Inspire me to purchase: Consumers’ personal control and preference for underdog brand positioning

Yangyi (Eric) Tang*, Alex S L TSANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Many marketers choose to position their brands as underdogs instead of top dogs in the marketplace. Research suggests that underdog positioning may elicit favorable consumer responses, although little is known about when it is more effective. To address this gap, we examine how personal control influences consumers’ responses to underdog (vs. top dog) positioning. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that low-control consumers prefer brands positioned as underdogs because the passion and determination exemplified in underdog positioning can inspire those consumers to cope with their loss of control. Studies 3 and 4 show that low-control consumers’ relative preference for underdog positioning is moderated by both their shopping orientation and the causal attribution for their loss of control. We discuss the practical implications of these results for effective marketing communications and the theoretical implications for the growing research on underdog positioning and customer inspiration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Volume115
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Branding
  • Inspiration
  • Personal control
  • Positioning strategy
  • Underdog

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