Recommended Reading / Theory

Bringing Us Together or Driving Us Apart

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Bringing Us Together or Driving Us Apart: The Effect of Soliciting Consumer Input on Consumers’ Propensity to Transact with an Organization
Wendy Liu and David Gal

Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 38, No. 2 (August 2011), pp. 242-259
Published by The University of Chicago Press

This research examines a novel process by which soliciting consumer input can affect subsequent purchase and engagement, namely, by changing subjective perception of relationship with organizations. The authors contrast different types of consumer input. Relative to no input, soliciting advice tends to have an intimacy effect whereby the consumer feels closer to the organization, resulting in increases in subsequent propensity to transact and engage with the organization. However, soliciting expectations tends to have the opposite effect, distancing the consumer from the organization. The authors demonstrate these relationship effects of consumer input in four studies involving both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Implications for theory and practice of brand relationship as well as consumer judgment and decision making are discussed.

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