Consumer Alienation By Brands: Examining the Roles of Powerlessness and Relationship Type

Preeti Krishnan, University of Manitoba, Canada
Namita Bhatnagar, University of Manitoba, Canada
Rajesh V. Manchanda, University of Manitoba, Canada
The construct of alienation (i.e., perceived exclusion) is introduced within the domain of consumer-brand relationships. A process-model that maps the linkages between powerlessness (specifically, felt helplessness in changing unfavorable brand decisions) and consumer-brand relationship type (communal versus exchange) is conceptually developed. Results of three laboratory experiments suggest greater consumer alienation, and relationship transformation from communal to exchange, as perceived power over reversing unfavorable brand decisions declines. The moderating effects of perceived treatment meted out by the brand, and sincerity of apologies proffered are also examined. Insights into strategies for inoculating brands against consumer reactions to unpopular corporate decisions are intended.
[ to cite ]:
Preeti Krishnan, Namita Bhatnagar, and Rajesh V. Manchanda (2009) ,"Consumer Alienation By Brands: Examining the Roles of Powerlessness and Relationship Type", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 955-956.