Thursday, August 18, 2011

New research with tarnishment implications

This forthcoming study suggests that (1) consumers are highly resistant to bad information about their favorite brands because they treat those brands as an extension of themselves, undercutting the theoretical foundation for tarnishment, but also that (2) there's a sort of personhood interest in brands given that many of us define ourselves through brand identification. I've always thought of this as the Centerfold theory; your self-concept may depend on the behavior of some other person (or in this case, entity), but that still doesn't give you a right to control that other person.


Mark McKenna said...

This is fascinating - though I think it goes beyond undercutting the theoretical foundation for tarnishment. The Toyota example used in the article is an example in which consumers confronted brand failure that was unequivocally attributable to the brand owner itself. That suggests strong brands don't even suffer much from disappointment where consumers believe the brand is associated with the failure - undercutting even likelihood of confusion liability if you look at it from a brand owner perspective.

jordan said...

Would that definition include children?

Rebecca Tushnet said...

jordan: I think it would. We may have duties to our children, and our children may have duties to us, but they aren't dependent on the extent to which the behavior of our children makes us feel good or bad.