by brand image. when p < 0.001 H2: The relationship between PPR and customer loyalty is moderated by brand image and the tendency for PPR to be positively related to customer loyalty will be more significant when brand image is high rather than low.496 .01. p < 0. For favorable brand image. The first hypothesis was supported. when p < 0. Therefore. Bernays (1980) suggests that “public relation is the practice of social responsibility” (p.01 . When PR activities increase.08 .3 -.211).4.05. 283 DISCUSSION This study explains the influence of PPR on customer loyalty by investigating whether attitudes toward brand image affect this relationship. Sci.04 -.58 . It was found that the effect of PPR on customer loyalty is stronger and more significant when brand image is favorable.49 .363 p-value .66 . but unfavorable brand image has a negative effect. R2 = 0. this study performed a split-group analysis. Empirical results indicate that the higher the consumer’s perception of PR. (1996) argues that in today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing environment. If a consumer’s selfconcept and perception of characteristics.000** .16 .211 14.01. associations and values are identical to those of the company.227 . 0.01. 368) [23]. Thus. Table 4 indicates that brand image moderated the relation between PPR and customer loyalty. the standardized coefficient for PPR was not significant ($ = 0. The sample was initially arranged in ascending order of brand image but split along the median (m = 3. Zeithaml et al..04 .001* Standardized coefficients 0 . To test the effect of the brand image.146 -. the model accounted for 0.666) to form two groups: favorable brand image and unfavorable brand image [4]. H2 of this study is also supported.036 -.380 . For the favorable brand image group (n = 246). p <. the higher the level of customer loyalty.211% of the variance in customer loyalty. Clark (2000) states that public relations is actually an attempt to restore and maintain a sense of community and that public relations today is best practiced as community relations—an essential function for a company interested in preserving a good reputation.000** 0. the PPR effect in organizations with favorable brand images is more significant. there is no significant relationship between PPR and customer loyalty. customer perception will be affected and loyalty will increase. This result demonstrates that the effect of PPR on customer loyalty differs according to the acceptance level of brand images.World Appl.01 . Higher consumer self-congruence enhances the establishment of commitment and meaningful .089 0. PPR has a positive influence on customer loyalty.145). ** Denotes p < . then consumers attach a higher degree of acceptance of the company.05 .16. the relation between PPR and customer loyalty is significant and strong.045 -.17 p-value 0. For unfavorable brand image. J. So company’s dedication to the practice of PR is worthwhile because PR can definitely enhance customer loyalty [4]. that is.04 -.01 .

CONCLUSION Managerial implications for the practice of PR have emerged from the study. investment and commitment influence loyalty when relationship-building activities are known by public members [7]. when brand image is unfavorable. involvement. their attitudes toward the company will be positive. the higher the PPR. the effect varies widely and the halo effect of brand image is undisputed. Sci. organizations’ PR practices can raise consumers’ self-congruence. customer loyalty will decrease if customers perceive a negative image of the company. consequently. home appliance supplying companies seek ways to enhance brand image and gain customer loyalty. 13 (2): 277-286. the higher the self-congruence.19). In contrast. Customers doubt the PR activities of the company and have no interest in them. As a result. Thus. The result of this study shows that. however.95). Customers believe that a company with a favorable brand image handles consumer comments sincerely and will recommend this company to their friends or relatives.World Appl. a company’s messages have higher congruence with consumer perception. and loyalty will increase. It behooves the practitioner to assist in the gatekeeping processes of selecting and framing mass media content without simply relying on a mass media interpretation of events. The effect of PPR on customer loyalty differs with the level of acceptance of brand image. Although many public relations initiatives involve using mass media to reach the audience. Moreover. Regarding the second hypothesis. the higher the level of consumer loyalty [4]. on the contrary. openness. it is possible that consumers might interpret such companies with unfavorable brand image as not attending to their duties [4]. that is. The relationship management perspective fundamentally shifts the practice of public relations away from manipulating public opinion with communication messages and toward combining symbolic communication messages and organizational behaviors to build and maintain mutually beneficial organization-public relationships [7]. 284 . it is imperative for the public relations practitioner to understand that they are very much a power broker in the public relations. When brand image is favorable. we found that the relationship between PPR and customer loyalty is influenced by brand image. Since PR activities cannot help but raise product value. When brand image is favorable. PPR has a positive relationship with customer loyalty. When brand image is unfavorable and a company’s resources are limited. Conversely. J. Perceptions of organization-public relationships influence symbolic and behavioral actions of key public members. the company should focus on creating trust through their PR activities. when brand image is unfavorable. many practitioners and managers believe that effective press relations and the purported goodwill that results. the higher the level of customer loyalty. when brand image is favorable. the customer perception of PR activities will be congruent with the customer's selfconcept. It is the responsibility of the public relations practitioner to develop and implement strategies that proactively advocate the organization that they represent in the most positive manner [8]. consumers doubt the altruistic motives of companies with an unfavorable image (mean = 2.. Thus. the customer's attitude toward the company will be negative and loyalty will decrease. The effect of PPR on customer loyalty will be positive and more significant when brand image is high. In today’s globally competitive market. PR associated with unfavorable brand image has no significant effect on customer loyalty despite the extra effort. This study clearly proves that customer loyalty is quantitatively and qualitatively influenced by PPR. mass media and audience relationship. a company’s messages differ greatly from consumer perception. 2011 relationships with the organization and intensifies customer loyalty. that is. suggesting that enhanced organizational image is linked to public members’ behavior. Therefore. this relation will be influenced by brand image. Bruning and Ledingham (2000) note that using effective press relations to manage issues enhances organizational image and creates a sense of goodwill among the public. positively influences on public members to be favorably predisposed toward the organization. heavy investment in PR efforts can reduce the amount of resources dedicated to product-related activities. Although a company’s investments in PR activities generally enhance company-consumer relationships. Perceptions of trust. Hsieh and Kai Li (2008) note that PR prompts the redistribution of resources. the company’s objectives are more difficult to achieve. As a whole. the customer perception will decrease and there is no congruence between PR activities and customer attitude. the customer’s attitude toward the company is positive and consumers are willing to believe that PR activities are altruistic (mean = 4. so company objectives are easier to accomplish. However.

26(1): 85-95. 2001. companies can demonstrate altruistic and non-profit objectives. J. Contemporary Hospitality Manage. 9. 1998. Lennon. 12(6): 346-351.. Marketing. The impact of PPR on customer loyalty is undisputed.. Public Relations Rev.H. J. 2009. Business Res. previous research on this topic was scarce and gathering data from respondents was difficult. indicate sincere concern for consumer benefits and establish consumer trust in order to enhance customer loyalty.W. Brand image also should be managed more carefully in order to create the desired result. Fortunato.. Public Relations Rev. A. On the relationship between store image. REFERENCES 1. New Jersey. 18(5): 364-381.J. 5. Moreover.J.D. Johnson and D. 13 (2): 277-286.. 9(1): 7-23. Using promotional messages to manage the effects of brand and self-image on brand evaluations. E. 6. Sci. J. and P.H. and W. Ruyter. Developmental relationship marketing (connecting messages with mind: An empathetic marketing system).R. 1999. Ledingham. and R. Kandampully.. A. 14. Investigating drivers of bank loyalty: The complex relationship between image. The influence of firm behavior on purchase intention: Do consumers really care about business ethics? J. As a result.. Hsieh. 18(5): 529-534. Kai Li. and K.T. 7. 10.T. T. store satisfaction and store loyalty.W.A. Ruyter and P. Kwon. Internal relationships linking practitioner literature and relationship marketing theory. G. customer satisfaction and loyalty for customers with varying degrees of service expertise. and C. a longitudinal method to analyze the relationships among these variables would be an approach that merits further examination. Cretu. Consumer. Peeters. Scott. The influence of brand image and company reputation where manufacturers market to small firms: A customer value perspective. and J. S. and D.E. Industrial Marketing Manage. K. service quality and satisfaction. International J. and B. J.. 2011 the motives behind such dedication can prompt consumer skepticism and can reduce PR credibility. Strategic public relations. Bloemer. 2007.D. 26(1): 26-42.H.. Herington. J. Kotler. J.. 14(6): 421-432. Creyer. 2008. which is a good subject for future research. Prentice Hall of USA. evaluations and behavior. 12(3): 269-294. Khodarahmi. Wolfe.. International J. Marketing.. Marketing. International J.. European Business Rev. The PPR scale should be replicated among consumers in different industries and countries in order to confirm the validity of the concept used in this research and to refine its measurement. 1998. The establishment of a good brand image helps to build consumers’ trust in evaluating company’s PR motives. W. 2000. Brodie. Marketing Intelligence and Planning. 285 . 15. Consumer.. 2. 2006. Marketing. Companies must try to create a favorable image and generate trust between customers through PR activities in order to influence attitudes and perception. 8. Bruning. European J. A.World Appl. through PR. Public relations strategies for creating mass media content: A case study of the national basketball association. Ideally. 32(5/6): 499-513. Relative attitudes and commitment in customer loyalty models: Some experiences in the commercial air line industry. Disaster Prevention and Manage. Bank Marketing.D. International J. The relationship between PPR and customer loyalty may be nonlinear with a positive correlation but in a decreasing trend. Bloemer. 1998. L. Graeff.. 62: 557-564. 4. There are several limitations to this study.S. 12. What induces online loyalty? Online versus offline brand images. 16. 1997. 1996. C. and S. Service Industry Manage. 2009. Zins. 2000. The moderating effect of brand Image on public relations perception and customer loyalty. Andreassen. Lindestad. Marketing: An introduction. The influence of the PR messages might not be positive on consumer’s perception or behavior.D. Ross Jr.. Customer loyalty in the hotel industry: the role of customer satisfaction and image. researchers should further clarify the role of organization-public relationships in key public members’ perceptions. 11. Armstrong. In future studies. J. T..A. 2000. Perceptions of relationships and evaluations of satisfaction: An exploration of interaction.. 13. 13(3): 4-18. J. which are beneficial in elevating future organizationpublic relationships and customer loyalty [4]. Further research is also needed to identify the effect of PR activities and relationship marketing on company performance. Service Industry Manage. Suhartanto. 1998. 26(4): 481-497. 15(5): 449-467. E. PR alone is not enough to create customer loyalty. Customer loyalty and complex services: The impact of corporate image on quality. 36: 230-240. 16(7): 276-286. Consumer. 3. In addition.. B.

22. 16: 397-438. International marketing (11th ed. H. and Y.H. 2009. 43: 271-282. C. Accessed November 14. P.. 13 (2): 277-286.E. Ballester. Asparouhov. 2009. 18. Structural Equation Modeling. 2009. 23.. 2000. European J. E. Public Relations Rev. Research methodology. Hui Lin. Muthen. Wang. Clark. 2009. Dictionary of marketing. 2001. G. Sci. New York: McGraw-Hill. 35(11): 1238-1258. T. and J. Cateora. Information and Manage. 21. Differences between public relations and corporate social responsibility.).L.H. and J.D. Aleman. An examination of the determinants of customer loyalty in mobile commerce contexts..L. Graham. Tehran: Baztab press.World Appl. Marketing. J. 2011 17. 2002.. Khaki. 26(3): 363-380.. 286 . 2006. Brand trust in the context of consumer loyalty. and B. American Marketing Association. 19.. 20.