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How implicit self-theories and dual-brand personalities enhance word-of-mouth

Sudipta Mandal (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)
Arvind Sahay (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad, India)
Adrian Terron (Tata Sons Ltd., Mumbai, India)
Kavita Mahto (Tata Sons Ltd., Mumbai, India)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 11 January 2021

Issue publication date: 11 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose

Consumers subscribe to different mindsets or implicit theories of personality malleability, namely, fixed and growth mindsets. This study aims to investigate how and why consumers’ mindsets can influence their word-of-mouth (WOM) intentions toward a brand and the consequent implications for a brand’s personality.

Design/methodology/approach

Three mall-intercept studies and one online study demonstrate the influence of consumers’ fixed and growth mindsets on their WOM intentions. The first two mall-intercept studies identify motivations underlying consumers’ WOM intentions as a function of their mindset orientations. The third mall-intercept study examines the implications of such mindset-oriented WOM intentions for a brand’s personality dimension and the underlying psychological mechanism. The fourth study tests the link between WOM intent and behavior.

Findings

Results show that fixed (growth) mindset individuals exhibit greater WOM intentions than growth (fixed) mindset individuals for motives of “impression management” (“learning and information acquisition”). Findings further demonstrate that brands that exhibit dual personality dimensions simultaneously, one salient and the other non-salient at any instant, garner equivalent WOM intentions from both fixed and growth mindset individuals, contingent on the fit between the salient brand personality dimension and the dominant consumer mindset. Finally, using a real brand, it can be seen that WOM intentions actually translate into behavior.

Research limitations/implications

The study measures offline WOM intent but not offline WOM behavior.

Practical implications

This study sheds new light on branding strategy by demonstrating how and why dual-brand personalities may attract consumers with both kinds of implicit self-theory orientations. Relatedly, it also demonstrates a technique of framing ad-appeals that support the dual-brand personality effect.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to propose and demonstrate the use of simultaneous dual-brand personalities as an optimal branding strategy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This is to acknowledge that this research received funding from “Tata Sons Limited, Mumbai, India”.

Citation

Mandal, S., Sahay, A., Terron, A. and Mahto, K. (2021), "How implicit self-theories and dual-brand personalities enhance word-of-mouth", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 55 No. 5, pp. 1489-1515. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-07-2019-0591

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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