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Brands: The Opiate of the Nonreligious Masses?

  • Ron Shachar

    ()

    (Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, 69979 Tel Aviv, Israel; and Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708)

  • Tülin Erdem

    ()

    (Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, New York 10012)

  • Keisha M. Cutright

    ()

    (Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708)

  • Gavan J. Fitzsimons

    ()

    (Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708)

Are brands the "new religion"? Practitioners and scholars have been intrigued by the possibility, but strong theory and empirical evidence supporting the existence of a relationship between brands and religion is scarce. In what follows, we argue and demonstrate that religiosity is indeed related to "brand reliance," i.e., the degree to which consumers prefer branded goods over unbranded goods or goods without a well-known national brand. We theorize that brands and religiosity may serve as substitutes for one another because both allow individuals to express their feelings of self-worth. We provide support for this substitution hypothesis with U.S. state-level data (field study) as well as individual-level data where religiosity is experimentally primed (study 1) or measured as a chronic individual difference (study 2). Importantly, studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that the relationship between religiosity and brand reliance only exists in product categories in which brands enable consumers to express themselves (e.g., clothes). Moreover, studies 3 and 4 demonstrate that the expression of self-worth is an important factor underlying the negative relationship.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1100.0591
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Marketing Science.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (01-02)
Pages: 92-110

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:30:y:2011:i:1:p:92-110
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  1. Grinne M. Fitzsimons & Tanya L. Chartrand & Gavan J. Fitzsimons, 2008. "Automatic Effects of Brand Exposure on Motivated Behavior: How Apple Makes You "Think Different"," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 21-35, 03.
  2. Krueckeberg, Harry F. & Hamilton, John R., 1981. "Consumer Perceptions Of National, Generic, And Private Brand Grocery Products," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 12(1), February.
  3. Sirgy, M Joseph, 1982. " Self-Concept in Consumer Behavior: A Critical Review," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 287-300, December.
  4. Belk, Russell W, 1988. " Possessions and the Extended Self," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 139-68, September.
  5. Bart J. Bronnenberg & Sanjay K. Dhar & Jean-Pierre H. Dubé, 2009. "Brand History, Geography, and the Persistence of Brand Shares," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 87-115, 02.
  6. ., 2006. "Technology Foresight and Long-Term Perspectives," Chapters, in: Innovation Dynamism and Economic Growth, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  7. Barrett, Alan & Coleman, Kieran & Delaney, Liam & Fahey, Tony & Gannon, Brenda & Kearney, Ide & McCarthy, Yvonne & Nolan, Brian & Walsh, John R., 2006. "Budget Perspectives 2007," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BMI192 edited by Callan, Tim.
  8. Albert M. Muiz Jr. & Hope Jensen Schau, 2005. "Religiosity in the Abandoned Apple Newton Brand Community," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(4), pages 737-747, 03.
  9. Linda Court Salisbury & Fred M. Feinberg, 2010. "Alleviating the Constant Stochastic Variance Assumption in Decision Research: Theory, Measurement, and Experimental Test," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, 01-02.
  10. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
  11. Avi Goldfarb & Qiang Lu & Sridhar Moorthy, 2009. "Measuring Brand Value in an Equilibrium Framework," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(1), pages 69-86, 01-02.
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