Brand anthropomorphism can be analyzed from two different perspectives, that of the company that uses it as a marketing communication tool and that of consumers, who turn to the brand as having human characteristics to express their feelings in a strong, direct and explicit way. The brand anthropomorphism phenomenon has been investigated in relation to positive consumer-brand relationships whereas, to the best of authors’ knowledge, there are no studies that discuss it in reference to the negative consumer-brand relationships. Therefore, this study aims to deepen brand anthropomorphism in the specific context of social media-based anti-brand communities, investigating whether and how it affects brand hatred. Methodologically, this study is based on a quantitative analysis of the data gathered from an online survey of members of the three main anti-brand communities towards Apple. These communities have been observed by the authors for almost two years, in order to collect the comments published by the members and to find out what are the prevailing factors which potentially affect the relationship between brand anthropomorphism and brand hate. Thus, after having defined a research model based on five variables (“brand anthropomorphism”, “brand hate”, “negative previous experiences”, “ideological incompatibility”, “blame attribution”), this study aims to investigate the link existing between them and in particular whether the direct, mediate or moderate relationships exist between them. To this end, we posed eight research hypotheses on the relationships between these identified variables, and tested them through a regression analysis. The results of the study show that there isn´t a direct relationship between brand anthropomorphism and brand hate, as we expected, and that an important role in this relationship is played by the “ideological incompatibility” and the “blame attribution”. In fact, as for “ideological incompatibility”, it positively moderates the relationship between brand anthropomorphism and brand hate, confirming our hypothesis that the primary reason for brand hate refers to a divergent consumer values system in comparison with the brand’s one. Moreover, within the wide “ideological incompatibility” concept, consumers develop a strong negative feeling towards brand perceived as socially irresponsible. In respect to “blame attribution”, it positively impacts on brand hate, confirming our hypothesis of existing a direct relationship between them, whereas it does not mediate the relationship between brand anthropomorphism and brand hate. This study is pioneer in the investigation of brand anthropomorphism phenomenon in social-media based anti-brand communities, and represents a starting point for further research on the topic.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.