Is “brand embarrassment” stopping you from wearing that t-shirt? Scientists think they know

Posted on by Guy Cookson

Dress Normal

We recently started working with a brand that do something super cool. We can’t wait to share who they are. And when they unveil the visual identity we’re working on for them we’re pretty sure there will be t-shirts, baseball caps, stickers and other accessories to follow. The kind that you’d be happy to be seen wearing.

But that’s not the case for every brand. In fact, there are some brands you wouldn’t be seen dead wearing. But why?

Economists at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany think they know. They’ve developed an “instrument to measure brand embarrassment” to assess the ’embarrassment potential’ of a particular brand.

From Science Daily:

During their research the team of scientists noticed that consumers often communicate parts of their identity through their choice of clothing. The feeling of embarrassment will be more acute, as it is perceived as threatening the own identity, Prof. Walsh points out. People, who for instance choose a cheap brand, might worry that the ‘low-price image’ will be transferred from the brand onto themselves.

“What is finally being seen as embarrassing depends on the individual and their respective reference group. In ecologically aware consumers the use of brands that are known to waste resources can trigger embarrassment,” co-researcher Arne Albrecht says. The research team devised a tool to measure consumers’ BET, which makes it possible to determine which consumers are more likely to perceive brand embarrassment and which specific brands will trigger such a feeling. With the help of qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys, which have been conducted in Germany as well as in the USA, the researchers developed a nine-item BET scale, which provides information about how pronounced the brand embarrassment is in a person. So, for instance, the test persons had to score on a scale how embarrassing they find it to wear low priced clothing from a discounter in front of their friends and others, or if they are more likely to wear brand products in public than at home.

Read the rest here.




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