Keeping It Real: How Perceived Brand Authenticity Affects Product Perceptions

Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming

60 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2019

See all articles by Melissa Cinelli

Melissa Cinelli

University of Mississippi

Robyn A. LeBoeuf

Washington University in St. Louis

Date Written: June 5, 2019

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of firm motivation (an intrinsic or extrinsic interest in their product) on perceptions of brand authenticity and anticipated product quality. Specifically, studies 1 and 2 show that an intrinsic motivation increases authenticity perceptions which, in turn, increase perceived product quality, even for negatively regarded products. Studies 3a and 3b demonstrate that motivation affects perceived product quality (through perceived authenticity) by influencing deliberate attribute-level inferences consumers make about the product, and Study 4 demonstrates that the positive effect of intrinsic motivation (through authenticity) disappears in the presence of objective product attribute information, when such inferences are no longer necessary. These findings suggest that authenticity perceptions are malleable, and they shed light on the mechanism through which brand authenticity leads consumers to anticipate that a brand’s products will be higher in quality.

Keywords: authenticity, branding, motivation

Suggested Citation

Cinelli, Melissa and LeBoeuf, Robyn A., Keeping It Real: How Perceived Brand Authenticity Affects Product Perceptions (June 5, 2019). Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3403150

Melissa Cinelli (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi ( email )

Oxford, MS 38677
United States

Robyn A. LeBoeuf

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

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