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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference


The Ultimate, Most Revolutionary Paper Ever! How Bragging Affects New Product Success
(A2021-94550)

Published: May 25, 2021

AUTHORS

Christian Schulze, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management; Blaseg Daniel, Department of Strategy and General Management, Universitat Ramon Llull, ESADE

ABSTRACT

When new ventures introduce a new product to the market, they face an important decision: Should they be modest, or should they brag about their product? We investigate bragging (i.e., the use of superlatives) by studying 360,412 new products launched on Kickstarter. We find that the relationship between bragging and new product success follows an inverse U-shape. Ideally, about one in thirteen words should be a superlative. The right amount of bragging can help new ventures increase product success by up to 66%. Competitive intensity moderates the results. The greater the competition from other ventures in the same product category, the higher the optimal bragging density. Finally, results depend on competitors’ bragging. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not optimal to “stand out” (i.e., to be modest when everybody else brags). Instead, when the competition brags aggressively, the new venture should increase their own bragging density to hit the optimum.