What happens to us when the brands we favor come under attack?
To probe the nature of this attachment between brand and consumer, Angela Lee, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Monika Lisjak, a doctoral candidate at the Kellogg School, and Wendi Gardner, an associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University, set up experiments in which participants critiqued a pair of brands that have seen their share of controversy: Facebook and Starbucks.
The findings include:
Self-conscious, low-self-esteem subjects who said they liked Starbucks initially rated the company more favorably after they had read a critical editorial about it.
People who were set up to feel defensive and who identified highly with the brand either were not at all affected by the negative editorial, or they actually upped their opinions of the brand.
Given the chance to bolster themselves by being part of an in-crowd, Northwestern students were asked to rate students and faculty at the university, as well as students and professors at another university, on measures such as intelligence and likelihood of success.
This time when they gave their opinions of Starbucks, their sentiments were not as favorable. By expressing a more favorable opinion of the students and faculty at their own university compared with those elsewhere, the low-self-esteem individuals regained their equilibrium and no longer defended the brand. PRN
Source: Kellogg School of Management
Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01