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Do Retailers Get Blamed When Manufacturer Brands Fail? Measurement of Multiloci Attributions and Spillover Effects

Marketing Accountability for Marketing and Non-marketing Outcomes

ISBN: 978-1-83867-564-6, eISBN: 978-1-83867-563-9

Publication date: 27 September 2021

Abstract

Prior research has documented that product failures can be among a firm's worst nightmares. In this research, we examine if retailers are also held accountable by consumers when products that they sold, but did not manufacture, fail. In two studies, we show that consumers not only blame multiple parties when product failures occur – including the retailer – but also that manufacturer brand equity and retailer store image serve as important contextual cues in the blame assignment process. Specifically, building on congruity theory, we show that retailers are especially susceptible to being held responsible for failure if the equity of the failed product and the retailer store image are incongruent. Our findings also indicate that value-oriented retailers are particularly vulnerable to being blamed when high-equity products fail. Our findings suggest measuring attribution of blame between the manufacturer and retailer involved in a product failure event – instead of only the manufacturer as has been the norm in extant research – facilitates our understanding of consumer responses when product failures occur.

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Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a grant from The College of William & Mary to the second author, grant NYC-121424 from the United States Department of Agriculture to the third author, and by grants from the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University to the third author. We also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Institute for the Study of Business Markets at The Pennsylvania State University.

Citation

Germann, F., Hess, R.L. and Meloy, M.G. (2021), "Do Retailers Get Blamed When Manufacturer Brands Fail? Measurement of Multiloci Attributions and Spillover Effects", Kumar, V. and Stewart, D.W. (Ed.) Marketing Accountability for Marketing and Non-marketing Outcomes (Review of Marketing Research, Vol. 18), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 111-128. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1548-643520210000018005

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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