PurposeThere is increasing interest in understanding negative consumer reactions to brands and the nature of negative brand perceptions. The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize the construct of brand hypocrisy from a consumer perspective and develop a scale to measure it.Design/methodology/approachA multiphase scale development process involving 559 consumers was conducted. Study 1 pertains to item generation and reduction phases. Study 2 reports on scale purification and validation through confirmatory factor analyses and model comparisons. Study 3 focuses on discriminant and predictive validity, while Study 4 further investigates predictive validity using real brands with differences in brand hypocrisy.FindingsA 12-item scale measuring four dimensions of brand hypocrisy is developed: image hypocrisy (brand failing to put words into action), mission hypocrisy (brand exerting an unacknowledged negative impact on society or consumer well-being), message hypocrisy (brand conveying unrealistic or unattainable images) and social hypocrisy (brand supporting social responsibility initiatives for strategic purposes only). Results indicate that brand hypocrisy is distinguishable from similar constructs in the literature and that it is a significant predictor of negative word-of-mouth and brand distance.Practical implicationsThis conceptualization provides managers with a detailed understanding of what constitutes a hypocritical brand in the eyes of consumers as well as insights about how to prevent consumer perceptions of brand hypocrisy.Originality/valueFindings enrich the understanding of negative consumer inferences related to brands and provide a conceptualization of an understudied but increasingly relevant form of brand judgment.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 19, 2019
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