Brand hate

Publication Date21 Mar 2016
AuthorLia Zarantonello,Simona Romani,Silvia Grappi,Richard P. Bagozzi
SubjectMarketing,Product management,Brand management/equity
Brand hate
Lia Zarantonello
University of Bath School of Management, Bath, UK
Simona Romani
LUISS University, Rome, Italy
Silvia Grappi
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy, and
Richard P. Bagozzi
Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Purpose – This study aims to investigate the nature of brand hate, its antecedents and its outcomes.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors conduct two quantitative studies in Europe. In Study 1, a measure of brand hate is developed and
its effects are tested on behavioral outcomes. In Study 2, the authors show how brand hate and its behavioral outcomes change depending on the
reasons for brand hate.
Findings – The study conceptualizes brand hate as a constellation of negative emotions which is significantly associated with different negative
behavioral outcomes, including complaining, negative WOM, protest and patronage reduction/cessation. Reasons for brand hate related to corporate
wrongdoings and violation of expectations are associated with “attack-like” and “approach-like” strategies, whereas reasons related to taste
systems are associated with “avoidance-like” strategies.
Research limitations/implications – The study views brand hate as an affective phenomenon occurring at a point in time. Researchers could
adopt a wider perspective by looking at the phenomenon of hate as a disposition/sentiment, not merely as an emotion. They could also adopt a
longitudinal perspective to understand how brand hate develops over time and relate it to brand love.
Practical implications – The authors’ conceptualization of brand hate offers insights to companies about how to resist and prevent brand hate
for one’s own brand.
Originality/value – The study provides a first conceptualization of brand hate and develops a scale for measuring it. The authors relate this
conceptualization and measurement of brand hate to important behavioral outcomes and different types of antecedents.
Keywords Measurement, Consumer psychology, Anti-branding
Paper type Research paper
Marketing scholars have traditionally emphasized the positive
aspects of consumption, and practitioners have been especially
most interested in practical implications of the positive forms
of knowledge rather than the negative ones; for example,
understanding whether and to what extent consumers are
willing to buy or use a company’s product has been more
important than understanding why they are not inclined to do
so (Dalli et al., 2006). Research on positive emotions toward
brands is, therefore, vast and well established (Bagozzi et al.,
1999;Laros and Steenkamp, 2005;Richins, 1997). Recently,
scholars have focused on brand love, which, perhaps, is the
most intense positive emotion that consumers feel toward
brands (Albert et al., 2008;Batra et al., 2012;Carroll and
Ahuvia, 2006). Consumers who love a brand are critical
targets for companies, as they are more loyal, more inclined to
talk well about the brand and more resistant to negative
information (Batra et al., 2012). By contrast, the research on
negative emotions toward brands is scarce (Dalli et al., 2006;
Fournier and Alvarez, 2013;Romani et al., 2012;Sarkar and
Sreejesh, 2014). Yet the concept of brand hate, which is,
perhaps, the most intense and consequential negative emotion
that consumers may feel toward brands, has largely been
neglected as an object of research.
Recently, the relevance of brand hate has been pointed
out by several marketing scholars. At least three different
research streams have called for more study into the role of
strong, negative feelings that consumers experience toward
brands. First, the brand relationship literature has recently
called for more studies into negative consumer–brand
relationships (Fournier and Alvarez, 2013;Park et al.,
2013). Second, the literature on anti-brand communities
has shown that consumers gather in “hate groups” to
express their negative feelings toward brands, share
negative experiences with other consumers and
(sometimes) plan and take action against the targets of their
hate (Hollenbeck and Zinkhan, 2010;Krishnamurthy and
Kucuk, 2009). This phenomenon seems to concern
especially brands that are very much loved by consumers, as
they are often the ones hated the most, according to the
so-called “negative double jeopardy” (Kucuk, 2008,2010).
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on
Emerald Insight at:
Journal of Product & Brand Management
25/1 (2016) 11–25
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 1061-0421]
[DOI 10.1108/JPBM-01-2015-0799]

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