The Role of Brand in a Consumer Culture: Can Strong Brands Serve as a Substitute for a Relationship with God?

  • David J. Burns
  • Jeffrey K. Fawcett


Strong brands engender strong relationships with consumers and provide the platform for the development of relationships among the brand’s adherents. Could the brands associated with products take the place of a relationship with God? The literature seems to support an affirmative response. The evidence suggests that by belonging to brand communities, consumers may be able to fulfill several of their needs and desires, including the need for a unique identity, for community, and for being a part of something larger than themselves. This paper argues that the development of strong brands within a consumer culture has the potential to serve as a substitute for relationships, including as a substitute for a relationship with God. In response, several questions are raised for Christian marketing educators and researchers.