Is consumer arrogance driving word-of-mouth recommendations?
A new study from Michigan State University finds consumer arrogance often drives word-of-mouth and suggests that marketers may be able to leverage this “bragging” tendency.
“Arrogance is when you broadcast your superiority to others, whereas consumer arrogance is broadcasting your superiority to others via consumption,” said Ayalla Ruvio, professor of marketing at MSU and the lead author of the study, in a statement. “Whether it’s, ‘I got a better deal on a product than you,’ or, ‘Look at my new car,’ it’s all about showing others how great a consumer you are, better than them.”
In five studies, researchers found that triggering people’s sense of consumer arrogance makes them more likely to engage in word-of-mouth communication.
The tendency, however, was found to be a double-edged sword for marketers.
“While most consumers prefer to engage in positive word-of-mouth communication and talk about their consumption triumphs, we found that consumer arrogance fuels both positive and negative word-of-mouth communication,” Prof. Ruvio said.
Their sense of arrogance will lead consumers to share negative information if they regard their consumption experience as a failure. In such cases, negative word-of-mouth communication will help them reaffirm their sense of superiority, especially if the failure occurred in the presence of others.
Researchers said the findings should provide marketers with a strategic mechanism to add to their arsenal of managerial options for how to engage in the marketplace, particularly on social media.
“It is predicted that in 10 years, the conventional world of marketing will disappear and will rely only on word-of-mouth marketing — especially for those of the younger generation who do not trust marketing messages from companies, and rely on influencers, recommendations and other forms of word-of-mouth communication,” Prof. Ruvio said. “This is why the social phenomenon of consumer arrogance is critically important to understand.”
- Selling Something? Tap Into Consumer Arrogance – Michigan State University
- Consumer arrogance and word-of-mouth – Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the concept of “consumer arrogance” and its link to word-of-mouth recommendations (and criticism)? Can marketers leverage such bragging tendencies?