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The Consequences of Consumer Brand Hate - A Case Study of Anti-branding Websites in the Airline Industry

Scheider, Lisa LU and Purkis, Brittany LU (2016) BUSN39 20161
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Title: The Consequences of Consumer Brand Hate: A Case Study of Anti-branding Websites in the Airline Industry

Seminar Date: May 30, 2016

Course: BUSN39 - Degree Project in Global Marketing

Authors: Brittany Purkis, Lisa Scheider

Advisor: Annette Cerne

Keywords: Brand Hate, Anti-branding, Airline Industry, Consumer Brand Relationship (CBR), Consumer Complaint Behavior, Brand Avoidance, Consumer Dissatisfaction, Customer Service Quality.

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to draw further understanding and investigate the hate relationship between a particular company and consumers and to develop theory in this area of study that has grown in relevance.

Originality/Value: This study is the first to examine multiple... (More)
Title: The Consequences of Consumer Brand Hate: A Case Study of Anti-branding Websites in the Airline Industry

Seminar Date: May 30, 2016

Course: BUSN39 - Degree Project in Global Marketing

Authors: Brittany Purkis, Lisa Scheider

Advisor: Annette Cerne

Keywords: Brand Hate, Anti-branding, Airline Industry, Consumer Brand Relationship (CBR), Consumer Complaint Behavior, Brand Avoidance, Consumer Dissatisfaction, Customer Service Quality.

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to draw further understanding and investigate the hate relationship between a particular company and consumers and to develop theory in this area of study that has grown in relevance.

Originality/Value: This study is the first to examine multiple anti-branding websites that operate in the same global industry, namely the airline industry. Moreover, it appears to be the first study examining a full range of emotions and words complainants use when expressing themselves, which has been lacking in previous research.

Methodology/Design/Approach: The research design chosen for this study outlines the use of a multi-case study by studying three airline companies that have to deal with anti-branding on the internet: http://britishairwayssucks.org (British Airways Anti-brand Website), http://untied.com/ (United Airlines Anti-brand Website) and whyaircanadasucks.com (Air Canada’s Anti-brand Website). A qualitative research study in the form of netnography was undertaken in order to build an understanding of the brand hate relationship between consumers and companies. Furthermore, the study uses inductive reasoning and grounded
theory methodological approach.

Findings: Through our analysis we found two main motivations for consumers posting on an anti-branding website: 1) Seeks Compensation: This theme was comprised of consumers that were hoping to get a hold of the company and receive a refund that the consumer felt the company owed them. These posts were more objective, less aggressive, and were simply there to request compensation for their perceived losses. 2) Never Use the Company Again: These complainants were focused on negative word of mouth and were specifically there to share their story, warn others, and make the company pay for their actions. These posts were
generally longer, more descriptive, and had a much more aggressive and hateful tone to them. These findings highlight that not all consumers may feel hateful toward the company and are more focused on compensation, but they still felt lead to the anti-branding website after receiving an unacceptable response from the company. Further to this, if companies did reach out to these complainant’s and satisfied their desires, the consumer brand relationship couldbe healed. For those complainants that do feel more hate, the conclusion can be drawn that
these consumer relationships are now at the point where companies could not recover them through any sort of company efforts; therefore, companies should focus their efforts on addressing consumer complaints before they reach the point of brand hate or where consumers say they will never use the company again.
The study found that consumers’ motivation to start communicating negatively on anti-branding websites was not because of one service issue, but due to multiple service issues that angered people, with customer service complaint as the most common issue. When reviewing the antibranding website owners motivation for creating the site, all of three anti-branding site creators discussed how they felt mistreated by the airlines, which shows how many of the anti-branding
sites were born from consumer frustrations and as way of acting out. The sites were created by individuals and were initially not supported by any outside influence. The analysis of the website owner's stories further reiterate that many of these situations are avoidable and that consumer anti-branding actions could be mitigated if companies act quickly.

Theoretical Implications: This research contributes to the research domain of brand hate and anti-branding and is built on existing theories on brand hate and emotional marketing, antibranding and consumer complaint behavior. It contributes specifically to the landmark study conducted by Harrison-Walker (2001) about anti-branding sites as it builds upon her findings. Moreover, this study seems to be similar to literature about brand hate and emotional marketing; however, this study found that consumers use quite a range and different words to express their emotions. This highlights that consumers do not express their emotions as angry
as much as previous research would suggest. What is more, the anti-branding websites in this study seemed to have less of a community characteristic where users discuss different issues with one another, which is different from previous research that highlighted the community related aspect of anti-branding sites.

Managerial Implications: Our findings further reiterate that companies should not ignore consumer complaints as many of the complainants posted on the anti-branding website after initially trying to contact the company. As many of the consumers had tried to contact the company previously, better company complaint management could lessen the amount of antibranding activities against their company’s brand. Further to this, better compensation request management could reduce the number of anti-branding posts. Based on the issues found in the analysis and to lessen the amount of anti-branding activities, we suggest that companies create a digital communication plan to handle consumer complaints. This would include four parts: 1) More phone customer service representatives who are properly trained to handle consumer complaints, 2) a digital complaint management system located on the company website that is user friendly and easy for consumers to quickly submit their complaint, 3) more social media staff that respond to consumer concerns and are given the authority to help consumers and respond quickly, and 4) one background or intranet system that organizes all
complaints and allows staff to easily and quickly manage and handle complaints. Further to this, we suggest that companies put more resources into notifying consumers and providing information. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Scheider, Lisa LU and Purkis, Brittany LU
supervisor
organization
course
BUSN39 20161
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Brand Hate, Anti-branding, Airline Industry, Consumer Brand Relationship (CBR), Consumer Complaint Behavior, Brand Avoidance, Consumer Dissatisfaction, Customer Service Quality.
language
English
id
8884554
date added to LUP
2016-07-04 15:05:36
date last changed
2016-07-04 15:05:36
@misc{8884554,
  abstract     = {Title: The Consequences of Consumer Brand Hate: A Case Study of Anti-branding Websites in the Airline Industry

Seminar Date: May 30, 2016

Course: BUSN39 - Degree Project in Global Marketing

Authors: Brittany Purkis, Lisa Scheider

Advisor: Annette Cerne

Keywords: Brand Hate, Anti-branding, Airline Industry, Consumer Brand Relationship (CBR), Consumer Complaint Behavior, Brand Avoidance, Consumer Dissatisfaction, Customer Service Quality.

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to draw further understanding and investigate the hate relationship between a particular company and consumers and to develop theory in this area of study that has grown in relevance.

Originality/Value: This study is the first to examine multiple anti-branding websites that operate in the same global industry, namely the airline industry. Moreover, it appears to be the first study examining a full range of emotions and words complainants use when expressing themselves, which has been lacking in previous research.

Methodology/Design/Approach: The research design chosen for this study outlines the use of a multi-case study by studying three airline companies that have to deal with anti-branding on the internet: http://britishairwayssucks.org (British Airways Anti-brand Website), http://untied.com/ (United Airlines Anti-brand Website) and whyaircanadasucks.com (Air Canada’s Anti-brand Website). A qualitative research study in the form of netnography was undertaken in order to build an understanding of the brand hate relationship between consumers and companies. Furthermore, the study uses inductive reasoning and grounded
theory methodological approach.

Findings: Through our analysis we found two main motivations for consumers posting on an anti-branding website: 1) Seeks Compensation: This theme was comprised of consumers that were hoping to get a hold of the company and receive a refund that the consumer felt the company owed them. These posts were more objective, less aggressive, and were simply there to request compensation for their perceived losses. 2) Never Use the Company Again: These complainants were focused on negative word of mouth and were specifically there to share their story, warn others, and make the company pay for their actions. These posts were
generally longer, more descriptive, and had a much more aggressive and hateful tone to them. These findings highlight that not all consumers may feel hateful toward the company and are more focused on compensation, but they still felt lead to the anti-branding website after receiving an unacceptable response from the company. Further to this, if companies did reach out to these complainant’s and satisfied their desires, the consumer brand relationship couldbe healed. For those complainants that do feel more hate, the conclusion can be drawn that
these consumer relationships are now at the point where companies could not recover them through any sort of company efforts; therefore, companies should focus their efforts on addressing consumer complaints before they reach the point of brand hate or where consumers say they will never use the company again.
The study found that consumers’ motivation to start communicating negatively on anti-branding websites was not because of one service issue, but due to multiple service issues that angered people, with customer service complaint as the most common issue. When reviewing the antibranding website owners motivation for creating the site, all of three anti-branding site creators discussed how they felt mistreated by the airlines, which shows how many of the anti-branding
sites were born from consumer frustrations and as way of acting out. The sites were created by individuals and were initially not supported by any outside influence. The analysis of the website owner's stories further reiterate that many of these situations are avoidable and that consumer anti-branding actions could be mitigated if companies act quickly.

Theoretical Implications: This research contributes to the research domain of brand hate and anti-branding and is built on existing theories on brand hate and emotional marketing, antibranding and consumer complaint behavior. It contributes specifically to the landmark study conducted by Harrison-Walker (2001) about anti-branding sites as it builds upon her findings. Moreover, this study seems to be similar to literature about brand hate and emotional marketing; however, this study found that consumers use quite a range and different words to express their emotions. This highlights that consumers do not express their emotions as angry
as much as previous research would suggest. What is more, the anti-branding websites in this study seemed to have less of a community characteristic where users discuss different issues with one another, which is different from previous research that highlighted the community related aspect of anti-branding sites.

Managerial Implications: Our findings further reiterate that companies should not ignore consumer complaints as many of the complainants posted on the anti-branding website after initially trying to contact the company. As many of the consumers had tried to contact the company previously, better company complaint management could lessen the amount of antibranding activities against their company’s brand. Further to this, better compensation request management could reduce the number of anti-branding posts. Based on the issues found in the analysis and to lessen the amount of anti-branding activities, we suggest that companies create a digital communication plan to handle consumer complaints. This would include four parts: 1) More phone customer service representatives who are properly trained to handle consumer complaints, 2) a digital complaint management system located on the company website that is user friendly and easy for consumers to quickly submit their complaint, 3) more social media staff that respond to consumer concerns and are given the authority to help consumers and respond quickly, and 4) one background or intranet system that organizes all
complaints and allows staff to easily and quickly manage and handle complaints. Further to this, we suggest that companies put more resources into notifying consumers and providing information.},
  author       = {Scheider, Lisa and Purkis, Brittany},
  keyword      = {Brand Hate,Anti-branding,Airline Industry,Consumer Brand Relationship (CBR),Consumer Complaint Behavior,Brand Avoidance,Consumer Dissatisfaction,Customer Service Quality.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Consequences of Consumer Brand Hate - A Case Study of Anti-branding Websites in the Airline Industry},
  year         = {2016},
}