I Hate This Brand! A Classification of Brand Haters Based on their Motivations and Reactions: An Abstract
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In the last decade, the widespread access to the Internet has favored the emergence of anti-brand communities that allow customers to express their hate feelings towards companies, their employees and their brands (Kucuk 2016). According to Kucuk (2007), brand hate affects the brand’s identity and image, and consequently has an impact on consumer decisions. It explains some of the consumer non-compliant behaviors such as brand rejection, resistance to the brand, brand boycott and negative word of mouth (Perrin-Martinenq and Hussant-Zébian 2008).
Brand hate conceptualizations presented in the existing brand hate literature show that brand hate is associated with specific negative emotions and engenders particular emotional and behavioral consequences. Yet, despite the extensive work investigating the nature of brand hate, its antecedents and its outcomes, the literature fails to provide a clear classification of brand haters based on their motivations and reactions.
The current study aims at drawing profiles of consumers exhibiting hate feelings towards brands, by specifying the consumption situations, the hate motives, as well as the emotional and behavioral reactions that are associated with each profile. With this aim in view, we conducted a series of qualitative and quantitative studies. Using the online multi-image elicitation (OMIE) protocol, we determined five types of brand hate motives as follows: physical threats, mental threats, conventional motives, emotional motives, and ideological motives. Moreover, three categories of brand hate reactions were identified including behavioral, passive, and aggressive reactions. In a third quantitative study, we discerned three groups of brand haters: rational haters, threatened haters, and hostile haters.
By combining the results of the OMIE with the classification results of brand haters generated from the Correspondence Factor Analysis (CFA), we demonstrate that “threatened haters” associate their feelings of rage and anger with perceptions of physical and mental threats, which results in the boycott of the brand. However, “hostile haters” have emotional and ideological motives, engendering aggressive behavioral reactions (i.e. revenge), whereas “rational haters” report conventional reasons for brand hate such as price–quality ratio. This raises feelings of sadness and disappointment among them and may prevent brand repurchase.
This study has important managerial implications. Indeed, understanding the different profiles of haters helps the firms to prevent and deal with hate feelings among their customers and restore good relationships with them.