When a Brand is a Sincere Friend: Compensatory Response to Social Exclusion
How do consumers respond when they experience threats to interpersonal relationships, or social exclusion? This research suggests that consumers will seek brands that are characterized by a specific personality trait dimension. In particular, consumers will seek sincere brands as a means to fulfill the need to belong. I argue that this sincerity orientation effect occurs because the sincerity dimension is positively associated with relationship growth and strength. Several studies demonstrate that when excluded, consumers become biased in their impressions of and preferences for sincere brands; they also feel stronger self-brand connections to sincere brands. Further, two studies demonstrate the moderating roles of identity-relevant affirmation and self-esteem in the relationship between exclusion and sincerity orientation towards brands.
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