I am ashamed of my brand-self! Consumer-brand identification as a moderator of emotional reactions following symbol-laden brand failures

Wolfgang Jonas Weitzl, Clemens Hutzinger, Udo Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)



The study of shame has a long tradition in intra- and inter-personal psychology. This paper aims to investigate whether consumers can experience brand shame after self-relevant consumption incidents. Specifically, this research proposes that consumers follow a complex shame-inducing process in the aftermath of unpleasant experiences involving their favorite brand. The moderating role of relational tie strength between consumers and their favorite brand existing prior to symbolic failures is examined.


A scenario-based, online survey (n = 660) among consumers who have recently experienced a self-relevant failure with their favorite brand was conducted. Confirmatory factor analysis ensured the reliability and validity of the measurement model. For testing the conceptual model, data was analyzed by means of a moderated mediation analysis. The proposed model was tested against, among others, common method bias and alternative models. The findings were cross-validated with a scenario-based online experiment (n = 1,616).


Results show that brand shame is a key mediator between customer dissatisfaction and brand anger when self-relevant, symbolic failures happen. Moreover, strong consumer-brand identification triggers brand-detrimental effects. It is shown to influence the connection between consumers’ inward- (i.e. brand shame) and resulting outward-directed (i.e. brand anger) negative emotions on brands, which lead to consumer vengeance.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this research is the first to introduce the concept of situational brand shame to the literature on favorite brands. Furthermore, it shows that consumer-brand identification moderates the direct and indirect (via brand shame) unfavorable effects of failure-induced dissatisfaction on brand anger. This research adds insights to the investigation of the “love-becomes-hate” effect arising after self-relevant failures involving consumers’ most preferred brand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Issue number1
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventEMAC 2022 - Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 24 May 202227 May 2022


  • Brand failure
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Consumer-brand identification
  • Identification
  • Loyalty
  • Branding


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