Positive and negative behaviours resulting from brand attachment: the moderating effects of attachment styles

Arnold Japutra, Yuksel Ekinci, Lyndon Simkin

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of brand attachment on brand loyalty, trash-talking, Schadenfreude and anti-brand actions. Furthermore, this study examines the moderating effects of attachment styles on these relationships.

Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on a survey of 432 respondents and the data are analysed using the Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) approach.

Findings – This study empirically supports that brand attachment and attachment styles (i.e., anxiety attachment and avoidance attachment) are distinct. Brand attachment not only influences consumers’ positive behaviour (i.e., brand loyalty), but also negative behaviours, such as trash-talking, Schadenfreude and anti-brand actions. The findings of the study suggest that only avoidance attachment style moderates the relationships between brand attachment and these consumer behaviours. The link between brand attachment and brand loyalty is attenuated for high attachment avoidance consumers. In contrast, the links between brand attachment with trash-talking, Schadenfreude and anti-brand actions are strengthened.

Practical implications – This study assists marketing managers in understanding that a strong brand attachment may result in negative behaviours and harm a company’s brand image. Companies should beware the negative consequence of building relationships with consumers who have a high level of attachment anxiety and/or avoidance. Managers could use attachment styles, particularly attachment avoidance, to segment customers and develop appropriate tactics to hinder their negative behaviours.

Originality/value – This paper highlights that brand attachment not only influences brand loyalty behaviour, but also three negative behaviours: trash-talking, Schadenfreude and anti-brand actions. Moreover, the links between brand attachment and negative behaviours are strengthened when consumers have high level of attachment avoidance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Early online date23 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 23 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • attachment styles
  • brand attachment
  • brand loyalty
  • trash-talking
  • Schadenfreude
  • anti-brand actions

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