I am Not What I Like: Endorsing Brands on Social Media Negatively Affects Consumers’ Self-Evaluation

Bernritter, Stefan F.; Loermans, Annemijn C.; Eigenraam, Anniek and Verlegh, Peeter W.J.. 2022. I am Not What I Like: Endorsing Brands on Social Media Negatively Affects Consumers’ Self-Evaluation. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 57(1), pp. 159-175. ISSN 1094-9968 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

To what extent do consumers incorporate the identity of brands they endorse on social media into their self-concept? Contrary to popular belief, we argue that online brand endorsements may not necessarily lead to inclusion of the brand into the self and may, consequently, lead to contrast effects that negatively affect consumers’ self-evaluations. We test our hypotheses across five studies. We find that consumers who endorse a brand on social media subsequently negatively adjust their self-evaluations on traits that reflect the brand’s key personality traits. This effect occurs only if they endorse the brand (i.e., by ‘liking’ or ‘following’ it), but not when they just visit the brand’s social media page. Moreover, the effect is moderated by brand symbolism, with stronger effects if the brand is perceived to have low brand symbolism. The downwards shift in consumers’ self-evaluations negatively affects brand outcomes. We also explore the role of incentives as counter mechanism. In conclusion, our findings reveal a dark side of promoting consumer endorsement of brands on social
media; a dark side that has implications not only for consumers, but also for brands.

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Additional Information:

© 2022 Direct Marketing Educational Foundation, Inc., dba Marketing EDGE


online brand endorsements; Social Comparison Theory; assimilation and contrast effects; self-evaluation; social media; brand personality; consumer identity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


2 November 2021Accepted
9 February 2022Published Online
February 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

10 Jan 2022 16:26

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2022 11:18

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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