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Relationship marketing with Apple: the role of meaning and judgment of product in choosing the iPhone

In a scenario of growing competitiveness, customer relationship management (CRM) is presented as an effective competitive advantage. The manner in which consumers process their judgment, either rational or emotional, and attribute meanings, either objective or symbolic, to products is particularly relevant to understanding consumer behavior and their relationship with brands. Equally important are the decision-making styles. Considering the lack of scientific studies correlating CRM variables to consumer behavior ones, this quantitative study aimed to identify if the relationship among Apple and its costumers might be influenced by the meaning and judgement they attribute to the smartphone iPhone. The results showed the influence of the emotional judgment on establishing the relationship with the brand. Furthermore, it was concluded that the specific sample surveyed is influenced mainly by rational judgement whereas they impute more importance to objective meaning when purchasing an iPhone. Regarding the perception of the relationship with Apple, the respondents indicated that higher quality of the iPhones as well as their trust on the brand are the most important aspects that influence their choice. The academic contribution of this work is to fill the gap in the literature by identifying CRM predictors. Also, as a managerial perspective, for both Apple and other smartphone companies, the results obtained so far can be used as a diagnostic to assist managers in their strategies concerning product promotion and customer loyalty.

relationship marketing; customer relationship management (CRM); meaning and judgement of products; Apple; iPhone

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