Brand attachment and oppositional loyalty: The moderating role of moral identity
Guo Cheng and Weiping Yu (Sichuan University), 2021 49(10), e10804

Thanks to social networks, it is possible to see how friends or acquaintances show their brand attachment: they comment on a new product from their preferred brand, or they criticize a competitor brand. I was interested to see how behavior on social media toward brands was highlighted in the study I’ve chosen by Cheng and Yu (2021). 

When we have a strong attachment to a specific brand, we can even be willing to sacrifice our self-image, money, time, and energy to defend it or pay a price premium. These are ways that oppositional loyalty is expressed for a brand. Cheng and Yu (2021) took Xiaomi as a target brand and explored oppositional loyalty behavior and how it was moderated by moral identity. 

We live in a world where is easy to show our preference to a particular brand. Oppositional loyalty is stronger than just having a brand preference; in this study brand attachment had a strong correlation with actions of oppositional loyalty: oppositional referrals, antibrand actions, schadenfreude, and paying a price premium. But an objective to damage another brand is not necessarily of benefit to the preferred brand: moral identity was a clear moderator of these relationships. Wanting to be a moral person meant people didn’t engage in or like negative brand behavior. 

It is important for any brand to see how people are reacting in online communities or networks to their products. This can help them choose a strong marketing strategy. And this research shows that oppositional loyalty is, in the words of the authors, “a double-edged sword.” Negative behaviors could “damage favored brand equity and market value.”  

Francisco (Paco) Ángel | IT Assistant
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal