Escaping the Crosshairs: Reactance to Identity Marketing

Amit Bhattacharjee, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Jonah Berger, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA
A large body of research suggests that targeting consumers based on social identity may lead to deeper customer loyalty. In contrast, three experiments demonstrate that identity marketing may have a dark side. Appeals that target consumer identities too strongly may be perceived as threatening consumer freedom to express that identity, provoking consumer reactance and thus reducing purchase likelihood. However, managers may unwittingly prefer identity marketing messages likely to provoke reactance. In addition to these consequences for the brand, results suggest that consumers reacting against identity marketing messages may de-emphasize the targeted identity, with implications for subsequent, unrelated identity-relevant decisions.
[ to cite ]:
Amit Bhattacharjee and Jonah Berger (2010) ,"Escaping the Crosshairs: Reactance to Identity Marketing", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 53-56 .