Does brand authenticity alleviate the effect of brand scandals?
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.
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