You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2013 / November / Brand Loyalty Not Always a Benefit, Study Finds

Brand Loyalty Not Always a Benefit, Study Finds

Brand commitment might not always be a good thing, finds new research from authors at the Penn State Smeal College of Business. In the case of high-severity product recalls, Irving & Irene Bard Professor of Marketing Raj Grewal and his colleagues write that consumers with a high level of brand commitment may actually respond more negatively than those with less loyalty.
November 8, 2013

Rajdeep Grewal
Rajdeep Grewal

Brand commitment might not always be a good thing, finds new research from authors at the Penn State Smeal College of Business. In the case of high-severity product recalls, Irving & Irene Bard Professor of Marketing Raj Grewal and his colleagues write that consumers with a high level of brand commitment may actually respond more negatively than those with less loyalty.

Brand commitment is found in consumers who are “attached to brands, form close relationships with them, and have a general desire to maintain this close relationship,” according to the authors.

The prevailing wisdom is that brand commitment will help brands retain their standing among consumers in the case of negative attention like a product recall, but the authors found the reality to be more nuanced.

"[C]ommitted consumers might view a product recall as a ‘breach of contract,’ and hence might exhibit more negative responses following a recall announcement than their less committed counterparts.”

In cases of high-severity recalls—or, recalls of products that could cause serious injury or death—the authors found that brand commitment actually acted as a liability.

“[C]ommitted consumers may come to expect more from the brand they like and thus feel especially disappointed when the brand gets recalled,” the authors write. “Indeed, committed consumers might view a product recall as a ‘breach of contract,’ and hence might exhibit more negative responses following a recall announcement than their less committed counterparts.”

On the other hand, in cases of low-severity or ambiguous product recalls, Grewal and his colleagues confirm that brand commitment can help mitigate fallout. Previous research shows that consumers tend to resist negative information regarding brands they love, so brand loyalty can be helpful in the case of recalls that have a lower possibility of negative effects.

“Product recalls and the moderating role of brand commitment” is forthcoming in Marketing Letters: A Journal of Research in Marketing and is currently available online. Authors include Grewal, Frank Germann of the University of Notre Dame, William T. Ross, Jr., of the University of Connecticut, and Rajendra K. Srivastava of the Singapore Management University.

Recent News
Smeal Community Invited to Sign Honor Code 29 Aug

The Penn State Smeal College of Business community will have an opportunity to sign the Smeal honor code throughout the second week of classes. Signing sessions will take place on Sept. 2-4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Atrium of the Business Building on the University Park campus.

Smeal Student, Bitcoin Advocate Wins Trip to London Cryptocurrency Conference 27 Aug

Penn State Smeal College of Business student Patrick Cines will fly to London next month to attend the Inside Bitcoins: The Business of the Cryptocurrency World conference, thanks to a Twitter contest sponsored by CheapAir.com.

Students Learn Real-World Supply Chain and Sustainability Skills in Italy 26 Aug Students Learn Real-World Supply Chain and Sustainability Skills in Italy

This summer 23 Penn State Smeal College of Business students spent six weeks in Florence, Italy, studying supply chain and management from an Italian perspective with Norm Aggon, assistant department chair and instructor in operations and supply chain management, and Ron Johnson, senior instructor in management and organization.

Smeal Welcomes New Faculty Members 26 Aug

The Penn State Smeal College of Business welcomes more than 15 new members to its faculty this academic year.

MBA Students in U.S., Canada Invited to Register for Sustainability Case Competition 22 Aug

MBA students from AACSB-accredited programs in the U.S. and Canada are invited to register for the inaugural Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition. The competition, part of an initiative aimed at incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, will offer three top prizes that total $17,500.

More Recent News... More Recent News...