Management response to negative comments, psychological distance and product nature: a consumer perspective

Chundong Zheng, Liping Yuan, Xuemei Bian, Han Wang, Lei Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose – Management response to consumer comments has become a widely adopted marketing strategy to address the undesirable effects caused by negative remarks. Yet, when and what management response is more effective and under what circumstances remains under-researched. This study aims to fill this gap.
Design/methodology/approach – In three experiments using five different products, the authors manipulate psychological construal level (psychological distance: distant vs proximal) and management response (response of primary vs secondary features) and thereafter assess their bearings on consumer psychological and behavioral reaction toward products of two distinctive natures (hedonic vs utilitarian).
Findings – At a psychological distance, consumers show a preferable reaction to management response of primary over secondary features. In contrast, when the psychological distance is proximal, consumers react more positively to management response of secondary than primary features. In addition, these effects vary as a function of product nature, hedonic vs utilitarian.
Research limitations/implications – The findings of this research bring a significant contribution to marketing communication literature and extend the construal level theory.
Practical implications – A better understanding of the relative effectiveness of distinct types of management response to negative consumer comments is essential for more targeted and effective marketing strategies.
Originality/value – Little research has documented the effects of distinct types of management response. How psychological distance might underpin these effects has not been explored. In addition, whether the interaction effect of management response and psychological distance varies with differences in product nature, namely, hedonic and utilitarian, remains unanswered until this research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2551-2573
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Volume54
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2020

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