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The Impact of Fear on Emotional Brand Attachment

Lea Dunn and JoAndrea Hoegg

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 1, 152 - 168

Abstract: The current research investigates the role of fear in the creation of emotional attachment to a brand. Previous research examining the influence of incidental negative emotions on brand evaluations has generally found that negative emotions lead to negative evaluations. The current research suggests that for fear, the relationship may be more positive. Since people cope with fear through affiliation with others, in the absence of other individuals, consumers may seek affiliation with an available brand. This, in turn, will enhance emotional attachment to that brand. Four studies demonstrate that consumers who experience fear in the presence of a brand feel greater emotional brand attachment than consumers who experience other emotions such as happiness, sadness, or excitement. The findings from the research advance understanding of consumer-brand relationships by demonstrating that relationships between consumers and brands are not merely metaphorical. Rather, under certain circumstances, brands can actually fulfill interpersonal psychological needs.

Date: 2014
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