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Negative outcomes of positive brand relationships

Kokil Jain (Amity International Business School, Noida, India)
Isha Sharma (Amity International Business School, Noida, India)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 10 September 2019

Issue publication date: 18 October 2019




This paper aims to understand how strong brand attachment can intensify the feeling of perceived betrayal, leading to brand hate after a negative experience with the brand. The study further investigates how consumers make causal attributions for negative experiences when strong brand attachment exists. The moderating effect of a narcissistic personality in the dissemination of negative electronic word of mouth (eWOM) following brand hate is also tested.


The study uses a within-the-subject repeated measures experimental design. A total of 202 college students were exposed to two treatments (high versus no brand attachment), involving a situation of product failure of a smart phone brand. A total of 135 responses were used to compare the outcomes of the two treatments using multivariate analysis. The data of high brand attachment treatment (N = 202) were used to test the proposed research model using partial least square-structural equation modelling.


The results suggest that having a strong positive relationship with the brand can generate stronger feelings of perceived betrayal and brand hate after the brand transgresses the consumer’s expectations. The results indicate that resentful customers can resort to eWOM after feeling betrayed, even though the prior relationship with the brand was strong.


This paper extends the work on perceived betrayal to study brand hate and proposes that brand hate can arise even if there is a strong brand attachment. It contributes to the growing body of literature on brand hate and its possible antecedents. Additionally, the study poses some crucial managerial implications for the brand managers by suggesting that strong brand relationships not always ensure loyalty or commitment and can lead to consequences that are damaging for the brand equity.



Jain, K. and Sharma, I. (2019), "Negative outcomes of positive brand relationships", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 7, pp. 986-1002.



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