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Towards the conceptualisation of the antecedents of extreme negative affect towards luxury brands

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Purpose ‐ The aim of this paper is to conceptualise the influences of extreme negative emotional response towards luxury brands as expressed in brand hate. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper uses examples obtained from a critical incidents approach to interviews with a small sample of German and British luxury consumers. Informants were asked to identify extremely positive and then extremely negative incidents which affected their perceptions of luxury brands. This critical incidents approach allowed for a clearer focus on the negative incidents and allowed identification of common themes that may be related to extreme negative affect. Findings ‐ The evaluation of negative incidents which the informants named suggest that country of origin, consumer dissatisfaction with service, and negative stereotypes of luxury brand users are potential antecedents of brand hate within the luxury sector. Some types of advertising might heighten the latter effect. Consumers' perceptions of corporate social performance did not seem to be a strong source of brand hate, yet the respondents stressed the significance of luxury brands to act responsibly. Thus, it is important for luxury brands to avoid potential dissonance in the way consumers perceive them. Research limitations/implications ‐ This primarily conceptual paper uses examples from Germany and the UK. Therefore, it is recommended to continue with studies in other countries, including emerging economies, to identify potential cross-cultural differences. Furthermore, it would be interesting to ascertain which factors are the most significant in evoking extreme negative brand affect. Practical implications ‐ The core reputation of the luxury brand is a common theme which is identified as a driving force of brand hate. Brand practitioners therefore need to consider how to build a strong positive reputation in order to withstand the immediate and long-term consequences of brand hate. Originality/value ‐ The need to investigate antecedents of extreme negative affect as manifested in brand hate reflects a gap in extant literature on luxury brand management. Therefore, the authors contend that their conceptualization of antecedents of affect will have important theoretical and practical implications within the field of luxury brand management.
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Keywords: Anti-consumption; Brand avoidance; Brand hate; Brand image; Brand management; Brand rejection; Consumer behaviour; Luxury

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 30, 2013

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