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Stuck in a crisis - An experimental study of the effect of the reaction of firms on the brand equity in times of crisis.

Kamphuis op Heghuis, Sjarlot (2012) Stuck in a crisis - An experimental study of the effect of the reaction of firms on the brand equity in times of crisis.

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Abstract:In times of crisis the brand equity of the organization is in danger. To manage the effect of the crisis, organizations can use the Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) of Coombs (2007) to choose a fitting crisis response strategy. But then again, what is the added value of the different crisis response strategies in relation to the post brand equity. This study compares the effect of the different crisis response strategies on the brand equity of an organization and the consumer’s sympathy towards the organization after a crisis. Furthermore, this study examined the role of prior brand trust on the post-crisis brand equity. The perceived brand equity after the crisis is operationalized by brand loyalty, brand quality and brand awareness/association. This study contained five crisis response strategies and one control group measuring prior brand equity. To test the relationship between the different variables, an online experiment with a fictitious news article varied on the five different crisis response scenarios were used. The results of 189 participants’ shows that an organization in crisis should use the diminish, rebuild or bolstering crisis response strategy, rather than a denial response strategy or no response at all. Trust plays a major role in the effect of the crisis response strategies on brand equity, in a way that it can protect an organizations’ post-crisis brand equity. In other words, the post-crisis brand equity of an organization with favourable prior trust is more positive than the post-crisis brand equity of an organization with unfavourable prior trust. An unfavourable prior trust will hurt the organization and therefore, they need to consider using the SCCT. Moreover, the results support the theory that assume that the bolstering response strategy generates more sympathy than the other crisis response strategies.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62149
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