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research Building Awareness of Negative Branding 54 November/December 2013 BizEd ate/not under my control." In the process, they asked participants to describe their relationships to particular brands by assigning them to one of 27 different categories, such as "flings" and "broken engagements." They also could choose descriptions such as "addict to dealer," which might be apt for companies that sell cigarettes or alcohol, or "stalker to prey," which might summarize how they feel about credit card companies that lure consumers into charging purchases. The researchers hold that managers must be aware of any negative brand relationships among their customers so that they can mitigate damage to their reputations—or avoid it altogether. "Managing negatives," they note, "may actually be more important for brand equity development than cultivating positive connections with brands." "Relating Badly to Brands" appeared in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology. J U DITH THOMAN DL/G LOW I MAG ES Managing negatives may be more important than cultivating positive connections to brands. ALTHOUGH ONE OF an organization's goals is to bond consumers to its brand, that bond can sometimes be tainted, say researchers from the Boston University School of Management in Massachusetts. Even worse, marketers are often unaware of the unfavorable connections even loyal customers have to their company, according to marketing professor Susan Fournier and doctoral student Claudio Alvarez. They point to the first-time symphony ticket buyer who feels "stalked" by relentless phone calls for donations or a frequent flyer who feels mistreated by his chosen airline. In fact, Fournier and Alvarez find that consumers have negative relationships with brands more often than they do positive relationships—by about 55 percent to 45 percent, respectively. The pair conducted two studies, involving participants in four countries, to study four dimensions of brand relationships: "positive/negative," "significant/ superficial," "equal/unequal power," and "deliber-

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