Consumer responses to brand failures: The neglected role of honor values

Frank May, Alokparna Basu Monga, Kartik Kalaignanam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose - Very little research addresses whether the values that consumers bring to a situation can affect their reactions to a brand failure. This paper suggests the interesting possibility that consumers may react very differently to the same brand failure depending upon their values. Here, the authors introduce a new construct to the marketing literature - honor values - and demonstrate its effect on responses to brand failures. Methodology - Three experiments and one secondary data study were utilized. Findings - Across four studies, honor values are shown to aggravate consumers' desire for vengeance following a brand failure. That is, as honor values increase, so too does desire for vengeance in the face of a brand failure. Additionally, this desire can be attenuated by allowing the consumer to play a role in resolving the failure or by giving a heartfelt apology. Practical implications - High-honor consumers are a major obstacle for firms facing a brand failure. To overcome this challenge, the authors offer strategies, including (1) allowing high-honor consumers to suggest ways to punish the offending employee, and (2) offering simple, heartfelt apologies to high-honor consumers, which are as effective as monetary compensations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-291
Number of pages35
JournalReview of Marketing Research
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing


  • Brand failures
  • Branding
  • Honor values


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