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EMAC 2020 Regional Conference

The Unresolved Uncertainty Effect: Do Brands Gain or Lose Stars When Consumers Have to Wait for Resolution of Brand-Led Uncertainty?

Published: September 16, 2020


Arash Talebi, PhD Candidate, ESSEC Business School; Sonja Prokopec, Professor and LVMH Chaired Professor of Marketing; Ayse ONCULER, Professor, Marketing Department, ESSEC Business School


Uncertainty; Excitement; Discomfort


We live in a world full of uncertainty. In many cases, people have to wait before uncertainty is resolved. We investigate if and when consumers like (dislike) a waiting period and its cause. In four studies, we consistently show that the net effect of a brand-led waiting period is positive for the brand. This effect is driven by the heightened excitement of high-construal individuals. Low-construal individuals experience discomfort during the waiting period. The discomfort, in turn, decreases their stimulus appraisal. This research offers both theoretical and managerial implications by identifying the benefits evoked by the waiting period.


We acknowledge the financial aid of the ESSEC Research Center (#043-219-1-7-01-P-1) in conducting the current research project.