Relationships skew how consumers judge brands. Consumers form connections with brands in ways that mirror social relationships. How consumers evaluate a brand depends heavily on whether the brand adheres to—or violates—the implicit relationship agreement.
The results of one experiment depended heavily on whether the consumer was in an exchange relationship with the brand—for example, a relationship based primarily on economic factors, or in a communal relationship based on caring, trust, and partnership (State Farm, for example, sells itself as a “Good Neighbor.”) When the brand made a mistake, good treatment didn’t improve a negative evaluation by “transactional” consumers. But when these same consumers got what they paid for, respectful treatment raised their estimation of the brand — as though adding to the vale of the deal. The reverse held for consumers in a more social, or communal, relationship. Via Futurity.org