The Dissociative Nature of Product Enthusiasts

Jeffrey Lee, Harvard Business School, USA
While fans of a product are generally considered to be beneficial from a managerial perspective, in some instances their enthusiasm for the product can negatively impact the product’s adoption. In four studies, I find that “product enthusiasts” can lower other consumers’ interests in a focal product and likelihood of adopting it (Studies 1 and 2). Furthermore, this negative effect occurs due to the dissociative nature of product enthusiasts (Study 3), and can be attenuated in situations where the producing brand is more established or well-known (Study 4). These results suggest that practitioners need to be careful in managing the exposure of product enthusiasts to non-enthusiasts, to prevent the ironic effect of having negative reactance to a product’s (overly) positive fans.
[ to cite ]:
Jeffrey Lee (2011) ,"The Dissociative Nature of Product Enthusiasts", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 881-884.