Perceived brand entitativity, or the extent to which a collection of brands signifies a group to consumers, differentiates luxury vs non-luxury brands such that luxury brands are perceived to be more entitative than non-luxury brands. Framed by the concept of brand entitativity and the implicit theory, the purpose of this paper is to examine whether this difference in the perceived brand entitativity of luxury and non-luxury brands impacts how consumers respond to sweatshop allegations in context to these brands.
Two separate experimental studies employing between-subjects designs were conducted among a total of 162 and 276 student consumers from a Southern university of the USA. The authors operationalized sweatshop allegations at two levels, brand-specific allegations (the stimulus brand itself is accused) and industry-specific allegations (other brands of the same industry are accused) to examine the role that brand entitativity plays in these two types of allegations.
Experiment 1 demonstrated that industry-specific allegations hurt consumer attitudes for luxury brands to a greater extent than non-luxury brands, whereas brand-specific allegations hurt non-luxury brands more so than luxury ones. In experiment 2, the authors find that the above results hold true only for consumers who are more prone to social perceptions of entitativity (entity theorists), but not those who represent an incremental mindset (incremental theorists).
The results can help brand managers understand the negative downstream consequences of brand- and industry-specific allegations for their brand type (luxury vs non-luxury).
This study fills an important gap in understanding consumer reaction to brands’ sweatshop allegations by addressing the role of consumers’ perceived brand entitativity and how it differs for consumers holding different implicit beliefs.
Conflict of interest: on behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
Rashid, M. and Chattaraman, V. (2019), "Do consumers react differently to sweatshop allegations on luxury and non-luxury brands? A brand entitativity-based account", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 138-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-12-2017-0139Download as .RIS
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