Dr. Jennifer Stoner recently presented a study on “Asymmetric Consumer Response to Competent Brands’ and Warm Brands’ Product-Harm Incidents and Subsequent Corrective Actions” at the Society for Consumer Psychology Virtual Conference. Authors include Jennifer Stoner (University of North Dakota), and Vivek Astvansh (University of Indiana).
The authors show – using an experiment – that in the aftermath of a brand’s product-harm incidents, its perceived competence, but not warmth, determines consumers’ complaining. Econometric modeling of observational data further confirms that competence decreases the number of complaints, but warmth increases complaints. The authors next demonstrate that the brand’s warmth, but not its competence, determines consumers’ compliance with the brand’s product-recall notice – a corrective action in the aftermath of product-harm incidents. An experiment and observational data support the hypotheses. In summary, competence attenuates complaining but does not elicit compliance, whereas warmth does not affect complaining, but elicits compliance.