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The anatomy of a rivalry: the role of resentment in the development of brand attitudes

Diego Alvarado-Karste (Department of Marketing, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA)
Blair Kidwell (Department of Marketing, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 23 August 2021

Issue publication date: 4 April 2022

463

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to demonstrate that feelings of resentment, fueled by perceptions of injustice, underlie the formation of rivalries. Further, this study analyzes how consumers evaluate the two brands that participate in a rivalry relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The research uses four experiments. Study 1 uses two conditions to test whether injustice predicts inter-personal rivalries through resentment. Study 2 uses a one-factor design with three levels (resentment vs contempt vs control) to examine the underlying mechanism of resentment on the formation of a rivalry. Study 3 analyzes the effect of brand rivalries on consumers’ brand attitudes. Study 4 uses a 2 (Temporal-focus: past vs future) × 2 (competitive relationship: resentment vs control) between-subjects experimental design, to test the moderating effects of temporal-focus on consumer brand rivalry perceptions. This experiment replicates the effects of brand rivalries on consumer brand attitudes.

Findings

Rivalries have an essential emotional component – resentment – that is fueled by injustice and leads consumers to form more favorable attitudes toward the brand that consumers perceive is treated unfairly (target brand) and more unfavorable attitudes toward the brand that is perceived to treat the other brand unfairly (the rival brand). A future-focused mindset attenuates consumer perceptions of brand rivalries, whereas a past-focused mindset enhances these effects.

Originality/value

Prior research has failed to identify the emotional components of rivalries and their effects on consumer choices. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that reveals how attitudes change when consumers are exposed to a brand rivalry.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Francisco Guzman, Gavin Kilduff, Priyali Rajagopal, and Laura Boman for their helpful feedback on this paper and earlier drafts.

Citation

Alvarado-Karste, D. and Kidwell, B. (2022), "The anatomy of a rivalry: the role of resentment in the development of brand attitudes", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 637-653. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-09-2019-2573

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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