Consumers Seeking Connection: Essays on When and Why Consumers Connect with Others

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2022

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I explore the relational consequences of humor in brand-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer relationships. In the first essay, I demonstrate that the cleverness of a brand’s humor attempts affects consumers’ brand attitudes and engagement with the brand. This effect is mediated by perceptions of brand warmth and competence and moderated by consumers’ need for cognition. I demonstrate this effect in six studies including a field study (using data scraped from Twitter) and several lab experiments. In the second essay, I explore ways to make solitude feel less socially disconnecting. Across four studies, I show that people who experience solitary amusement feel less socially disconnected than people who experience solitary happiness. This effect is mediated by other-focus such that people who are amused (vs. happy) think more of others. Together, these two essays demonstrate that humor can be an effective way to foster both consumer-brand and consumer-consumer relationships.

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Howe, Holly Samantha (2022). Consumers Seeking Connection: Essays on When and Why Consumers Connect with Others. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25827.

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Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.