Despite the well-established branding literature, how a brand is connected to individual, market and societal/ideological levels are largely unknown. Grounded in the belief in a just world (BJW) theory, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of brand positioning status (BPS) on the support of certain brands (financially and non-financially) and examine the moderating roles of brand ideology and protestant work ethic (PWE).
In Study 1, a 2 (BPS: topdog vs underdog) × 2 (brand ideology: universalism vs power) between-subjects experimental design is conducted on overall brand support, purchase intention and word-of-mouth. To build upon the findings, Study 2 explores the three-way interaction effects on the same dependent variables by using a 2 (BPS: topdog vs underdog) × 2 (ideology: universalism vs power) × 2 (PWE: high vs low) quasi-experimental between-subjects design study.
The results of these studies reveal that customers have a strong intention to support the brands with universalism values, regardless of BPS, as power imbalance in the marketplace is not as salient. When a brand conveys the power ideology, the BPS greatly matters in earning customers’ support. This tendency, however, is varied among customers based on their level of PWE. This is because customers’ justification and evaluation on capitalism differs and their views toward market competitions between topdogs and underdogs are influenced by the personal worldviews.
The findings build upon belief in a just world theory and branding literature and discuss the importance of considering the BPS and the ideology a brand conveys in the marketplace, as the meanings and messages could be perceived differently based on what kind of work ethic one possesses and supports.
Legendre, T., Baker, M., Warnick, R. and Assaf, A. (2020), "Worldview-based hospitality brand support: belief in a just world theory perspectives", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-05-2019-0476Download as .RIS
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