Does brand authenticity alleviate the effect of brand scandals?
- 199 Downloads
This research investigates to what extent brand authenticity lessens the impact of a brand scandal on consumer responses to the brand involved in the scandal. A 2 × 2 experiment shows that consumers responded more favourably to a more (vs. less) authentic brand in the event of a scandal. The protective effects of higher levels of brand authenticity emerged for emotional and behavioural brand outcomes (i.e. greater affection and willingness to pay) and brand-related inferences (i.e. lower perceived responsibility for the scandal and hypocrisy). Nonetheless, even a more authentic brand was harmed by a brand scandal (vs. no scandal). This suggests that higher levels of brand authenticity do not fully offset the negative consequences of brand scandals. A follow-up experiment ruled out that brand age drives these protective effects in case of a scandal. These findings give rise to theoretical and managerial implications.
KeywordsBrand authenticity Scandals Brand attachment Hypocrisy
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
- Arnould, E.J., and L.L. Price. 2000. Authenticating acts and authoritative performances: Questing for self and community. In The why of consumption: Contemporary perspectives on consumer motives, ed. S. Ratneswar, D. Glenick, and C. Huffman, 140–163. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- CBC News. 2008. Listeriosis outbreak timeline. August 26. http://www.cbc.ca/news/listeriosis-outbreak-timeline-1.694467. Accessed 16 Nov 2016.
- Delgado-Ballester, E., J.L. Munuera-Aleman, and M.J. Yague-Guillen. 2003. Development and validation of a brand trust scale. International Journal of Market Research 45(1): 35–54.Google Scholar
- Fombrun, C., and M. Shanley. 1990. What’s in a name? Reputation building and corporate strategy. Academy of Management Journal 33(2): 233–258.Google Scholar
- Fombrun, C.J., and C.B. Van Riel. 2004. Fame & Fortune: How successful companies build winning reputations. New York: Financial Times Prentice Hall Books.Google Scholar
- Gilmore, J.H., and B.J. Pine. 2007. Authenticity: What consumers really want. New York: Harvard Business Press.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A.F. 2013. Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Jourdan, P. 1999. Creation and validation of an advertising scale based on the individual perception of the emotional or informational intent of the advertisement. Advances in Consumer Research 26(1): 504–512.Google Scholar
- McGuire, J., A. Sundgren, and T. Schneeweiss. 1988. Corporate social responsibility and firm financial performance. Academy of Management Journal 31: 854–872.Google Scholar
- McNew, S. 2015. Just how charitable is whole foods inc.?. The Motley Fool. http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/07/16/just-how-charitable-is-whole-foods-inc.aspx. Accessed 16 Nov 2016.
- Owram, K. 2009. Maple Leaf Foods recovers from listeria crisis. Thestar.com, October 28. https://www.thestar.com/business/2009/10/28/maple_leaf_foods_recovers_from_listeria_crisis.html. Accessed 16 Nov 2016.
- Shklar, J.N. 1984. Ordinary vices. New York: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Tattri, J. 2009. Maple Leaf’s handling of listeria crisis set ‘the gold standard,’ experts say. Metro News. http://www.metronews.ca/news/2009/02/20/maple-leafs-handling-of-listeria-crisis-set-the-gold-standard-experts-say.html. Accessed Nov 2016.
- Winer, B. 1971. Statistical principles in experimental design. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar