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Secure or fearful, who will be more resentful? Investigating the interaction between regulatory focus and attachment style

Melika Kordrostami (Department of Marketing, California State University, San Bernardino, California, USA)
Elika Kordrostami (Department of Marketing, Rohrer College of Business, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 21 February 2019

Issue publication date: 6 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the impact of consumers’ individual differences on their reactions to brand failure.

Design/methodology/approach

Three studies (one qualitative, one survey and one experiment) were conducted. Study 1 aimed to understand consumers’ thoughts at the time of brand failure. Studies 2 and 3 investigated the impact of regulatory focus and its interaction with consumers’ attachment style on their reactions to brand failure.

Findings

This research establishes that consumers demonstrate different types of behaviors at the time of brand failure. Specifically, those with a promotion focus display less negative (revenge and brand avoidance) and more positive (trust and loyalty) behavior than those with a prevention focus. Furthermore, this research shows an interaction between consumers’ attachment style and regulatory focus. The impact of regulatory focus holds only for secure consumers; for fearful consumers, regulatory focus does not change their behavior.

Research limitations/implications

The study reveals the impact of regulatory focus and attachment styles on consumer behavior at the time of brand failure. Future research might examine the impact of these factors over time, rather than only at the time of the incident.

Practical implications

Marketers should be aware of the impact of attachment style and regulatory focus after a brand failure. This knowledge will enable them to customize their communication tools to trigger their desired condition. This research also emphasizes the role of customer service at the time of crisis.

Originality/value

This research is the first to investigate the impact of regulatory focus and attachment style on consumers’ reactions to brand failure.

Keywords

Citation

Kordrostami, M. and Kordrostami, E. (2019), "Secure or fearful, who will be more resentful? Investigating the interaction between regulatory focus and attachment style", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 671-683. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-03-2018-1830

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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