Love or hate, depends on who's saying it: How legitimacy of brand rejection alters brand preferences

Miao Hu, Pingping Qiu, Fang Wan, Tyler Stillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Brand rejection, defined as messages or actions of rejection originating from brands or their representatives and targeted towards consumers, is an increasingly documented phenomenon among companies and brands. The current research examines the perceived legitimacy of brand rejection as a novel and critical moderator for the outcomes of brand rejection. We theorize and show that when brand rejection is deemed to be legitimate, consumers who are rejected show increased preferences towards the focal brand compared to those who did not experience rejection, replicating past research. However, when brand rejection is deemed to be illegitimate, rejected consumers show decreased preferences for the rejecting brand compared to those who did not experience rejection. We further theorize and test that the interactive effects of brand rejection and rejection legitimacy are mediated by perceived brand status. Managerial insights on how legitimacy of brand rejection impacts branding strategies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • Brand preference
  • Brand rejection
  • Brand status
  • Rejection legitimacy

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