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A Name You Can Trust? Personification Effects Are Influenced by Beliefs About Company Values

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ABSTRACT

Are consumers more likely to trust a product when it is branded with a human name rather than a nonhuman name? While the extant literature on brand personification reveals a positivity bias for personified products, other research suggests that many contemporary consumers harbor underlying feelings of mistrust toward companies more generally. The present research was the first empirical research to date to investigate the moderating role of consumers’ beliefs toward company values on brand trust judgments for human-named and nonhuman-named products. The results showed that although consumers significantly trusted nonhuman-named products over human- named products (Studies 1a and 1b), this pattern only occurred for those who generally mistrusted companies (Study 2). These novel findings significantly shed light on the dynamics of brand personification by emphasizing the crucial role of individual differences in consumer judgment.

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