|Brand Avoidance; Anti-Consumption; Negative Brand Equity; Consumer-Brand Relationships; Social Sciences; Economics and Business; Business Administration; Samhällsvetenskap; Ekonomi och näringsliv; Företagsekonomi; IHH, Företagsekonomi; IHH, Business Administration
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Background - As of today, the positive forms of consumer-brand relationships have been intensively researched, whereas its counterpart has attained far less attention. Whilst current literature is focused on increasing positive brand equity, the knowledge of negative brand equity is sparse. When the brand-consumer relationship is negatively affected and the brand equity is unfavourable, rejection of a specific brand, namely brand avoidance might occur. This may affect companies negatively if not managed properly. Therefore, brand avoidance is a phenomenon demanding further research. Purpose - The purpose of this study is to investigate, and gain a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons of why consumers engage in brand avoidance within the Swedish cosmetics industry for women. Method – In this cross-sectional study with an underlying qualitative and abductive research approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted utilising a convenience sampling approach that also incorporated characteristics of snowball sampling. The participants, 18 Swedish female cosmetics consumers, were interviewed face-to-face or over Skype. Findings - This study has validated the main drivers of brand avoidance: Experience-, Identity-, Moral-, Deficit-Value- and Advertising. Furthermore, it confirmed that the reasons for engaging in brand avoidance could be intertwined and are highly individual, making it nearly impossible to generalise. Moreover, four new factors behind brand avoidance were found: Product Attributes, Employee-Brand Relationship, Ethical Concerns and Negative WoM. Lastly, the motive Food Favoritism was found to apply not only to food products, but also to cosmetic products. Finally, the findings resulted in a modified framework of factors behind brand avoidance.