Information processing in consumer relationships: The effect of emotional commitment

Christy Ashley, University of Rhode Island


Consumer researchers have a vested interest understanding what drives profitable consumer relationships with brands. In the past, researchers have uncovered that emotional bonds with brands are a key drivers of consumer behaviors which impact profitability, including switching, price sensitivity, and referrals. Researchers have also uncovered that commitment based on emotions, also known as emotional commitment, leads to more sustainable relationships than commitment to brands based on cognition. In a related area of interest, researchers have explored how consumers process information when they are committed to brands. Researchers are interested in how a consumer's motivation to process brand information helps to build or dismantle brand relationships. Therefore, it is surprising that researchers have not addressed emotional commitment to brands and its distinction from other types of commitment in the context of information processing. I responded to this gap by providing an overarching perspective on emotional commitment's role in information processing. My perspective was developed from both the relationship literature and the research on affect in information processing. I linked these two literature bases and empirically tested the consequences of emotional commitment on information processing. Specifically, I developed a scale to capture emotional commitment. Then, I tested whether emotional brand commitment increased consumer resistance to negative information about the brand. I tested whether emotional commitment increased a consumer's motivation to counteract negative mood consistency effects and the effects of vivid negative information. I also explored what happened when emotionally attached consumers could not integrate extreme negative information about the brand to their existing schemas. Finally, I looked at the implications for managers, who can increase profitability by improving their understanding of the role emotional commitment plays in consumers' responses to information. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing

Recommended Citation

Christy Ashley, "Information processing in consumer relationships: The effect of emotional commitment" (2006). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3225310.