Jo Andrea Hoegg
Relevant Degree Programs
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2019)
Consumers frequently experience negative feelings toward brands; yet existing research has predominantly focused on positive engagements with brands. The current dissertation examines one of the most extreme negative feelings—hatred—and explores how hatred for one brand affects competing brands. Many managers seem to believe that consumers’ hatred for a close competitor would not be harmful or might even be beneficial for their brand. Nine studies using qualitative, experimental, and field data demonstrate that in contrast to managers’ beliefs, hatred for a brand leads consumers to eschew close competitors from the same subcategory. Importantly, such preference shifts do not emerge when consumers are indifferent or dissatisfied. As feeling mistreated and exploited is central to hatred, it triggers concerns about self-protection, which results in avoiding close competitors. Several moderators (i.e., greater variance in consumer ratings and the usage of safety-inducing marketing cues) supporting the self-protection based account are identified. Taken together, this dissertation emphasizes that consumer relationships with brands do not operate in a vacuum. Documenting predictable shifts in preferences for competitors as a consequence of hatred for a brand underscores the importance of extending frameworks of consumer-brand connections to incorporate negative connections and account for effects beyond a focal brand. The findings of this dissertation also suggest that hatred – at least in a consumption context – tends to prompt individuals to be primarily concerned about protecting the self rather than annihilating the hated object (i.e., brand). When consumers experience hatred, self-protection concerns appear to be pivotal in shaping their preferences for subsequent consumption unless alternative motives might interfere and produce different preferences.
Throughout their daily lives consumers experience a vast array of emotions. At times these emotions are directly related to a consumption context, while other times these emotions are unrelated. While previous research on incidental emotion has generally found that negative emotions have negative outcomes for brands, the explicit effect of fear has been understudied. The present research explores the effect of fear on brand attachment.Across six experimental studies, this dissertation provides insight into the process by which consumers cope with fear and how this coping method has positive implications for brand attachments. This dissertation suggests that because people cope with fear through affiliation with others, in the absence of other individuals, consumers may seek affiliation with an available brand. This, in turn, will enhance emotional attachment to that brand. The first four studies of the dissertation highlight the basic process by which fear enhances emotional brand attachment. First, I show the basic fear-attachment effect (pilot study and study 1). Specifically, I show that a fearful experience, compared to a happy, sad, or exciting experience, results in higher emotional attachment to brands, even when consumers are unfamiliar with the brand. Second, I provide initial evidence for desire for affiliation, or perceived shared experience, as the underlying mechanism of the effect (study 1 and 2). Third, I provide stronger evidence for the process by ruling out simple increased consumption as an alternative explanation for the fear-attachment effect. In the last two studies, I examine factors that influence the fear-attachment process. First, I highlight the importance of product presence during the fear experience in order to allow for consumer coping (study 4). Second, I illuminate a distinction between two forms of brand attachment measurement: Thomson et al. (2005)’s emotional attachment and Park et al. (2010)’s more cognitive brand attachment. I demonstrate that a fear experience can facilitate initial emotional, but not cognitive, attachment without the necessity of time. In addition, this initial emotional attachment helps promote cognitive attachment over time (study 4). Third, I show that the fear-attachment process is unique to brands and not products in general (study 5).
This research presents five studies, a mix of field experiments and scenario simulations, to demonstrate people’s intuition about as well as their actual response towards preferential treatment. I show that while people assume that only positive feelings would arise from receiving a preferential treatment, negative concerns do emerge when the treatment is actually experienced in a social environment, reducing the overall satisfaction and affecting purchase behaviors. I argue and find that impression concern and empathy underlies the negative influences of the social environment. In addition, I show that the failure to recognize these negative emotions when imagining the effects of preferential treatment is due to a tendency to overlook contextual information, i.e., the social environment, when people make predictions in a hypothetical scenario. Implications for theory and managerial practice are also discussed.