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Nicolas Kervyn - The Human Brand? What Social Psychology can teach us about Brand Perception

Tuesday, 26 November, 2013 - 12:15
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculty: Social Sciences and Solvay Business School
Raadzaal (Boardroom) C 2.07 A for BUSI /VUB

Brands as intentional agents

 A growing body of research suggests that consumers have relationships with brands that resemble relations between people. We propose that as it is the case for social perception, consumers perceive brands along the two dimensions of warmth and competence. Building on the Stereotype Content Model, we introduce and test the Brands as Intentional Agents Framework. This model allows us to explore how social perception theories and processes can predict brand purchase interest and loyalty.

Differences in judgments of brands 

In three studies we tested our hypothesis that a brand that caused a disaster would be judged more harshly if its warmth rather than competence reputation was called into question. Indeed our results showed that framing the cause of a corporate scandal in terms of low warmth resulted in harsher judgments toward the brand than framing the cause as related to incompetence.

Better understanding of brand perception

In another line of research, we use the Brands as Intentional Agents Framework to systematically investigate the influence of brand perception on experienced taste and consumer behavior toward food products. The brand’s perceived warmth and competence independently influenced taste, both when it was measured as a belief and as an embodied experience following consumption. Importantly, taste mediated the link between brand’s warmth and competence perceptions and buying intentions.

Based on these three lines of research we discuss how social psychology can inform our understanding of brand perception.


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