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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2039||2013||43 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Consumer Psychology, Available online 17 January 2013
Our commentary focuses on the negative pole of Park et al.'s Attachment-Aversion continuum. We argue that the distinction between positively- and negatively-valenced relationships matters, and open opportunities to further our knowledge concerning what makes a brand relationship “bad.” Two theoretical extensions are offered: (1) additional negativity dimensions beyond brand-self distance including pathology, power, and self- versus brand-focused emotionality; and (2) distinctions between neutrality and variations of emotional ambivalence “in the middle” of the Attachment-Aversion spectrum. Our call is for a science of negative relationships concerning the negative outcomes, processes, states, and attributes of consumers' relationships with brands.
Park, Eisingerich, and Park's (2013--this issue) Attachment–Aversion model of consumer–brand relationships offers a rare and welcomed example of theory development and integration in brand research. With foundational threads in early research on the functional/experiential/hedonic attribute bases of strong brands (Park, Jaworski, & MacInnis, 1986), leverage of the cognitive and affective drivers of brand attachment (Park, MacInnis, Priester, Eisingerich, & Iacobucci, 2010), and the addition of new theoretical elements concerning self-distance, the current framework holds promise as a “unifying conceptual model of customer–brand relationships” (p.3). It is in the model's capacity to cover the “entire range of relationship valence and salience” (p.3) that we find its most promising contribution. Relationship valence, i.e., whether a given relationship is positive or negative in tonality and experience, has been identified as a fundamental dimension defining how people think about both personal and commercial brand relationships (Iacobucci and Ostrom, 1996 and Wish et al., 1976). The Attachment–Aversion model is the first comprehensive theory-based account of brand relationships that includes consumers' negative brand engagements. A bias toward positive brand relationships permeates existing branding models and practices, as evidenced in popular metrics for brand attachment (Park et al., 2010 and Thomson et al., 2005), brand connection (Escalas & Bettman, 2003), brand love (Batra, Ahuvia, & Bagozzi, 2012), and brand relationship quality (Fournier, 2009). While these frameworks inform the development of strong brand relationships and the strengthening of weak or indifferent ones, they are silent on the negative tonality that strong and weak brand relationships might obtain. This oversight is a significant one that misrepresents the lived reality of consumers' brand interactions. Negative brand relationships are in fact more common than positive relationships, with an average split across categories of 55%/45% for negative and positive relationships, respectively (based on the sign value of relationship valence scores per collaborative research with GfK, to be detailed below). Without a formal accounting of negative relationships, our brand management frameworks are misleading and incomplete. Many forms of negative relationality have been documented in the consumer behavior literature. Miller, Fournier, and Allen (2012) provide evidence of the consumer relevance of abusive relationships, master–slave entrapments, and conflicted secret affairs. Addictions, compulsions, and other forms of dependency have also been highlighted (Albright, 2012, Hirschman, 1992, Mick and Fournier, 1998, O'Guinn and Faber, 1989, Patterson, 2012 and Pechmann et al., 2012). The proliferation of habit-forming technologies (Belk & Llamas, 2013), easy access to credit (Peñaloza & Barnhart, 2011), and over-indulgence (Schor, 1999) facilitates the propagation of dysfunctional brand associations. One-to-one marketing outreach can also foster aversive brand relationships when these advances are uninvited, persistent, or extreme (Godfrey, Seiders, & Voss, 2011). These relations are significant in that they affect not only the quality of the focal brand engagement, but also the quality of the consumer's life overall. Negative brand relationships can be damaging not only to consumers, but also to the companies involved. Service marketing researchers document relationships characterized by a host of dysfunctional customer behaviors, and these expressions of opportunism and breaches of ethics or etiquette can translate directly into financial losses for the firm (Berry and Seiders, 2008 and Fisk et al., 2010). Antagonistic anti-brand relations waged for reasons of politics, values, or transgression (Grégoire et al., 2009, Johnson et al., 2011, Kozinets and Handelman, 2004 and Luedicke et al., 2009) can plague companies and engender harmful effects. Brand antagonists foster parodies and doppelgänger images (Giesler, 2012 and Thompson et al., 2006) that can dilute brand meanings and equity; at the extreme, they destroy valuable company assets in retaliatory response (Luedicke et al., 2009). A contemporary marketing environment laced with distrust, hyper-criticism, and increased consumer power (Fournier & Avery, 2011a) exacerbates this problem and encourages malevolent brand relationships. Strong positive brand relationships can easily transform into hateful and vengeful associations (Grégoire et al., 2009 and Johnson et al., 2011), which further highlights the importance of diluting or otherwise managing negative brand relationship forms. Our gaps in understanding negative relationships become especially problematic when the greater power of negatives over positives is considered. Numerous psychological studies document that negative information is more memorable, more diagnostic, more salient, processed more deeply, and more likely to be shared than positive information (Fiske, 1980, Ito et al., 1998 and Pratto and John, 1991). The prospect of negative outcomes also evokes more potent psychological response than the prospect of positive outcomes (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). There is more discrimination of negative than positive experience (Averill, 1980). Negative emotions are also more valuable than positive ones in an adaptive sense, because avoiding danger is more critical for survival than seeking pleasure or other types of gains (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Finkenauer, & Vohs, 2001). In a close relationship context, how people cope with negative events has greater impact on the success and strength of the union than positive maintenance-promoting features (Rusbult, Johnson, & Morrow, 1986). “Bad” interactions and emotions far outweigh “good” ones in the course of a long-term relationship such that it takes five positive interactions to cancel the deleterious effects that one negative interaction can cause (Gottman, 1994). By analogy, negative brand relationships may weigh heavier in consumers' lived experiences and yield detrimental consequences that go beyond individual brands to affect perceptions of marketing more broadly. The hyper-visibility of antagonistic actions toward high profile brands in online environments can aggravate this fact. Managing negatives may actually be more important for brand equity development than cultivating positive connections with brands. Park et al.'s Attachment–Aversion model goes beyond the simple articulation of specific negative brand relationships to proffer a unified and integrated theoretical account of the full spectrum of positive to negative relationships. The model identifies two key conceptual components of Attachment–Aversion relationships: brand prominence and brand–self distance. Brand prominence is a cognitive construal concerning the salience and accessibility of brand knowledge. Brand–self distance, an indicator of personal (dis)connection, “fully reflects one's relationship valence” (p. 5) such that close distance to the brand defines a positive relationship and far distance defines a negative relationship “accompanied by feelings of contempt, frustration, hatred and aggression” (p. 7). In the Attachment–Aversion model, brand–self distance and brand prominence are related but not co-varying factors. Park et al. support a U-shaped relationship between these focal constructs wherein attachment is defined by high brand-prominence plus close distance, aversion is defined by high brand prominence and far distance, and indifferent relations have low brand prominence and mid distance from the self. The Attachment–Aversion relationship model considers brand–self distance and brand prominence together such that attachment and aversion are opposite ends of a spectrum defining consumers' relationships with brands. In addition to inherent implications for relationship valence, the framework also has “inherent self-implications” (p. 12) and builds squarely from Aron and Aron's (1986) theory of self-expansion in close personal relationships. In this context self-expansion motives create positive emotions and attachment while the threat of self-contraction creates negative emotions and aversive relationships. Acknowledging the wealth of knowledge accumulated about strong, positive brand relationships and how to make them stronger, Park et al. took the first step and extended theories of attachment into the “negative” side. We engage in this dialogue to welcome this contribution and encourage the amplification of theoretical threads opened by the authors. Our commentary places a magnifying lens on the negative pole of the Attachment–Aversion spectrum, as an invitation for a second step in a theory-building exercise that considers the ways in which attachment relationships differ from aversive ones. We start with reflection on the U-shaped Attachment–Aversion model and its conceptualization of relationship valence as self-distance: more specifically, we suggest the relaxation of the assumption that all negative brand relationships are far from the self. This exercise leads us to consider the model's core theories of attachment and self-expansion, and invites a reflection on the extent to which these theories contribute to our understanding of negative relationships in the brand space. Building from this reflection, we offer opportunities for more focused theory development on two topics: additional factors beyond self-distance that could usefully characterize negative brand relationships and distinctions between neutrality and emotional ambivalence that help conceptualize “the middle” of the Attachment–Aversion spectrum. Where and as appropriate throughout this commentary, we make references to brand relationship data collected in collaboration with GfK, a global marketing research and consulting firm, and for the sake of efficiency, we explain the methodology here. Using an online survey among 4000 respondents from four countries (U.S., Spain, Germany, China), we collected information about the degree to which 48 relationship attributes (e.g., positive feelings, uncomfortable, strong, weak, integral part of my life, easy to exit, under my control, one-sided, helps express who I am) described 53 different types of relationships (e.g., best friendship, casual acquaintances, teammates, arranged marriage, enemy, stalker–prey, love/hate, one-night-stand, secret affair). These data were analyzed using correspondence analysis to identify the dimensionality of the relationships space. In a second study, again conducted in Spain, Germany, U.S. and Germany, data were collected for a total of 253 brands: approximately six from each of 11 categories (i.e., automobiles, detergents, confection, shampoo, mobile phones, beverages, fast food restaurants, airlines, fashion, television/media, and non-commercial brands). Respondents in the brand task scrutinized the list of 53 relationship metaphors and selected the types that could be used to describe their relationship with each focal brand; respondents then identified the relationship metaphor that “best captured each focal brand relationship” from this reduced list. In addition to standard brand attitude and behavior metrics, a subset of respondents also rated each brand in terms of brand–self distance using a visual of a park bench on which a person was seated at the far left end. Using drag and drop functionality, respondents were asked to place each focal brand on the virtual park bench: “If you were the person sitting on the bench, where would you position the brand?” Brand–self distance was operationalized as a continuous physical distance measure of the space between the person and the brand, from 0 (where the brand and the person are exactly next to each other) to 100 (where the brand and the person are furthest apart on the bench). We leverage the brand data to qualify the scope and nature of negative brand relationships and to illuminate the role of brand–self distance in this space.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In conclusion, we offer a thought experiment. In the first scenario, you are a brand manager with a relationship portfolio populated by committed partners, best friends, buddies, casual friends, neighbors, boyfriends–girlfriends, teammates, soul mates, and even a few allies and groupies. Now imagine a different management assignment in which your brand portfolio is plagued by troubling relationships: marriages-on-the-rocks, enemies, one-night-stands, dysfunctional addictions, abusive marriages, master–slave entrapments, power plays between brands and consumers, guilt-ridden secret affairs, stalkers and their anxious prey. Building from a solid base of theories established over the past decades, the academy has much to offer the manager in the first scenario who seeks to solidify, maintain, and leverage close consumer–brand relationships, or strengthen weak-but-positive brand engagements by applying these insights over time. Helpful frameworks are also available for understanding and managing people's hostile brand relations, or repairing close relations that have been transgressed. But beyond this, theoretically-grounded advice for managing relationship negatives is scarce. We do not reject the value or significance of frameworks that illuminate positive brand relationships: a focus on loyalty, trust, commitment, and the bonds of emotional attachment, for example, is crucial for understanding brand equity and how it is built. Our point is that perhaps without conscious awareness, our brand theories and prescriptions have adopted assumptions and constructs that are more aligned with a positive brand relationship worldview than a negative worldview. The target paper by Park and colleagues provides a meaningful contribution to the goal of righting the positivity bias in brand relationship research and is to be commended for taking the initial step in accounting for the full range of relationship valence: from negative to positive and in-between. Brand–self distance, a construct that builds thoughtfully from a solid history of consumer research, offers a sensible theoretical frame for illuminating the problems of negative brand relationships. Still, we raise the question as to whether theorizing based on attachment and self-expansion—constructs that stand solidly in the realm of positive, self-implicating, and close relationships—yields an optimal model for understanding negative relationship processes and forms. Our call in this commentary is for a science of negative brand relationships wherein we advance Park et al.'s research through a dedicated focus on phenomena that capture and illuminate relationship negatives—phenomena that have received limited scholarly and practitioner attention in branding models to date. What we are proposing is much like the revolution known as positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) and its application in positive organizational scholarship (Cameron et al., 2003 and Cameron and Spreitzer, 2011), but the paradigm shift we advocate is in the reverse. The field of close interpersonal relationships evolved similarly, with a wake-up call for a science of the “dark side” of relationships (Cupach & Spitzberg, 1994) that stimulated much scholarly research (Cupach and Spitzberg, 2004, Cupach and Spitzberg, 2010 and Spitzberg and Cupach, 1998). A science of negative relationships would involve the study of negative outcomes, processes, states, and attributes of peoples' relationships with brands. Emphasis would be put on ideas of “badness,” negative relationship potential, and relational systems in disequilibrium—from the perspectives of both consumers and firms. To propel this effort, existing consumer research can be integrated and further articulated under the negative relationships umbrella, including for example theory on brand transgressions (Aaker, Fournier, & Brasel, 2004), service failure and recovery (Smith, Bolton, & Wagner, 1999), unruly customer behavior (Berry and Seiders, 2008 and Fisk et al., 2010), brand crisis (Dawar & Pillutla, 2000), consumer addictions (Hirschman, 1992), anti-branding ideologies and actions (Elsbach and Bhattacharya, 2001, Kozinets and Handelman, 2004, Lee et al., 2009 and Thompson and Arsel, 2004), doppelgänger brand images (Giesler, 2012 and Thompson et al., 2006), dissociative reference groups (White & Dahl, 2006), and consumer behavior in vulnerable moments (Gao et al., 2008 and Rindfleisch et al., 2009). Of central concern is the phenomenological study of negative subjective brand experiences and the motivators and enablers (in terms of capabilities, traits, values, and structures) of negative brand relationship phenomena. Theories of emotion—negative emotions, group emotions, ambivalent and mixed emotions, emotion blends, and related notions of negative energy—are centrally implicated in a science of negative relationships and much opportunity for development exists here. Underexplored constructs such as civility, character, self-interest, despair (hope), pessimism, pathology, power, victimhood and vulnerability, or cruelty and inhumanity may offer rich and insightful process explanations. A process agenda for negative relationship scholarship may consider “downward relationship spirals” (Fredrickson & Joiner, 2002), escalating negative phenomena, and other protracted and nonlinear patterns of exchange that deviate from expected patterns (see Avery, unpublished dissertation and Avery and Fournier, 2012 for applications in marketing). Additional process insights could derive from research on conflicted interpersonal relationships with relevance to marketing: the unrequited love relationship (Bratslavsky, Baumeister, & Sommer, 1998), for example, wherein a conspiracy of silence results from motivations to avoid painful rejection on the part of both relationship parties, or the seduction–disenchantment process in fatal attractions (Felmlee, 1998). The concepts of equivocation (Chovil, 1994), misunderstanding of relationship rules and templates (Sillars, 1998), and conversational dilemmas (Daly, Diesel, & Weber, 1994) suggest a vital role for communications as a causal process. Subjective well-being (Diener, 2000) will figure prominently as a core dependent variable within negative relationship scholarship and in this sense, the call has much to gain from transformative consumer research (Mick, Pettigrew, Pechmann, & Ozanne, 2011). Whatever the content, a science of relationship negatives would operate under different and yet unarticulated assumptions, pose different questions, and strive toward different goals. Through our commentary, we have sought to inform awareness of the positivity bias in marketing and the counter-posed reality of a brand relationship space beleaguered by pathology, conflict, power imbalance, and negative emotional experience—from the perspectives of both consumers and companies. There is no doubt that developing a science of negative relationships presents a challenge. Park and colleagues offer a strong base for extending theory on relationship negatives in meaningful ways. Herein we have attempted a start at further theorizing, and we acknowledge the humble beginnings of this work. It is our hope that through research that more formally accounts for brand relationship negatives, we might obtain a more holistic and balanced understanding of brand relationships, one that encompasses what is good and what is bad.