This research demonstrates that information threatening a consumer's self-association with a brand can increase preference for the threatened brand, an effect termed brand pursuit. Summing across a field study and three experiments, the research shows that experienced anxiety mediates the effect of threat on brand pursuit, that a-priori self-brand association strength moderates the effect of threat (since those with stronger association experience more anxiety in response to threat), and that reinforcing the self on other dimensions eliminates the effect of threat on brand pursuit. In addition, this research proposes that self-concept threats are best understood if conceptualized in terms of the specific associations they target. The key implication of these findings is that threats to self-brand associations can be an effective strategy for increasing brand preference, a tactic contrary to marketing convention.
- Self-brand association