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Resistance to Brand Switching When a Radically New Brand is Introduced: A Social Identity Theory Perspective

Journal of Marketing, Forthcoming

58 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2010 Last revised: 2 Jun 2010

Son K. Lam

University of Georgia - Department of Marketing

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

Ye Hu

University of Houston - Bauer College of Business

Niels Schillewaert

Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School

Date Written: April 5, 2010

Abstract

There has been little research on how market disruptions affect customer–brand relationships and how brand loyalty may be sustained when disruptions occur. Drawing from social identity theory and the brand loyalty literature, the authors propose a conceptual framework to examine these questions in a specific market disruption, the introduction of a radically new brand. The framework focuses on the time-varying effects of customers’ identification with and perceived value of the incumbent relative to the new brand on switching behavior. The authors divert from the conventional economic perspective of treating brand switching as functional utility maximization to propose that brand switching can also manifest customers’ social mobility between brand identities. Results from longitudinal data of 679 customers during the launch of the iPhone in Spain show that both relative customer–brand identification and relative perceived value of the incumbent inhibit switching behavior, but their effects vary over time. Relative customer–brand identification with the incumbent apparently exerts a stronger longitudinal restraint on switching behavior than relative perceived value of the incumbent. The study has important strategic implications on devising customer relationship strategies and brand investment.

Keywords: customer–brand identification, perceived value, switching, branding, relationship

JEL Classification: M30

Suggested Citation

Lam, Son K. and Ahearne, Michael and Hu, Ye and Schillewaert, Niels, Resistance to Brand Switching When a Radically New Brand is Introduced: A Social Identity Theory Perspective (April 5, 2010). Journal of Marketing, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584687

Son K. Lam (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - Department of Marketing ( email )

GA
United States

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

334 Melcher Hall
Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
713-743-4155 (Phone)
713-743-4572 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/Directory/profile.asp?firstname=Michael&lastname=Ahearne

Ye Hu

University of Houston - Bauer College of Business ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States

Niels Schillewaert

Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School ( email )

Library
REEP 1
Gent, BE-9000
Belgium

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