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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

This is what matters: The reactions of betrayed consumers to ethical brand crisis

Published: May 27, 2020


Ilaria Baghi, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia; Veronica Gabrielli, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia


Brand crisis; Self-brand connectedness; Betrayal


Previous research on brand crisis has introduced the difference between a values-related crisis and a performance-related crisis. Across two experimental studies on real brands, we extend current research by demonstrating how self-brand connectedness increases people’s negative behavioral reactions when the favorite brand is involved in a values-related crisis while it protects the brand when it is involved in a performance-related misdeed. Furthermore, we test the mechanisms underlying the role of self-brand connectedness in explaining consumers’ negative responses to values-related crisis, introducing the mediating role of the sense of betrayal and the moderation of the perceived relevance of the domain of the ethical violation. Our findings contribute to the literature by demonstrating that a close relationship between the consumer and the brand may aggravate behavioral reactions to relevant misdeed in values-related domain trough the mediation of perceived sense of betrayal.