Dislikes, Distastes and the Undesired Self: Conceptualising and Exploring the Role of the Undesired End State in Consumer Experience
Understanding how individuals use their consumption experiences to create and maintain their sense of self is a central concern in consumer behaviour research. The relationship between the self and positive aspects of consumption has been extensively examined in studies of symbolic consumption. However the undesired end state and the undesired self have received much less attention. Consequently, a significant gap remains to be filled before we can understand the impact of negative symbolic consumption on consumer behaviour and the significance of the influence of negative product/brand imagery on the less rational aspects of consumers' decision making. We propose that the undesired end state will function as an incentive to avoid products with negative images. And we would argue that it is through the formation of distastes ~ and the associated consumer stereotypes ~ that consumers are able to identify the undesired end state, and ultimately define themselves. We develop and empirically test a theoretical framework for the relationship between dislikes, distastes and the undesired self. Our findings support the importance of the relationship between the desired and undesired self for understanding how individuals use their consumption experiences to define themselves.