Purpose This paper aims to provide a better understanding of negative consumer-brand relationships in social-media-based anti-brand communities from a consumer culture theory perspective. In particular, it investigates the purpose and the meaning of the consumer participation in online anti-brand communities, also through the analysis of the ways in which they express negative feelings towards the hated brands. Design/methodology/approach This study applies a “symbolic netnographic” method to six anti-brand communities related to four global brands, namely Apple, Nestlé, Uber and McDonald’s. Moreover, several interviews were conducted with anti-brand community administrators. Findings The findings show that the main reason for consumers to join anti-brand communities is a desire to participate in the construction of new meanings and values of modern consumption, translating their ideological incompatibility with certain brands into negative engagement and activism aimed at destroying the hated brand’s image and reputation. Furthermore, the findings reveal that brand anthropomorphism is a frequent means of communication also used in the context of negative consumer-brand relationships, in order to strengthen the battle against the hated brand in a more frontal and direct manner. Practical implications Understanding the antecedents and types of negative consumer-brand relationships enables companies to identify “brand recovery strategies” for managing negativity in the appropriate manner. Moreover, negative feelings towards brand could even be an opportunity for improving branding management. Originality/value This research improves on previous few studies dealing with online anti-brand communities from a consumer culture theory perspective. Firstly, it provides a holistic perspective of negative consumer-brand relationships in general and, specifically of brand hate, thus advancing our understanding of the sociocultural dynamics of negative consumer-brand relationships; secondly, it provides new insights into the brand anthropomorphism phenomenon emerging in the negative feelings context. Overall, this research contributes to knowledge for both academics and managers as to why, how and for what purpose consumers experience negative engagement towards certain brands in the specific context of social-media-based anti-brand communities.

“I’m hatin’ it”! Negative consumer–brand relationships in online anti-brand communities

Popoli Paolo
2022

Abstract

Purpose This paper aims to provide a better understanding of negative consumer-brand relationships in social-media-based anti-brand communities from a consumer culture theory perspective. In particular, it investigates the purpose and the meaning of the consumer participation in online anti-brand communities, also through the analysis of the ways in which they express negative feelings towards the hated brands. Design/methodology/approach This study applies a “symbolic netnographic” method to six anti-brand communities related to four global brands, namely Apple, Nestlé, Uber and McDonald’s. Moreover, several interviews were conducted with anti-brand community administrators. Findings The findings show that the main reason for consumers to join anti-brand communities is a desire to participate in the construction of new meanings and values of modern consumption, translating their ideological incompatibility with certain brands into negative engagement and activism aimed at destroying the hated brand’s image and reputation. Furthermore, the findings reveal that brand anthropomorphism is a frequent means of communication also used in the context of negative consumer-brand relationships, in order to strengthen the battle against the hated brand in a more frontal and direct manner. Practical implications Understanding the antecedents and types of negative consumer-brand relationships enables companies to identify “brand recovery strategies” for managing negativity in the appropriate manner. Moreover, negative feelings towards brand could even be an opportunity for improving branding management. Originality/value This research improves on previous few studies dealing with online anti-brand communities from a consumer culture theory perspective. Firstly, it provides a holistic perspective of negative consumer-brand relationships in general and, specifically of brand hate, thus advancing our understanding of the sociocultural dynamics of negative consumer-brand relationships; secondly, it provides new insights into the brand anthropomorphism phenomenon emerging in the negative feelings context. Overall, this research contributes to knowledge for both academics and managers as to why, how and for what purpose consumers experience negative engagement towards certain brands in the specific context of social-media-based anti-brand communities.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/108496
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