Whether or not brands are your friend, a lot of research has shown that people form weirdly deep connections to them. These consumers have a sense that certain brands represent who they are in important ways, and they often want to communicate that fact by displaying their allegiance to the brands in question. In a recent paper in Marketing Letters, a team led by Eunjin Kim of the Missouri School of Journalism wanted to examine brands from a different angle: What might cause people to avoid or downplay their connection to brands that are normally seen as prestigious?
First, the team had 117 undergrads name the brands with which they most strongly identified in a number of different categories, and then rate, on a scale of one to seven, "brand identification, brand prestige, brand distinctiveness, and ATSCI." That last measure, ATSCI, is key — it stands for "attention to social comparison information," and it "refers to a person’s degree of sensitivity to social comparison cues." People with high ATSCI are more keen to these cues.
For the Old Navy shirts, there was no correlation between a study participant's level of ATSCI and logo-size preference. But students with high ATSCI — again, those who are more obsessive about social cues — were more likely to choose the smaller logos for the prestigious brands.
Here's how the research attempt to explain this:
Our work ... demonstrates that brand avoidance behaviors can also be engendered simply by social-evaluative uncertainty among high ATSCI consumers. Desiring assimilation with others, these individuals are chronically apprehensive about the reactions of their peers, a proposition verified by data from our preliminary studies. High ATSCI consumers consequently keep a low profile in their brand choices, preferring to blend in and not stand out, minimizing scrutiny and possible criticism from others.
The idea here is that the more sensitive you are to social comparisons, the more risk-averse you are when figuring out which brand associations to display. "[High ATSCI] individuals are anxious to protect their current social status and are not necessarily looking to improve their social status," the researchers write.
I guess if someone came up to you after work and said, "You thinkyou have the right to wear a Polo shirt?!" that would be pretty embarrassing.
Study Source: Link
Courtesy: Science of Us