Antecedents and Consequences of Brand Authenticity

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Antecedents and Consequences of Brand Authenticity
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Minor,Melissa D
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Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
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University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Business Administration, Marketing
Committee Chair:
LeBoeuf, Robyn A
Committee Members:
Cooke, Alan D
Lutz, Richard J
Janiszewski, Chris A
Shepperd, James A

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authenticity -- branding -- image -- impression -- management
Marketing -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
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Business Administration thesis, Ph.D.
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Abstract:
Researchers in marketing, psychology and sociology have identified a desire for authenticity both in personal and consumption contexts. However, in marketing, research on authenticity is still generally considered exploratory, and much of the literature uses a qualitative approach to define the construct and its effects on consumer behavior (Beverland 2005; Elliott & Davies 2006). Whereas previous work has focused on how consumers authenticate products, services and experiences, this work will examine the role of brand authenticity in consumer decision making. In a set of nine experiments, I show that perceived brand authenticity affects brand-related cognitions such as perceived quality and willingness to pay and suggest a mechanism through which this effect occurs. Additionally, I investigate whether authenticity is uniformly beneficial for the brand.
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
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by Melissa D Minor.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
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Adviser: LeBoeuf, Robyn A.

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1 ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF BRAND AUTHENTICITY By MELISSA MINOR A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSO PHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011

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2 2011 Melissa Minor

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3 To my parents thank you for valui ng and encouraging my education

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my chair, Robyn LeBoeuf, who has tirelessly guided me through the last five year s with patience, encouragement and optimism Without her willingness to advise mentor, and meet fr equently to discuss minutiae, I may not have been able to complete this journey. I would also like to thank my committee members, Richard Lutz, Alan Cooke, Chris Janiszewski and James Shepperd, for their advice, support of my work, and inspiration during my first years of the program. I also thank Joel Cohen for his interest in my success, and for suggesting graduate school in the first place. I also than k my friends for the less formal support I have received during the PhD program. I would particularly like to thank my Florida elders, who guided me through life as a PhD student, dispensing wisdom as we grew together: Dan Rice, Juliano Laran, Julia Bayuk Jesse and Jen Itzkowitz. I also thank my cohort, Jeremy Lim, who has always been available for airing grievances and concerns. I would especially like to thank my parents and family for their encouragement and support. I thank my parents for placing an emphasis on education in my life, and for accepting graduate school as a viable alternative to getting a job. I thank my new husband, Michael Cinelli, for plac ing my wants above his own and tolerating me, even when stress made me more irrational than usual.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLE S ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 2 CONSUMER DESIRE FOR AUTHENTICITY ................................ ......................... 12 Industrialization ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 12 Hyperreali ty ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 12 3 WHAT IS AUTHENTIC? ................................ ................................ ......................... 15 Products, Services and Experiences ................................ ................................ ...... 15 Brands ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 18 Benefits of Authenticity to the Firm ................................ ................................ ......... 22 4 OVERVIEW OF EXPERIMENTS ................................ ................................ ............ 25 5 EXPERIMENT 1 ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 27 Study 1a ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 27 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 28 Resul ts ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 30 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 3 4 Study 1b ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 35 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 35 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 36 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 39 Study 1c ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 39 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 40 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 42 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 43 6 EXPERIMENT 2 ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 44 Study 2 ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 44 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 45

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6 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 47 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 48 7 EXPERIMENT 3 ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 49 Study 3a ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 49 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 50 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 50 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 52 Study 3b ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 53 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 53 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 55 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 56 Study 3c ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 57 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 58 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 60 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 62 8 EXPERIMENT 4 ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 64 Study 4a ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 64 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 64 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 66 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 69 Study 4b ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 69 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 70 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 71 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 74 9 GENERAL DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ....................... 75 Fit With Prior Research ................................ ................................ ........................... 77 Limitations and Future Research ................................ ................................ ............ 78 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 81 APPENDIX A AUTHENTICITY, QUALITY, CONFIDENCE AND CSR MEASURES ..................... 82 B AUTHENTICITY INVENTORY ................................ ... 83 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 85 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 89

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 6 1 Brand personality and authenticity scale means. ................................ ................ 48

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 6 1 Change in beliefs following revelation of corporate ownership. .......................... 34 6 2 ................................ ........... 38 8 1 Changes in authenticity and quality perceptions among participants with low and high cognitive load. ................................ ................................ ...................... 56 8 2 Authenticity and quality perceptions among participants with low and high cognitive load. ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 61 8 3 Believability of claimed and inferred product attributes among participants with low and high cognitive load. ................................ ................................ ........ 62 9 1 Ch ange in authenticity perceptions following a transgression. ........................... 67 9 2 Change in quality perceptions following a transgression. ................................ ... 68 9 3 social behavior. ............ 73

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9 ABSTRACT OF DISSERTA TION PRESENTED TO TH E GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFIL LMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Antecedents and Consequences of Brand Authenticity By Melissa Minor August 2011 Chair: Robyn LeBoeuf Major: Business Administration Researchers in marketing, psychology and sociology hav e identified a desire for authenticity both in personal and consumption contexts. However, in marketing, research on authenticity is still generally considered exploratory, and much of the literature uses a qualitative approach to define the construct and its effects on consumer behavior. Whereas previous work has focused on how consumers authenticate products, services and experiences, this work will examine the role of brand authenticity in consumer decision making. In a set of nine experiments, I show that perceived brand authenticity affects brand related cognitions such as perceived quality and willingness to pay and suggest a mechanism through which this effect occurs. Additionally, I investigate whether authenticity is uniformly beneficial for the brand.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION impulse in twentieth and early twenty first century culture (Heynen 2006). Consumers today crave authenticity. B oth Martin Seligman and Dr. Phil h ave written New York Times Bestsellers on the topics of finding happiness and life fulfillment through also seek authenticity in the marketplace demanding authentic travel experiences (Thompson and Tambyah 1999; Caruana, Crane and Fitchett 2008), souvenirs (Costa and Bamossy 1995; Chhabra 2005), retail settings (Penaloza 2001; Wal lendorf, Lindsey Mullikin, and Pimentel 1998) and brands (Holt 2002). Consumer demand has translated into immense interest in the topic of authenticity among the popular business press. The buzz surrounding authenticity in the marketplace has led some aut hors to make rather grandiose claims about its importance for marketers, such as John Grant, who writes in The New Marketing Manifesto s and TIME Magazine, which claims that authen While the consumer desire for authenticity seems well established, there has been rather little empirical research on the underpinnings and consequences of authenticity. Authenticity in the mar keting literature takes many forms, reflecting the myriad colloquial understandings of the term. The existing literature on authenticity addresses how consumers authenticate products ( Costa and Bamossy 1995; Chhabra 2005 ), travel

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11 experiences ( Thompson and Tambyah 1999; Caruana, Crane and Fitchett 2008 ), services ( Hoschild 1983; Grayson and Shulman 2000 ), and advertisements ( Chalmers 2007 ). The common finding is that consumers prefer authenticity. What is missing is a discussion of what makes a brand auth entic or inauthentic and what consequences this might have for the brand. While there are several theoretical accounts of its importance (Holt 1998, Pine & Gilmore 200 8 ), little is known about the precise factors that make a brand seem authentic (vs. inau thentic) and about the myriad ways in which the presence (vs. absence) of authenticity might affect consumer perceptions. An understanding of these factors is, obviously, important for understanding the impact of authenticity on the brand and on the firm. This research will demonstrate that authenticity is a facet of the brand that can be manipulated and will show that consumer related cognitions such as quality perceptions and willingness to pay. Additionally, this research will suggest a perceptions This research will also explore potentially ironic consequences of fostering authenticity, suggesting that brands that make authenticity claims may be penalized especially harshly following transgressions and may not be rewarded after pro social actions.

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12 CHAPTER 2 CONSUMER DESIRE FOR AUTHENTICITY Consumer demand for authenticity is hypothesized to stem from two primary sources: industrialization an d the hyperreality of postmodernity. Industrialization Holt (1998) found that authenticity was associated with distance from the commodified nature of mass markets and mass consumption, in particular for highly educated consumers. In addition to creati ng a stark sameness, industrialization and mass production also made it easier for products (and their symbolism) to be recreated ity to be prized ( p. 1094) of authenticity and feature prominently in marketing and sociological theories. rrounds claims of authenticity that, within the social psychological dimension, is played against the negative symbols of the masses or mass trends and aligned with staying true to yourself and representing who you are (McLeod 1999, p.140). When asked to provide a definition consumers use words like genuine, original and unique (Munoz, Wood and Solomon 2006). Hyperreality Despite the popularity of mass production as an argument for the increased attention paid to authen ticity, some researchers attribute the surge to a more temporally proximal cause: hyperreality. Hyperreality refers to the modern inability to distinguish between what is real and what is fake, often thanks to technology and the media

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13 (Baudrillard 1994, E co 1976). The postmodern problem of hyperreality reflects a : real or natural. Hyperreality as an argument for the advent of authenticity reflects not only a growing disdain for the unreal, but also a growing wariness of market over saturation authentic identity formation, the postmodern market is threatening because of its expansive choice and promotional densi stylized, authentic (Botterill 2007, p.118). In stark opposition to the mass production of products following World War II, con sumers now find themselves in a market that is stocked to the brim with subtle variations of thousands of offerings. Coupled with the use of unsure as to which brands the y should trust, which model they want, and whether or not they even need the product in question. The result is a nostalgic conception of Converse are some of the rare symb ols and objects that appear to endure the rapid changes of modernity, [and] thus take on the aura of authenticity providing a romantic escape, because in a postmodern marketplace glutted with choice, nostalgia for the size fits all mass mar ket can excite a certain appeal of authenticity (p. 122; Botterill 2007 ). Indeed, the popularity of classic black Converse sneakers (Lucky Chuck authenticity: the threat of the mass market.

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14 The fact that reflects a desire for auth enticity also highlights the existence of multiple, and sometimes paradoxical, definitions and conceptions of authenticity bot h for consumers and marketers. Much of the marketing literature on the topic of authenticity attempts to define exactly what it means for a market offering to be authentic. I will review this literature in Chapter 3 and then distinguish brand authenticity from product authenticity.

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15 CHAPTER 3 WHAT IS AUTHENTIC? Products, Services and Experiences Although the importance of authe nticity for modern branding has been suggested in the popular business press, academic work primarily focuses on how consumers determine whether or not an object is authentic. For example, previous work has examined how consumers authenticate souvenirs ( C osta and Bamossy 1995 ), wine ( Beverland 2005 ), beer ( Beverland, Lindgreen and Vink 2008 ) and food products ( Groves 2001 ). In general, this work follows the traditional meaning of authenticity, in that it asks abou t the provenance of the product specifica lly asking who made the product as well as when, where and how it was made. This dissertation focuses on brand authenticity, but I will first briefly review the literature on authenticating product offerings to provide context. I will then discuss how id eas of authenticity are relevant for brands, and distinguish brand authenticity from the existing literature on object authenticity. Following a strict interpretation of the term, Grayson and Martinec (2004) identify two types of authenticity: indexic al and iconic authenticity. An object is indexically painting is considered authentic if it can be demonstrated that Picasso did indeed paint it, and that the painti ng is the original, and not a reproduction. Objects gain indexical authenticity through a spatio temporal link with the world (Peirce 1998). According to object is one t hat is believed to have particularly valued or important phy sical encounters with the world (p. 298).

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16 In contrast, an object is iconically authentic if it resembles something that is indexically authentic. For example, a reproduction of a Picasso paint ing could be deemed iconically authentic if it accurately replicates the original painting. Interestingly, this definition of authenticity enables consumers to perceive as authentic that which is inherently unreal. V signed based on clues from the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, judged it as authentic or inauthentic based on whether or not it matched the image they had formed in their head of what his home should look like (Grayson and Martinec 2004) In a similar, e xperience based, situation, Munoz, Wood and Solomon (2006) found that some consumers assessed the authenticity of Irish themed bars by comparing their experience with the image they had in their mind of what an Irish bar should look like. Although Grayso n and Martinec (2004) identify two clear paths by which objects may gain authenticity, the literature suggests a number of additional ways in which consumers authenticate products. Specifically, offerings are considered authentic if they are produced usin g traditional methods (Beverland 2005, Peterson 2005), if they original (not mainstream; McLeod 1999; Munoz, Woods, and Solomon 2006). These thenticity reflect a more abstract perspective on Grayson P ast research has found that consumers consider natural products to be authentic (Groves 2001; Boyle 2003; Munoz, Wood and Solomon 2006; Beverland 2005; Pott er 2008). According to Potter (2008),

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17 Whatever authenticity actually refers to, it has nothing to do with the technological, the mass produced and the commercialized ( p. 13 This conceptualization of authenticity our understanding of iconic authenticity. Many consumers are now nostalgic for how they picture things used to be an imagined simplistic time when people and products perceptions of British foodstuffs, she found that products with a handmade appearance w ere perceived to be more authentically British because their appearance made them In other words, the products should be Many times, con determined by the marketer. When products meet the standards set by their own marketing communications, consumers perceive these products to be authentic (Gilmore and Pine 2007). This conceptualizatio n is what Beverland, Lingreen and Vink be deemed authentic. However, p roducts do not actually have to be what they say they are. Instead, they can be deemed authentic by merely appearing to be what they claim to be. Beverland, Lindgreen and Vink (2008 perceptions of a variety of beer brands and their packaging and advertisements. All their traditions. Consumers in the study used cue s from the advertising and product

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18 labeling to determine whether or not they believed the beer brand actually was a Trappist beer or if they thought the brand was just trying to use the Trappist label to gain popularity in the market. Beers considered to be real Trappist beers were deemed authentic, even if they were not, in fact, actual trappist beers. Similarly, Chhabra (2005) found that consumers used cues such as country of origin and adherence to the city of tourist souvenirs. These findings reinforce the assertion that authenticity is constructed, not inherent in the object (Grayson and Martinec 2004; Cohen 1988). Finally, the perception that a market offering is original or not mainstream has bee n found to boost perceptions of authenticity (McLeod 1999). Rooted in the colloquial hop subculture felt that products were no longer authentic when they perceived that these pro ducts were being assimilated into the mainstream. Positioning oneself against the production. Authentic offerings are frequently contrasted with commodified offerings, which Cohen (1988) s perceive as authentic that which is one of a kind or new to the world design, not a copy or imitation (quoted in Brown 2008) uthenticity Brands While the popular marketing press extols the virtues of authenticity in branding, there is a marked lack of em pirical research on the topic. Whereas object authenticity focuses on the provenance of the product, brand authenticity as ks the more abstract

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19 Specifically, to determine whether a brand is authentic or not, the consumer must evaluate the motives of the brand. Like object authenticity, brand authenticity can be described as indexical or iconic. However, u n like authenticating products or experiences, determining whether a brand is authentic or not reflects a motivational judgment that is more akin to the evaluation of authentic behavior in people and as such, finds it s meaning in psychological theories of p ersonal authenticity. This perspective is appropriate for brands given their status as entities with personalities (Aaker 1997) and relationships (Fournier 1998 ). Although the definition of authentic functioning in humans has been debated for centuries, r authentic when their actions reflect their true or core self (Self De termination Theory; Deci and Ryan 1985 2002; Ryan and Deci 2000). Kernis and 6 ) multicomponent conc eptualization of authenticity stems from these theories and has four components: awareness, unbiased processing, behavior and relational orientation. More specifically, Kernis and Goldman claim that to be authentic, an individual must know himself ( e.g., his motives, feelings, desires, etc.), must process self relevant information in an unbiased manner, and must value openness and truthfulness in close relationships. As for authentic behavior, Kernis and Goldman (200 6 ) say that involves behavior that reflects self determination, that is, autonomy and choice, as opposed to controlled behavior that is contingent upon meetin g introjected or extern al goals (p. 19).

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20 in doing so, one is not involved in pretense. Hughes (2000) says that being authentic means bein Trilling ( 1972 ) ulation or feigning or pretense According to Self Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan 1985 2002; Ryan and Deci 2000 ) people are authe ntic when they are au tonomous and self determining when their behaviors reflect their true self. This perspective informs speculation about two different authenticity judgments: whether the actor perceives himself to be acting authentically and whether th e audience perceives the actor to be authentic. For the actor, authenticity is experienced as self determination and autonomy ( Deci and Ryan 2002). may be key in ju expression appears to be the absence of impression management. Handler (1986) says that the part from any roles we play (p. 2). Recently, several authors have given attention to the role of impression management in the services context. In his book The Managed Heart Hoschfield viders receive a wage for managing their feelings to created desired impressions on customers. This behavior is inherently inauthentic, and while Hoschfield investigates the effects of such inauthenticity on the service provider herself, other researchers have speculated as to how such inauthentic performances affect consumer perceptions of the service encounter (Grayson and Shulman 2000) Grandey et al. (2005) found that authenticity

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21 is important in service encounters, even when a consumer would otherwis e be satisfied with the encounter. In an experimental setting, the authors found that hotel patrons who had a positive encounter with the front desk staff were significantly more satisfied with s were genuine. Similarly, Winsted (1999) found that Americans want their waitresses to be more authentic and Parvez (2006) found that women enjoyed pornography more when they felt the actress was authentically enjoying the sex act. Ultimately, according to Khalsa (1999), The conceptualization of authenticity as intrinsically versus extrinsically motivated beha vior is readily applied to branding According to Hughes (2000) an Here, a solely for the ulterior purpose of making money. According to Holt (2002): t o be authentic, brands must be disinterested; they must be perceived as invented and disseminated by p arties without an instrumental economic agenda, by people who are intrinsically motivated by their inherent value. Postmodern consumers perceive modern branding efforts to be inauthentic because they ooze with the comm ercial intent of their sponsors (p. 83). Many of the brands that consumers generally consider to be authentic, such as Harley Davidson and Apple, also promote their passion for what they do. In addition to being true to the underlying ethos or identity of the company (reflecting indexical a uthenticity) a brand can be true to what Peterson (2005) calls whereby one remains true to the presentation of self one claims ( reflecting iconic authenticity; Goffman 1959). This judgment requires

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22 multiple interaction s with a person or brand, and suggests that the consumer expects behavioral consistency from the brand However, it is not enough to consistently deliver on specific product claims. Instead, the brand must deliver on the image its projects to its custome actions [must align] with the story it t ells through its communications (quoted in Breen 2007, p. 2). Some brands have had their authenticity called into question when they cl aim to be one thing but then fail to deliver on the promises implicit in their image. For friendly restaurant, utilizing in the restaurants because of the bad attitudes of the servers, the disheveled appearance of the restaurant, and problems with the food. The disconnect between saying and doing projects inauthenticity onto the brand. From a managerial perspective, the im portance of actual or perceived authenticity lies in its effects on consumer decision making and behavior. Although almost all research on the subject has been qualitative in nature, there is some evidence that judgments of authenticity have the potentia l to have a direct impact on Benefits of Authenticity to the Firm Munoz, Woods, and Sol omon (2006) directly asked consumers about the importance of authenticity during the decision making process. They found that US consumers thought authenticity, per se, was important and that it was also important when deciding which bar to patronize. St udying running advertisements, Chalmers (2007) found that

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23 product and brand informa tion is evaluated: without a positive authenticity assessment, the informational benefits of the advertisement ar e not successfully communicated (p. 15). This suggests that consumers first make a judgment about how authentic the brand or advertisement is and then use this judgment to guide their further search for information. If the product is deemed inauthentic, the consumer may decide to pass on it completely, regardless of what other benefits it offers. Similarly, Groves (2001) discovered through de complexity of a purchase decision as consumers used it as an indicator of the sensory assumed that products they considered to be authentic would also have other characteristics they wanted, and therefore they could limit their search and decision making to products they considered authentic. There is also evidence that perceptions of authenticity have an effect on authenticity is bidirectional. Groves (2001) found that British consumers perceived more expensive grocery items to be more authentic and suggested that this relationsh ip was moderated by perceived product quality. However, her case studies also suggested that the respondents were willing to pay more money for products they deemed authentic because they were also believed to be of higher quality. Whereas evaluating the authenticity of a product offering involves evaluating the culmination of a set of behaviors (the resulting product), the evaluation of brand

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24 behavioral judgment, the b rand authenticity judgment is more closely related to the judgment of authentic behavior among people, and involves assessing the motivators motivated are believed to be m ore authentic than brands whose behaviors are perceived to be extrinsically motivated. This dissertation will investigate cues authenticity judgment.

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25 CHAPTER 4 OVERV IEW OF EXPERIMENTS In The Managed Heart Hoschfield compares the work experience of the service provider ( e.g., flight attendant) and the laborer ( e.g., worker in a wallpaper factory) He emotional s tyle of offering the service is part of the service itself in a way that loving or hating wallpaper is not a part I suspect that this is no longer true. As consumers become savvier about the role of marketing in shaping the bran ds and products they consume, they develop an appreciation for that whic For brands, this means that consumers are looking for brands with substance: brands with a genuine interest in the products they are producing and th at live up to their own hype. Although there is some evidence that being authentic provides benefits to the firm, most, if not all, of these conclusions have been drawn from depth interviews or other qualitative work. What is missing is experimental evi dence regarding (a) what can make a brand seem authentic (vs. inauthentic), (b) the types of inferences that consumers make when confronted with an authentic brand, and (c) the precise types of benefits that authenticity provides to the firm. This disserta tion examines factors that make a brand seem more versus less authentic. I also examine how authenticity perceptions affect other brand related cognitions such as perceived product quality, willingness to pay, and consumer confidence. Based on the resear ch reviewed above, I hypothesize that consumers will infer that more authentic brands are higher in quality and that consumers will be willing to pay more for products from an authentic brand. Additionally, to the extent that consumers believe that authen tic brands are more transparent than inauthentic brands,

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26 I hypothesize that consumers will be more confident in the inferences they make about authentic brands (vs. inauthentic brands). I also examine the process through which consumers use brand authenti quality. I hypothesize that product quality inferences are the result of a deliberative process during which consumers evaluate the likelihood that an authentic (vs. inauthentic) brand possesses desirabl e characteristics. Finally, I examine potential negative consequences of authenticity, examining how consumers respond to transgressions and charitable acts performed by authentic (vs. inauthentic) brands. I predict that, because consumers have higher ex pectations for authentic brands, those brands will be penalized more harshly for transgressions and will benefit less from charitable acts than will inauthentic brands.

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27 CHAPTER 5 EXPERIMENT 1 Experiment 1 examines whether perceptions of brand authenticit y positively influence other brand cognitions, such as perceptions of quality and willingness to pay. My main hypothesis is thus: H1: When consumers perceive a brand to be authentic, they will also perceive it to be of higher quality, be willing to pay m ore for it, and be more confident in their attitudes toward it. Study 1a Study authenticity. Whereas other research has examined differences in perceptions between brands differing in authenticity, study 1a manipulates authenticity perceptions within a single brand. Specifically, I manipulate perceived authenticity by informing participants that ostensibly authentic brands are actually owned by large corporations. I predict that thi s information will affect perceptions of authenticity because the discrepancy between the images and motives of the focal brands and those of their parent corporations should cast doubt on whether the focal brands truly are who they say they are, a key com ponent in perceptions of authenticity. I further predict that, as the information about the corporate parents casts doubt on perceptions on brand authenticity, these effects on authenticity will lead to lowered perceived quality, lower willingness to pay, and lower confidence. Thus: H2: Learning that an (otherwise authentic) brand has a corporate parent will lower perceptions of authenticity, quality, confidence and willingness to pay, but the changes in quality, confidence, and willingness to pay will be mediated by changes in perceived authenticity.

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28 However, I hypothesize that learning about a corporate parent will only be detrimental to authentic brands. Brands that are not perceived as intrinsically authentic should not be harmed by an affiliation with a parent corporation (as any discrepancy between the motives of the corporation and the motives of such brands should be small). If anything, the connection to a large, respected corporation may bolster H3: typically perceived as authentic, but will not be detrimental for brands that are not typically perceived as authentic. Method Participants Participants were 77 undergraduate st udents at a large, southeastern university who received course credit in exchange for participation. Stimuli Participants evaluated two generally authentic brand s and two generally (personal car e products) and Naked (juice). Both of these brands meet the criteria of existing authenticity definitions in the literature, in that both claim to be passionate about making their products and deliver a product that consistently reflects the image of th e brand (Holt 2002; Potter 2008). These particular brands were chosen because despite their is owned by Clorox and Naked is owned by Pepsi The inauthentic brands were Amp Ener gy (energy drink) and Fresh Step (kitty litter) These brands were chosen for two reasons. First, they make no authenticity claims in their advertising and therefore should not be considered highly authentic.

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29 Second, these brands are owned by the same and Naked respectively: Pepsi owns Amp Energy and Clorox owns Fresh Step Procedure Participants were informed that the experimenters were interested in how consumers form judgments about brands. They were informe d that they would receive new information about several brands over the course of the experiment and that, after receiving each new piece of information, they would be asked to evaluate the Bees Naked Amp Energy and Fresh Step current print advertisement for the brand and a mission statement taken from the Bees After pa rticipants reviewed this information, they were asked a series of questions about the brand, including measures of authenticity, quality, attitude confidence and willingness to pay (see Appendix A ). The authenticity and quality questions were randomly ord ered and were followed by the judgments of attitude confidence and authenticity, naturalness, motives, and ability to meet its promises. To measure quality, participants were predict their satisfaction with the product, and to give an overall attitude. After answering these questions, participants rated how confident they were in the opinions

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30 they had expre ssed about the brand. Finally, participants were asked to indicate how much they would be willing to pay for a product manufactured by the brand. After evaluating the first brand, participants completed the procedure again for each of the three other bra nds, with brand order randomized. After making their initial evaluations, participants completed two unrelated filler rmed that the brand is owned by this is owned by Clorox .) While accurate, this information was generally unknown to our participants. After receiving this information, participants were again asked to evaluate the brand on the same dimensions as before. This procedure was repeated for a ll brands, with brand order again randomized. Results Preliminary Analyses vs. Naked for authentic brands; Amp Energy vs. Fresh Step for inauthentic brands) did not interact with the other factors fo r any dependent measures (all p s >.29), the data composites. Next, the four measures of authenticity were averaged into a single authenticity composite measure. Each auth enticity composite (Brand 1, Time 1; Brand 1, T ime 2; authentic brands to be more authentic than the inauthentic brands on this composite measure at Time 1 ( M s = 5.43 vs. 3.67, respectively; t (76) = 18.55, p < .01), su pporting our categorization of these brands as authentic and inauthentic.

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31 For the main analyses, responses were analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA with brand authenticity and time (before vs. after the corporate information was revealed) as within s ubjects factors. Authenticity The analysis revealed significant main effects of time ( F (1, 76) = 11.86, p < .01) and brand type ( F (1, 76) = 11.86, p < .01) on authenticity perceptions, but, as hypothesized, these factors interacted ( F (1, 76) = 28.46, p < .01). As predicted, participants perceived the authentic brands to be significantly less authentic after learning of their corporate affiliations ( M Time2 = 4.93) than before ( M Time1 = 5.43; F (1, 76) = 25.17, p < .01). However, among the inauthentic br ands, knowledge of the corporate affiliation had no effect on perceptions of authenticity ( M Time1 = 3.67 vs. M Time2 = 3.73; F (1, 76) = 1.03, p = .31). Quality The four measures of quality were averaged into a single composite score. Each composite (Br quality composites in all studies and will not be reported further. For the quality measures, similar result s emerged. There was a main effect of brand type ( F (1, 76) = 66.99, p < .01) and a marginally reliable main effect of time ( F (1, 76) = 3.83, p < .06), but, as hypothesized, time and brand type interacted to influence quality perceptions ( F (1, 76) = 19.73, p < .01). Consistent with our hypotheses, quality perceptions were lower among authentic brands after learning about the corporate parents than before ( M Time1 = 5.66 vs. M Time2 = 5.34; F (1, 76) = 15.45, p < .01). However, among the inauthentic brands, a ffiliation with a corporate entity actually higher

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32 quality after their corporate owners were revealed ( M Time1 = 4.45 vs. M Time2 = 4.58; F (1, 76) = 5.47, p < .05). Confidence There was also a significant interaction between time and brand F (1, 76) = 5.10, p < .05) as well as a main effect of brand type ( F (1, 76) = 13.88, p < .01) but no main effect of time ( F (1, 76) = 1.72, p participants having lower overall confidence in their evaluations of the brand ( M Time1 = 5.66 vs. M Time2 = 5.45; F (1, 76) = 5.79, p < .05). Among inauthentic brands, corporate affili M Time1 = 5.16 vs. M Time2 = 5.19; p < 1). Willingness to Pay Time and brand type reliably interacted to influence willingness to pay ( F (1, 76) = 12.54, p < .01). There was also a main effe ct of brand type ( F (1, 76) = 124.15, p < .01) but no effect of time ( F (1, 76) = 1.17, p = .28). Participants reported a lower willingness to pay for the authentic brands after learning of their corporate affiliations ( M Time1 = $2.36 vs. M Time2 = $2.20; F ( 1, 76) = 8.00, p < .01). In the corporate ownership information ( M Time1 = $5.52 vs. M Time2 = $5.58; F (1, 76) = 1.06, p = .31). Mediation Analysis We next examined wh ether the effects of revealing the corporate parents on the quality, confidence, and willingness to pay measures were mediated by changes in authenticity perceptions. For the purposes of this analysis, we combined the quality, confidence, and willingness to pay measures into a single

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33 responses to each dependent measure were standardized across Time 1 and Time 2. These standardized measures were then averaged into a singl e composite measure of favorability for each time period. Authenticity composite scores (the proposed mediator) were also standardized. (The mediation analysis was only conducted for the authentic brands because perceptions of the inauthentic brands were not affected by learning about their corporate owners.) T standardized favorability composite Time1 = .64, t (75) = 7.82, p Time2 = .52, t (75) = 8.19, p perceptions can be said to mediate the favorability composite scores if two conditions are met. First, the differe nce in the favorability measures (Time 1 vs. Time 2) should be significant and in the predicted direction. Indeed, following the corporate ownership manipulation, favorability scores were lower than before ( M Time1 = .10 vs. M Time2 = .14; t (76) = 4.38, p < .01). Second, regressing the difference in the favorability measures on the difference in the sta ndardized authenticity measures (Time 1 vs. Time 2) and on the centered sum of these standardized authenticity measures should yield a statistically signifi = .43, t (76) = 8.12, p < .01) and should yield a nonsignificant parameter estimate for the p = .11). brands after learning of their corporate parentage is fully mediated by their decreased

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34 Figure 6 1. Change in bel iefs following revelation of corporate ownership. Discussion Experiment 1a demonstrated that the perceived authenticity of a brand can be manipulated and illustrated some of the consequences of such a manipulation. Supporting my hypotheses, the authent and Naked was undermined by revealing that the two brands are owned by large corporations, and this revelation also lowered perceptions of quality, reduced confidence in those perceptions, and lowered willingness to pay. These findi ngs are particularly intriguing because one might have expected that, for the average brand, having a connection to a large, familiar corporation might bolster consumer attitudes toward the brand (because the backing of a large corporation might be a quali ty signal). However, we find that for brands that are considered to be authentic, having a corporate parent is a negative, not a positive, factor. mediated by its effects on a uthenticity perceptions, suggesting that learning that an authentic brand has a corporate parent is detrimental precisely because that affiliation

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35 that learning about a corporate affiliation is not detrimental to all brands. Among inauthentic brands, association with a corporate parent even increased quality perceptions, suggesting that the negative consequences for authentic brands were not an artifact of the manipula tion or design. Study 1b Study 1a demonstrated that consumer perceptions of authenticity affect quality perceptions, willingness to pay, and confidence. Study 1a also demonstrated one way in which the authenticity of a single product can be manipulated. However, whereas study 1a demonstrated a way to decrease authenticity perceptions, it is important to consider ways in which authenticity perceptions may be increased study 1b I manipulated perceived authenticity by varying a fictional passionate about its products (i.e., has a noncommercial motivation). I hypothesized tha t a passion motivated company would be perceived as more authentic than a profit quality, would inspire more confidence, and would seem to be worth more. Method Participan ts Participants were 56 students at a large southeastern university who received course credit in exchange for their participation. Procedure As in study 1a, participants received information about the target brand in two stages (Time 1 and Time 2) and were asked to evaluate the brand after

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36 At Time 1, participants were presented with an image of a bag of granola bearing the Sweet Things label as well as a blurb describi ng the product in neutral language. After participants reviewed this information, they were asked to complete the authenticity, quality, confidence and willingness to pay measures used in study 1a. To generalize our conceptualization of authenticity, in study the authenticity composite measure was replaced with a question asking how much participants trusted the brand. Next, participants completed two unrelated filler tasks. Then, at Time 2, participants were presented with the same product image and a second blurb giving a brief explanation of why the brand (Sweet Things) began producing granola. of Sweet Things was known in college for her granola and decided to try to make a began in the gourmet popcorn market and then branched into granola to expand their customer base. After receiving this inf ormation, participants were again asked to evaluate Sweet Things on the same dimensions as Time 1. Results repeated measures ANOVA with time (before/after motive information) as a within subjects factor and motive (passion vs. profit) as a between subjects factor. Authenticity The four measures of authenticity were again averaged into a single authenticity composite. As predicted, there was a significant interaction between tim e (before vs. after motive information) and motive (passion vs. profit) on authenticity perceptions ( F (1, 54) = 19.99, p < .01); there was also a significant main effect of time

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37 ( F (1, 54) = 7.02, p < .05). Participants perceived Sweet Things to be more au thentic after reading that the company owner was motivated by her passion for granola than before ( M Time1 = 4.23 vs. M Time2 = 5.24; F (1, 25) = 25.92, p < .01). However, learning that Sweet Things was motivated by profit had no effect on authenticity percep tions ( M Time1 = 4.44 vs. M Time2 = 4.18; F (1, 29) = 1.66, p = .21). Quality There was a significant interaction between time and motive on quality perceptions ( F (1, 54) = 12.09, p < .01) and a marginally reliable main effect of time ( F (1, 54) = 3.93, p < M Time1 = 4.28 vs. M Time2 = 5.19; F (1, 25) = 21.17, p < .01). However, quality perceptions were not affected among participants who learned th at Sweet Things had prior experience with a similar product and was motivated by profit ( M Time1 = 4.73 vs. M Time2 = 4.48; F (1, 29) = 0.93, p = .34). Confidence There was a significant interaction between time and motive on nce ( F (1, 54) = 4.37, p < .05) as well as a main effect of time ( F (1, 54) = 5.71, p < .05). After learning that Sweet Things was motivated by passion, participants had greater confidence in their judgments of the brand ( M Time1 = 5.12 vs. M Time2 = 5.62; F ( 1, 25) = 7.22, p < .05). Confidence was not affected by learning that Sweet Things was motivated by profit ( M Time1 = 5.63 vs. M Time2 = 5.67; F (1, 29) = 0.07, p = .80). Willingness to Pay The analysis revealed a significant time by motive interaction on F (1, 54) = 10.55, p < .01) as well as a main effect of time ( F (1, 54) = 4.40, p < .05). Participants who learned that Sweet Things was motivated by passion for the product were willing to pay 34% more

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38 for the granola than before ( M Time1 = $3.29 vs. M Time2 = $4.41; F (1, 25) = 8.18, p < .01). Participants who learned that Sweet Things was motivated by profit did not change their willingness to pay ( M Time1 = $ 3.44 vs. M Time2 = $ 3.19; F (1, 29) = 1.56, p = .22). Figure 6 Mediation Analysis We next analyzed whether increased authenticity perceptions following the passion motive story mediated the effect of that story on rceptions, confidence, and willingness to pay. The mediation was performed only for the passion motive condition because the profit motive did not affect study 1a, I created an overall favorability score that consisted of a composite of the standardized quality, confidence, and willingness to pay measures. The standardized authenticity score significantly predicted the overall favorability Time1 = .49, t (24) = 7.24, p Time2 = .70, t (24) = 7.16, p < .01). Furthermore, the difference between the overall favorability measure s (Time 1 vs. Time 2) was significant and in the predicted direction ( M Time1 = .28 vs. M Time2 = .34;

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39 t (25) = 4.47, p < .01). Finally, regressing the difference in the favorability measures on the difference in the standardized authenticity measures and o n the centered sum of these measures yielded a statistically significant parameter estimate for the difference t (25) = 6.07, p .004, t (25) = .06, p ed favorability toward Sweet Things Discussion Study 1b replicates the findings of study 1a, again showing that perceptions of authenticit y are tied to other brand perceptions such as quality, confidence, and willingness to pay. Additionally, while study 1a demonstrated that perceptions of authenticity can be undermined, study perceived authenticit wner succeeded in a related industry and is motivated by profit had no effect on product perceptions. Study 1c Study 1b demonstrated that being true to oneself and making a product about which one is passionate is an important component of brand authentic ity. When participants perceived the brand to be more authentic and higher quality. Indeed, today, many brands proclaim passion for their product: Toyota is passionate ab out quality control, Kashi is passionate about all natural ingredients and Johnson and Johnson is

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40 passionate about making family friendly products. Noticeably absent is a company passionate about something negative: a product that has harmful effects, has a negative image, or is generally disliked. Although not part of any formalized definitions, brands ( e.g. otecting the planet and consumers by being all natural). Would a brand that is passionate about making a negatively regarded product also be perceived to be authentic? If so, would such an authentic brand receive the benefits that other authentic brands receive, or having a profit oriented reason for making it? Study 1c uses a fictional brand of cigarettes to test whether passion for the product increases perceptions of au thenticity even when a product is generally disliked. I hypothesize that being intrinsically motivated operationalized here as being it means being passionate about a product that has a negative image. However, a either could receive the benefits observed in studies 1a and 1b (e.g., and be seen as higher quality than an inauthentic pro duct), or could be perceived even more negatively than before: perhaps authenticity serves to polarize, rather than inflate, product judgments. Method Participants Participants were 63 undergraduate students at a large southeastern university who parti cipated in exchange for course credit.

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41 Procedure Study 1c utilized a 2 (time: before vs. after motive information) X 2 (motive: passion vs. profit) mixed design. As in study 1b, study 1c utilized a fictitious brand whose creator was described as being m otivated either by passion for the product or by a general profit motive. At Time 1, participants were presented with an image of a pack of York brand cigarettes and a neutral description of the product and brand, and were asked to evaluate the brand and product on the authenticity, quality, confidence and willingness to pay measures used in studies 1a and 1b. Participants then completed two unrelated filler tasks. At Time 2, participants again saw the product image. Participants also read about why th e company owner entered the cigarette business. In the passion motivation condition, participants were informed that the owner of York cigarettes had long been hand rolling cigarettes using unique tobacco blends for himself and had decided to start a busi ness selling these cigarettes. In the profit motivation condition, participants were informed that the owner of York cigarettes also owned several bars, where he noticed that blended cigarettes were becoming more popular, and decided to capitalize on this market knowledge by starting a cigarette business. After reviewing this new information, participants reevaluated the brand on the measures used at Time 1. participants their attitudes toward cigarettes and the cigarette industry, whether they believed cigarettes were a good or bad product, and whether the cigarette industry as a whole was harmful to society, using 9 point scales. Finally, participants were asked to indicate h ow frequently they smoke cigarettes, ranging from 1 (never) to 9 (every day).

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42 Results single cigarette attitude score. Participants did hold a negative attitude toward cig arettes and the cigarette industry ( M = 1.5). The specific motive story that participants read did not affect their global attitudes towards cigarettes ( M passion = 1.52, M profit = 1.58; F (1, 62) = .09, p = .76). For each dependent measure, participants repeated measures ANOVA with time (before/after motive story) as a within subjects factor and motive story (passion vs. profit) as a between subjects factor. Authenticity An authenticity composite score was created by a veraging the four authenticity measures. As predicted, the ANOVA yielded a significant time (before vs. after motive information) by motive (passion vs. profit) interaction on this composite ( F (1, 61) = 7.48, p < .01), as well as a main effect of time ( F ( 1, 61) = 6.04, p < .05). Participants believed York cigarettes to be more authentic after learning that the owner was motivated by his passion for cigarettes ( M Time1 = 3.27 vs. M Time2 = 3.88; F (1, 31) = 8.92, p < .01). Learning that York was motivated by M Time1 = 3.35 vs. M Time2 = 3.31; F (1, 30) = .09, p < 1). Quality A quality composite score was created by averaging the four quality measures. The ANOVA yielded a significan t time by motive story interaction ( F (1, 61) = 5.24, p < .05) as well as a main effect of time ( F (1, 61) = 8.98, p < .01). Participants believed York cigarettes to be of higher quality after learning that the owner was motivated by passion ( M Time1 = 2.94 vs. M Time2 = 3.54; F (1, 31) = 10.76, p < .01), but not

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43 after learning that he was motivated by profit ( M Time1 = 2.39 vs. M Time2 = 2.37; F (1, 30) = .37, p = .55). Willingness to Pay The ANOVA also yielded a marginally reliable time by motive story intera F (1, 61) = 3.17, p = .08), but no main effect of time ( F (1, 61) = 2.32, p = .13). Participants were willing to pay more for York cigarettes after learning that the owner was motivated by passi on ( M Time1 = 2.79 vs. M Time2 = 2.99; F (1, 31) = 4.89, p < .05). Learning that York was motivated by profit had no effect on willingness to pay ( M Time1 = 2.39 vs. M Time2 = 2.37; F (1, 30) = .04, p < 1). Confidence No reliable effects emerged in the ANOVA confidence ratings (all p their attitudes ( M strong negative attitudes toward consuming cigarettes. Discus sion Study 1c demonstrated that consumers perceive greater authenticity in brands motivated by passion, even if the passion is directed towards a product for which harmf ul to consumers and that the cigarette industry harms society as a whole, learning that a cigarette brand owner was passionate about making cigarettes increased perceptions of brand authenticity and, in turn, perceptions of quality and willingness to pay. authenticity, even if it means being true to a generally undesirable self.

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44 CHAPTER 6 EXPERIMENT 2 Study 2 Studie s 1a 1c manipulate perceived brand authenticity by calling i nto question study which promotes itself as an environmentally friendly, natural brand, is owned by Clorox calls image actually reflects the ethos of the people beh ind the brand, or if it is merely a sales pitch. Similarly, learning that a brand was created organically (due to the interests of its founder) rather than for economic gain suggests that the people behind it. The conceptualization of brand authenticity as a judgment of the genuineness of a authentic : a brand could be authentically exciting, authentically rugged, authentically cosmopolitan, etc. As such, it is important to distinguish brand authenticity as a important when considering the possibility of an authentically sincere br and. Although the terms authenticity and sincerity are often used interchangeably in standard speech, they are distinct concepts as applied to branding. In the branding literature, brand sincerity refers to the sincerity dimension of Personality Inventory. Although the dimension is named down to earth, family oriented, small town, honest, sincere, real, wholesome, original,

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45 cheerful, sentimental and friendly. Although I will concede that several of these traits may contribute to perceptions of authenticity (e.g., sincere, real, honest, original), the conceptualization of brand authenticity as intrinsic motivation suggests that brand authenticity and s incerity (as measured by Aaker 1997) are unique constructs. Experiment 2 distinguishes the concepts of brand authenticity and sincerity (the brand personality construct). Because brand authenticity is a judgment made about the nality, a brand with any type of personality (not just sincere) should be able to be perceived as authentic. Additionally, an action that undermines the the brand ( unless the brand has a sincere image). Experiment 2 used a brand that was anticipated to be perceived as authentic, but image, participants were given a fictional back s tory for the brand that conflicted with the ways. First, it demonstrates that a brand can be perceived as authentic without being perceived as sincere. Second, it demon strates that perceived brand authenticity can be manipulated independently of perceived sincerity. Method Stimuli Under Armour markets itself as performance athletic apparel for the serious athlete, and has a tough image. The inventor of Under Armour was a captain on a prominent college football team who developed the product to solve problems he founder, but also of its loyal customers, and as such, is perceived as authentic by many

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46 consumers. However, many consumers (including our participants) are not familiar with Participants Participants were 30 undergraduate students at a large, southeastern university who received course credit in exchange for participation. Procedure Participants were informed that the experimenters were interested in how consumers form judgments about brands. Participants were informed that they would receive new information about the brand over the course of t he experiment and that, after receiving each new piece of information, they would be asked to evaluate the brand. Participants received information about Under Armour in two stages, hereafter refer At Time 1, participants were presented with a current print advertisement for statement adapted from the working athlete with technically advanced products engineered with superior fabric construction, exclusive moisture ter participants reviewed this information, they were asked a series of questions about the brand, including measures of brand After making their initial evaluations, participants completed an unrel ated filler a brief blurb detailing a fictional history of the company. Participants read the following: Under Armour was founded by Kevin Plank, a clothing designer for the Gap Group. Originally a designer within Gap s athletic apparel division, Plank recognized the growing popularity of performance sports apparel and pitched Under Armour to the Gap Group as a way to enter this new

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47 market. Under Armour was subs equently positioned by the Gap Group as a competitor for traditional sportswear brands such as Nike and Adidas This fictional history was designed to undermine the authenticity of Under brand authenticity in two ways. First, because the imag e of the focal brand (Under Armour ) and its purported parent brand (Gap ) are not congruent, the degree to which the Under Armour brand reflects the ethos of its company is drawn into question. Second, because the fictional history specifically refers t o a meeting about naturally flows from the people behind it is also undermined. After reading the brand history information, participants were again asked to evaluate the brand on the authenticity and brand personality measures used at Time 1. Results The four measures of authenticity were averaged into a single composite authenticity measure at time 1 and time 2. The brand personality measures were averaged to form the 5 brand personality measures identified by Aaker (1997): Sincerity, Sophistication, Ruggedness, Competence and Excitement. Time 1 image as well as the perceived authenticity of that image. Mea ns on each of the brand personality factors, as well as the authenticity scale, are presented in the table below. These descriptive statistics suggest that respondents saw Under Armo ur as a rugged, competent brand descriptors that accurately match Under A marketing communications (means greater than the scalar midpoint, p<.05) Under Armour was not perceived to be particularly sincere, exciting or sophisticated (means lower than the scalar midpoint, p<.05) Additionally, respondents perceived Und er

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48 (greater than the scalar midpoint, p<.05) Importantly, Under Armour was perceived to be more authentic than sincere (t(29) = 12.58, p < .001), suggesting that brand authenticity and the sincerity dimension of brand perso nality are in fact two separate constructs. Time 2 For the main analysis, a within subjects ANOVA was conducted with time as the within subjects factor. As predicted, after participants read that Under Armour was created by the Gap Group to compete against existing sportswear brands, the brand was perceived to be less authentic ( M Time1 = 4.98 vs. M Time2 = 4.71; F(1,29) = M T ime1 = 3.12 vs. M Time2 = 2.99; F(1,29) = 1.30, p > .25). Discussion Combined, the results of the analyses performed at time 1 and time 2 suggest not the same constru ct. Using a real brand as an example, it was demonstrated that a brand can be perceived to be authentic without being perceived to be sincere. Additionally, it was demonstrated that authenticity can be manipulated independently of sincerity. Table 6 1. Brand personality and authenticity scale means. Image Measure Mean S.D. Sincerity 3.12 0.67 Excitement 3.00 0.55 Competence 4.40 0.87 Sophistication 2.93 0.73 Ruggedness 4.58 0.60 Authenticity 4.98 0.84

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49 CHAPTER 7 EXPERIMENT 3 Study 3a Studies 1a perceptions of product quality, willingness to pay, and attitude confidence. An important question is whether all consumers react similarly to changes in perceived brand authenticity. Study 3 a investigates how different consumers respond to perceptions of brand authenticity. Especially relevant is how the extent to which consumers value personal authenticity affects the importance they place on brand authenticity in their decision making individual differences in the importance of personal authenticity. The Inventory I hypothesize that individuals who place more importance on being personally being authentic themselves should value authenticity in others. To the extent that the brand is considered to be its own entity (with an identity), I argue that these individuals should also be more likely to value authenticity in the brand. Specifically, these individuals should be more likely to use brand authenticity perceptions to make ct quality and their willingness to pay for the product. Alternatively, individuals who do not value personal authenticity should be less likely to

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50 value brand authenticity and, in turn, should be less likely to use that information to make inferences abo ut the brand. Procedure Participants Participants were 53 students at a large southeastern university who received extra credit in exchange for their participation. Procedure At Time 1, participants were presented with an image of a bag of granola bea ring the Sweet Things label as well as a blurb describing the product in neutral language. After participants reviewed this information, they were asked to complete the authenticity and quality measures used in study 1 b Next, participants completed two unrelated filler tasks. At Time 2, participants were presented with the same product image and a second blurb giving a brief explanation of why the brand (Sweet Things) began producing ndition read that the owner of Sweet Things was known in college for her granola and decided to try to Things began in the gourmet popcorn market and then branched into granola to expand their customer base. After receiving this information, participants were again asked to evaluate Sweet Things on the authenticity and quality measures used at Time 1. Following these evaluations, all participants completed the Auth enticity Inventory (Kernis and Goldman 2006 ; Appendix B ). Results measures ANOVA with time (before/after motive story) as a within subjects factor and motive story (passion vs. profit) and personal authenticity importance (low vs. high) as between subjects factors.

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51 Authenticity Inventory were subjected to a median split, creating two groups: Low Authenticity Importance (M low =139.3) and High A uthenticity Importance (M high =171.2). The brand motive Inventory (M passion = 152.5 vs. M profit = 155.0; F (1,51) = .859, p = .36). Authenticity As in experime nt 1, the four measures of authenticity were averaged into a single authenticity composite measure. Consistent with our hypotheses, there was a significant interaction between time (before vs. after motive information) and motive (passion vs. profit) on a uthenticity perceptions (F (1, 49) = 10.0, p<.01) but no main effect of time (F (1, 49) = .58, p = .45). Participants perceived Sweet Things to be more authentic after reading that the company owner was motivated by her passion for granola (M Time1 = 4.73 vs. M Time2 = 5.17; F (1, 23) = 6.67, p < .05). Learning that Sweet Things was motivated by profit had a marginally negative effect on Time1 = 4.71 vs. M Time2 = 4.44; F (1, 26 = 3.33, p = .08). Imp ortantly, the interaction between time and motive story was not moderated by (1, 49) = 1.39, p = .25). Participants perceived the Sweet Things brand to be more authe ntic after learning the owner was motivated by passion for the product, regardless of how important personal authenticity was to them. Quality As in experiment 1, the four measures of quality were averaged into a single quality composite measure. The analysis revealed a significant three way interaction between time, motive and authenticity importance on perceived product

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52 quality (F (1, 49) = 5.11, p < .05), but no other effects were reliable. Among participants for whom personal authenticity was high ly important, there was a significant interaction between time and motive on perceptions of product quality (F (1, 24) = 9.74, p < .01). These participants believed the product to be of higher quality after reading the passion motive story than before (M T ime1 = 4.71 vs. M Time2 = 5.46; F (1, 11) = 8.05, p < .05), but believed the product to be of marginally lower quality after reading the profit story than before (M Time1 = 4.89 vs. M Time2 = 4.64; F (1, 13) = 3.58, p =.08). However, for participants who rep orted low personal authenticity importance, motive and time did not interact to affect perceived quality (F (1, 25) = .09, p = .76). Discussion perceptions of brand authentic granola market was motivated by passion, participants believed that the brand was more authentic, regardless of whether or not they valued personal authenticity. However, the effect of personal au thenticity importance was to prevent or promote inference making on the basis of the brand authenticity judgments. Participants who reported valuing authenticity in their personal lives seemed to use their brand authenticity judgment as a cue that affecte d their subsequent judgments of ined perceived product authenticity, I extend her finding by suggesting that the more abstract judgment of desirability, but only for individuals who value personal auth enticity.

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53 Participants who did not value authenticity in their personal lives did not draw product inferences on the basis of their brand authenticity judgments. Although these consumers believed the passion motivated brand to be more authentic, this po sitive assessment did not affect their judgments of product quality or willingness to pay. Study 3b The results of study 3a suggest that brand authenticity and product quality are not associated for all consumers. As in studies 1a 1c, consumers who valu e personal authenticity appeared to use their brand authenticity judgments to inform their authenticity in their personal lives did not use their perceived brand authenticity to connection between perceived authenticity and product quality may not be automatic. Previous research has suggested that authenticity may serve as a filter, a cue, or a he uristic Study 3b investigates whether judgments of authenticity affect other brand related cognitions through an automatic or deliberative process. It is possible that perceptions of brand authenticity automatically trigge r associations with higher quality. Alternatively, the process may be deliberative, with brand authenticity being one product attribute that consumers use to make inferences about the product. Method Participants Participants were 69 undergraduates at a large southeastern university who participated in exchange for course credit. Procedure Study 3b utilized a 2 (time: before vs. after motive information) X 2 (motive: passion vs. profit) X 2 (cognitive load: high vs. low) mixed design. Participants

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54 we re randomly assigned to conditions and were informed that the experimenters were interested in how consumers form impressions and evaluations of brands. Participants were informed that over the course of the experimental session they would receive a varie ty of information about a brand and would then be asked to evaluate the brand. As before, information was provided in two stages (Time 1 and Time 2). At Time 1, participants were presented with an image of a fictional brand (Sweet Things granola) as we ll as a description of the product in neutral language. Participants previously described. Participants then completed an unrelated filler task. During the filler tas k, participants were informed that the experimenters were interested in studying the effects of eye blinking on information processing (Fitzsimons and Williams 2000). Participants were asked to count the number of times they blinked their eyes during the course of the experiment and to report this number when asked. All participants then completed a second, unrelated filler task. Cognitive load was manipulated by varying when participants reported their number of eye blinks. Participants in the low cogn itive load condition reported their eye blinks after the second filler task but before Time 2. Participants in the high cognitive load condition reported reevaluating the brand. At Time 2, participants were presented with the same product image and a second blurb giving an explanation of why the brand (Sweet Things) began producing the owner of Sweet Things granola was known in college for granola and decided to try

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55 Sweet Things began in the gourmet popcorn market and then branched into granola to ex pand their consumer base. After receiving this information, participants were again asked to evaluate Sweet Things on the authenticity and quality measures used at Time 1. Results measures ANOVA with time (before vs. after motive story) as a within subjects variable and motive story (passion vs. profit) and cognitive load (high vs. low) as between subjects variables. Cognitive Load Participants in the high cognitive load condition reported more eye blinks than participants in the low cognitive load condition ( M high = 43.4 vs. M low = 25.4; F (1, 67) = 13.23, p < .01). Authenticity The four measures of authenticity were combined into a single composite. As predicted, all participants believed Sweet Things to be more authentic following the passion motivation story than after the profit motivation story (F(1, 65) = 9.63, p < .01). Regardless of cognitive load, participants perceived Sweet Things to be more authentic after reading that the company own er was motivated by her passion for granola ( M Time1 = 4.78 vs. M Time2 = 5.47; F (1, 33) = 18 .66, p < .001). Learning that S authenticity ( M Time1 = 4.26 vs. M Time2 = 4.23; F(1, 32) = .01, p = .92). Quality The four measures of product quality were combined into a single composite measure. The analysis revealed a significant interaction between time and motive story (F(1, 65) = 6.14, p < .05), but this interaction was qualif ied by a significant three way interaction between time, motive story and cognitive load (F(1, 65) = 6.14, p <

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56 .05). Among participants in the low cognitive load condition, there was a significant interaction between time and motive story (F (1, 37) = 13. 40, p < .001). These participants perceived Sweet Things to be of higher quality after reading that the company owner was motivated by her passion for granola ( M Time1 = 4.99 vs. M Time2 = 5.64; F (1, 20) = 9.70, p < .01). Learning that Sweet Things was mo tivated by profit had M Time1 = 5.03 vs. M Time2 = 4.59; F (1, 17) = 4.37, p = .05). Among participants in the high cognitive load condition, however, there was no effect of the motive story manipul = .002, p = .97). Figure 8 1. Changes in authenticity and quality perceptions among participants with low and high cognitive load. Discussion e granola market was motivated by a passion for the product, all participants believed that the brand was more authentic, regardless of cognitive load. However, as with the personal authenticity individual

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57 difference variable in study 3a, cognitive load s erved to prevent or promote inference making on the basis of the brand authenticity judgments. Participants in the low cognitive load condition, who presumably had sufficient mental resources, appeared to use their brand authenticity judgments to inform t heir subsequent judgment of product quality. Participants in the high cognitive load condition, who presumably had depleted mental resources, were not able to draw product quality inferences on the basis of their authenticity judgments. Although these pa rticipants believed the passion motivated brand to be more authentic, this positive assessment did not affect their judgments of product quality. Combined, these results suggest that brand authenticity is an attribute of the product that must be deliberat ively processed when making inferences about the when participants have insufficient mental resources to draw on their authenticity perceptions to make additional prod uct related inferences. Study 3c Study 3 b provides initial evidence that authenticity information is not automatically associated with perceptions of product quality. Instead, there is initial evidence that the authenticity information is used in a delibe rative process to inform decisions about product quality. What is unclear, however, is what deliberative step is being interrupted for participants with diminished cognitive resources. To explore the possible process interrupted in study 3b, study 3c exam ines a potential intermediary step in the deliberative process suggested by study 3b. In her study of the authenticity of British foodstuffs, Groves (2001) found that consumers used would possess

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58 attributes that were desirable to them. I propose that perceptions of brand authenticity may also affect attribute level inferences that consumers make about the product which, in turn, affect global perceptions of product quality. Study 3c looks at the effect of authenticity perceptions on two types of attribute level inferences: the perceived believability of specific attribute level claims made by the brand and the perceived believability that a brand possesses desirable attributes not these types of product beliefs are affected by perceptions of brand authenticity, and that these beliefs, in turn, affect perceptions of product quality. Method Partic ipants Participants were 164 students at a large southeastern university who received course credit in exchange for their participation. Procedure Study 3c utilized a 2 (motive: passion vs. profit) X 2 (cognitive load: high vs. low) between subjects de sign. Participants were randomly assigned to conditions and were informed that the experimenters were interested in how consumers form impressions and evaluations of brands. Participants were informed that over the course of the experimental session they would receive a variety of information about a brand and would then be asked to evaluate the brand. As before, information was provided in two stages (Time 1 and Time 2). At Time 1, participants were presented with an image of a fictional brand (Sweet Things granola) as well as a description of the product in neutral language. This neutral blurb was rewritten to contain several explicit product claims that were consistent with After

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59 learning about Sweet Things granola, participants then completed an unrelated filler task. During the filler task, participants were informed that the experimenters were interested in studying the effects of eye blinking on information processing (F itzsimons and Williams 2000). Participants were asked to count the number of times they blinked their eyes during the course of the experiment and to report this number when asked. All participants then completed a second, unrelated filler task. Cogniti ve load was manipulated by varying when participants reported their number of eye blinks. Participants in the low cognitive load condition reported their eye blinks after the second filler task but before Time 2. Participants in the high cognitive load c ondition reported their eye blinks after Time 2; that is, after reading S evaluating the brand. At Time 2, participants were presented with the same product image and a second blurb giving an explanation of why the brand (Swee t Things) began producing the owner of Sweet Things granola was known in college for granola and decided to try to make a living doing what she loves. Participants in t Sweet Things began in the gourmet popcorn market and then branched into granola to expand their consumer base. After receiving this information, participants were asked to evaluate Sweet Things on the authenticity measures used in previous experiments. Following the authenticity measures, participants were asked to indicate the extent to which they believed a series of statements about the product and its benefits. Half of these statements were explicit claims taken from

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60 Things granola is 100% pure and natural ) and half were attributes or benefits that could reasonably be i but were never explicitly claimed ( e.g high fructose ). Finally, participants Results Participants responses were analyzed using a 2 (motive story: passion vs. profit) by 2 (cognitive load: low vs. high) betwe en subjects ANOVA. Authenticity The analysis revealed a significant main effect of motive story (F(1, 160) = 24.29, p < .05), qualified by an significant interaction between motive story and cognitive load (F(1,160) = 4.20, p < .05). While the effect wa s stronger among participants in the low cognitive load condition ( M passion = 5.14 vs. M profit = 4.02; F(1,80) = 20.22, p < .01), participants under high cognitive load also perceived Sweet T hings to be more authentic following the passion motive story ( M p assion = 4.92) than following the profit motive story ( M profit = 4.46; F(1, 80) = 5.20, p < .05). Quality The analysis revealed a significant main effect of motive story on quality perceptions (F(1,160) = 7.02, p < .05), qualified by a significant mo tive story by cognitive load interaction (F(1,60) = 4.30, p < .05). As in study 3b, participants in the low cognitive load condition used their brand authenticity perceptions to inform their quality judgments. Participants who read that Sweet Things was motivated by passion M passion = 5.23) than participants who read that Sweet Things was motivated by profit ( M profit = 4.42; F(1,80) =

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61 9.19, p < .01). However, among participants under h igh cognitive load, there was no product quality (F(1,80) = .21, p<1). Figure 8 2. Authenticity and quality perceptions among participants with low and high cognitive load. Claimed Attribute Believability The three statements assessing the believability of explicit product claims were combined into a single measure. The analysis revealed a main effect of motive story on this composite (F(1, 160) = 9.87, p < .01) but no interaction with cognitive load (F(1, 160) = 1.90, p > .05). Participants who read that Sweet Things was motivated by passion (and who perceived Sweet Things to passion = 5.15) tha n participants who read that Sweet Things was motivated by profit (and who perceived Sweet Things to be less authentic; M profit = 4.48). Inferred Attribute Believability The three statements assessing the believability of feasible, but not explicitly c laimed, product attributes were combined into a single measure. The analysis revealed a main effect of motive story on this composite (F(1, 160) = 5.08, p < .05) qualified by a significant interaction between motive story and

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62 cognitive load (F(1, 160) = 9 .47, p < .01). Participants in the low cognitive load attributes after reading the passion motivation story than after reading the profit motivation story ( M passion = 4.7 0 vs. M profit = 3.50; F(1, 80) = 12.86, p < .01). However, participants in the high cognitive load condition found it equally believable that Sweet M passion = 4.10 vs. M profit = 4.28; F(1, 80) = .379, p < 1). Figure 8 3. Believability of claimed and inferred product attributes among participants with low and high cognitive load. Discussion The results of study 3c suggest an additional benefit of being perceived as authenti c in the marketplace. Participants who read that Sweet Things was motivated by passion, and who also believed the brand to be more authentic, were also more likely to believe that the product was 100% pure and natural, made with real whole grains, and was mad e with all natural ingredients specific claims made by the product. Interestingly, this occurred despite the cognitive load manipulation, suggesting that this link arises without deliberative thought. However, the pattern of results suggests these

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63 be not. Instead, it appears that perceptions of brand authenticity affect perceptions of product possesses attributes that are consistent with its image, but which are not overtly led participants to believe that the product contained no preservatives, contained no high fructose corn syrup and was v egetarian and kosher friendly attributes that cou ld reasonably be inferred from its image, but which were never overtly claimed by the brand. Participants who read that Sweet Things was motivated by passion for its product were more likely to make these inferences about the brand, but only when they had the cognitive capacity to do so, suggesting that it is this deliberative cognitive step that consumers under cognitive load are unable to make, effectively preventing them from drawing a connection between brand authenticity and product quality.

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64 CHAP TER 8 EXPERIMENT 4 Experiments 1 through 3, as well as previous work on brand authenticity, suggest that increased authenticity is uniformly positive for a brand: products seem to be higher quality, and consumers are willing to pay more for them, when they seem authentic. Study 4a That is, consumers may hold authentic brands to very high standards, especially in terms of expecting them to be what they claim to be. C onsequently, when an authentic brand commits a transgression that calls into question the basis of its authenticity, consumers may penalize that brand even more harshly than they would penalize a (typically less positively regarded) inauthentic brand for t he same transgression. Study 4a thus examined how authentic brands weather brand transgressions, and whether perceptions of the brand following the transgression are affected by the type of transgression committed. Although all transgressions should b e detrimental to any brand, I hypothesize that some transgressions will be especially harmful for authentic brands. H4: be more damaging for the brand than an equivalent transg ression would be for another brand. Method Participants Participants were 108 students at a large southeastern university who participated in exchange for course credit.

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65 Stimuli The brands used in study and Maybelline Although M aybelline is a well known brand in the cosmetics industry, it has not forged Transgression stimuli were developed to detail three types of transgressions: moral, generic, and ingredient tra nsgressions. All transgressions were reported to consumers in the form of a brief Wall Street Journal news story. In the moral transgression condition, the brand was accused of using children as young as 13 in its domestic manufacturing facilities. In t he generic transgression condition, the brand had suffered a manufacturing glitch which resulted in mislabeled products reaching store shelves nationwide. In the ingredient transgression condition, the brand was accused of using petrolatum in their produc ts. Petrolatum is a chemical derived from nonrenewable crude oil and is used in other industries for a variety of applications, including preventing battery corrosion. While each transgression should be damaging to any brand, I hypothesize that the ingre Bees authenticity. is not being who they say are a company devoted to creating all natural products that are beneficial not only to the con sumer but also to the environment. While the ingredient transgression may damage Maybelline I would not expect the damage to be nearly as bad because Maybelline does not foster an especially authentic image. Procedure Study 4a utilized a 2 (brand : Bur vs. Maybelline ) X 3 (transgression : generic, moral, ingredient ) between subjects design. Participants were randomly assigned to a condition and were informed that the experimenters were

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66 interested in how consumers form impressions of brands. P articipants were informed that they would receive a variety of information about a brand and would then be asked to evaluate the brand. As before, information was provided in two stages (Time 1 and Time 2). At Time 1, participants were assigned to eith or Maybelline brand and were presented with a screen containing the branded product (a high shine lip gloss from each brand), a current print advertisement for the brand, and a blurb e information, participants were asked to complete the authenticity and quality measures used in previous experiments. Participants next completed an unrelated filler task. After this task, participants read a news story ostensibly from the previous week Wall Street Journal participants completed another unrelated task. authenticity and quality again, as in Time 1. Following the experiment, participants were informed that the news story they read was entirely fictional. Results Authenticity Authenticity composite scores were created by averaging es to the four authenticity measures. Time 1 scores were subtracted from Time 2 scores to measure the change in authenticity perceptions following the transgression significantly greater change than for Maybelline ( F (1, 32) = 5.57, p authenticity was damaged

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67 following use of an unnatural ingredient ( M BB = 1.35 vs. M M = .47). However, the two brands were damaged equally following the generic ( F (1, 33) = .003, p < 1) and moral ( F (1, 37) = .001, p < 1) transgressions. A 2 (brand) X 3 (transgression) ANOVA on these difference scores revealed no main effect of transgression ( F (1, 102) = .81, p = .45), a trend towards a main effect of brand ( F (1, 102) = 2.13, p = .15), and a trend towards a brand by transgression interaction ( F (1, 102) = 1.84, p = .16). Figure 9 1. Change in authenticity perceptions following a transgression. Quality Qual ity composite scores were created by averaging the four quality measures. Time 1 scores were subtracted from Time 2 scores to measure the change in quality percepti ons following the transgression, and a 2 (brand) x 3 (transgression) ANOVA was conducted on the quality change scores. A significant brand by transgression interaction emerged on this difference score ( F (2,102) = 3.10, p < .05). Following the moral and generic transgressions, Maybelline quality perceptions were damaged to a similar degree: moral ( F (1, 37) = 1.04, p = .32) and generic ( F (1, 33) = .88, p = .36). However, following the ingredient transgression,

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68 quality perceptions were damaged significantly ( M BB = 1.35 vs. M M = .43; F (1, 32) = 5.57, p < .05). Figure 9 2. Change in quality perceptions following a transgression. Mediation Analysis A mediation analysis was conducted in the ingredient transgression condition to ex quality following that transgression was due primarily to its perceived decreased authenticity following that transgression. Because quality perceptions were lower at Time 2 than at Time 1 ( t (14) = 4 .86, p < .01), and the authenticity measures significantly Time1 = .79, t (14) = 3.04, p < .01; Time2 = .86, t (14) = 4.61, p < .01), the difference in quality perceptions was regressed on the difference in the authenticity composite measures and on the centered sum of t(14) = 2.91, p p < .4), indi cating that the decrease in authenticity perceptions fully mediated the

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69 Discussion Study 4a raises an important new consideration related to brand authenticity: aut and Maybelline were affected following all three types of transgression authenticity did not serve as a buff er and quality perceptions were damaged significantly more following a transgression involving the ingredients used in its products. I argue that fared so poorly because the ingredient transgression directly undermined its authenticity (and, in fact, changes in authenticity perceptions mediated the effect of th e transgression on perceived brand quality). This finding reiterates the importance of the consequences of failing to live up to an authentic image are especially high Study 4b Study 4a identified one instance in which brand authenticity may actually harm a brand. In particular, the high expectations consumers had for the authentic brand seemed to have backfired when consumers learned that the brand had transgressed i n certain ways. Another way in which these expectations could backfire is that an authentic brand may be unable to exceed them. It is possible that authentic brands fare study 4b, I hypo thesize that pro benefit authentic brands as much as inauthentic brands because these types of activities are expected from authentic brands. I specifically predict:

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70 H5: Pro social ac tivities affect perceptions of brand quality, attitude confidence, willingness to pay, and social responsibility, but only for inauthentic brands. Method Participants Participants were 93 students at a large northeastern university who participated in exchange for course credit. Procedure Study 4b utilized a 2 (brand: Naked or Minute Maid ) X 2 (CSR activity: environmental or employee benefit) between subjects design. Participants were randomly assigned to a condition and were informed that the experimenters were interested in how consumers form impressions of brands. Par ticipants were informed that they would receive a variety of information about a brand and would then be asked to evaluate it. As before, information was provided in two stages (Time 1 and Time 2). The brands used for this experiment were Naked (authent ic brand) and Minute Maid (inauthentic brand) fruit juice. A pretest found that our participants perceived Naked to be more authentic ( M Naked = 3.81) than Minute Maid ( M MinuteMaid = 3.20; t (15) = 1.76, p < .05, one tailed). At Time 1, participants w ere assigned to either the Naked or Minute Maid brand and viewed a screen containing the branded product (a single serve bottle of orange juice), a current print advertisement for the brand, and a blurb about the After reviewing the information, participants completed the authenticity, quality, confidence and willingness to pay measures used in experiment 1 Participants also completed a 4 item CSR scale based on measures used by Wagner, Lutz, and Weitz (2009, se e appendix A ) rating how virtuous they believed the executives of the brand to be, how socially responsible the brand is, how

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71 concerned the brand is with the well being of society, and the extent to which the brand follows high ethical standards. Partic ipants next completed an unrelated filler task. Wall Street Journal activity condition, participants were informed that the brand was overhauling their main manufacturing facility to make it more environmentally friendly, by reducing emissions and using sustainable energy. In the employee benefit condition, participants were informed that upper level executiv es accepted pay cuts of up to 25% to prevent laying off employees in their manufacturing facilities. The CEO was said to have taken this e authenticity, quality, confidence, willingness to pay, and CSR measures from Time 1. Participants were also asked to indicate the extent to which the news story they read fit the image they had of the brand. Following the experiment, participants were informed that the news story was entirely fictional. Results Responses were analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA with time (before/after CSR activity story) as a within subjects factor and CSR activity story (environmental vs. employee benefit) and br and (Naked vs. Minute Maid ) as between subjects factors. Authenticity The analysis revealed a significant main effect of time on authenticity perceptions ( F (1, 88) = 20.55, p < .01), but this main effect was qualified by a significant interaction between time and brand ( F (1, 88) = 7.14, p < .01): after reading CSR activities, participants believed the brand to be significantly

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72 more authentic than before ( M Time1 = 4.37 vs. M Time2 = 4.93; F (1, 45) = 42.43, p < .01). Naked on the other hand was not perceived to be reliably more authentic after participants read about its CSR activities ( M Time1 = 4.91 vs. M Time2 = 5.06; F (1, 43) = 1.21, p = .28). The specific type of CSR activity (environment vs. employee benefit) did not have any effect o n changes in authenticity perceptions (activity x time interaction: F (1, 88) = 1.18, p < .3), or any other dependent variable (all s > .30), nor were there any significant time by brand by activity interactions for any of the dependent variables (all p > .45). Thus, this factor will not be discussed further. Quality The analysis also revealed a significant interaction between time and F (1, 88) = 7.75, p < .01) but no main effect of time ( F (1, 88) = .14, p = .71) or brand ( F (1, 88) = 2.14, p = .15). Participants believed activities ( M Time1 = 4.92 vs. M Time2 = 5.15; F (1, 45) = 6.30, p < .05). Naked did not were unchanged by reading about its CSR activities ( M Time1 = 5.39 vs. M Time2 = 5.23; F (1, 43) = 2.36, p = .13). Confidence confidence in their evaluations of either brand (all s >.4). Willingness to Pay There was a signi ficant interaction between time and brand F (1, 88) = 6.20, p < .05) as well as a main effect of time ( F (1, 88) = 15.02, p CSR activities, participants were willing to pay significantly more for a bottle of the M Time1 = $3.18 vs. M Time2 = $3.56; F (1, 45) = 13.09, p < .01). The

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73 CSR activities had a much smaller, and non willingness to pay for a similar bottle of Naked orange juice ( M Time1 = $2.60 vs. M Time2 = $2.66; F (1, 43) = 3.33, p = .12). CSR Scale The four CSR items were combined to form a single CSR scale in higher CSR evaluations for both brands at Time 2 than Time 1 ( F (1, 88) = 59.15, p < .01), Minute Maid showed a greater positive increase (time x brand interaction: F (1, 88) = 4.05, p < .05). Participants believed that Nak ed had greater corporate social responsibility after reading of its CSR activities ( M Time1 = 4.65 vs. M Time2 = 5.26; F (1, 43) = 11.63, p < .01). However, the effect of learning about CSR activities was much larger for Minute Maid ( M Time1 = 4.10 vs. M Tim e2 = 5.11; F (1, 45) = 72.32, p < .001). Finally, participants indicated that the CSR activities fit the image they had of Naked better than that of Minute Maid ( M Naked = 4.71 vs. M MinuteMaid = 4.23; F (1, 90) = 4.05, p < .05), suggesting that Minute Ma id performing this activity, but that Naked may have only met expectations. Figure 9 social behavior.

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74 Discussion Study 4b presents another ironic consequence of fostering brand authenticity. It not benefit as strongly from CSR activities as similar, inauthentic brands do. Although both brands were perceived as being more socia lly responsible following the news of CSR activities, Minute Maid received the greater benefit. Additionally, following news of a CSR activity, Minute Maid was perceived to be more authentic and higher in quality, and participants were willing to pay more for the Minute Maid product whereas Naked received no such b enefits. In addition to highlighting an ironic downside of being authentic, experiment 4b also suggests that certain types of CSR activities may make an inauthentic brand seem level management values thei r wage more human and less like a profit machine. Importantly, the source of this information in experiment 4b was a newspaper, not the company itself. Self promotion of the CSR activities may result in negative consequences if consumers believe that the CSR activities were performed only for positive publicity.

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75 CHAPTER 9 GENERAL DISCUSSION This research presents nine studies that demonstrate antecedents and consequen ces of brand authenticity. I manipulated perceptions of brand authenticity in two ways. First, I demonstrated that revealing information that is inconsistent with an Bees and Naked with their corporate parents resulted in lower authenticity perceptions, but the corporate parent information was not damaging to inauthentic brands ( study 1a). Second, I demonstrated that manipulating the degree to which the brand seems true to itself and/or intrinsically motivated authenticity. Claiming that the brand was motivated by passion for the product, rather than by profit, resulted in greater authenticity perceptions ( study 1b). I also demonstrated th at being true to self is beneficial for the brand even when the brand is passionate about making a product that consumers do not like ( study 1c). Importantly, I also demonstrated that the authenticity is a judgment about the genuineness of a Scale, despite their similar meanings in colloquial use. I also found that consumers use their brand authenticity perceptions to make other inferences about the brand. Brands were perceived to be higher in quality and to be worth more to the degree that they were perceived as more authentic ( studies 1a 1b), and this was true even for products with a negative image ( study 1c). Studies 1a linked to how authentic these brands seem.

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76 I also demonstrated that this link between perceptions of authenticity and percep tions of quality does not exist for all consumers or in all situations. Although consumers who do not value authenticity in their personal interactions recognized that the passion motivated brand was more authentic, they did not use this information to in form their judgments of the product quality ( study 3a). This result suggested that the minds. This hypothesis was tested in study 3b, which found that perceptions of authe nticity are linked to perceptions of quality through a deliberative process which is interrupted when consumers do not have sufficient mental resources. Initial evidence was provided suggesting that perceptions of brand authenticity affect perceptions of product possesses attributes that are consistent with its image, but which are not overtly claimed ( study 3c). Study 3c also provided evidence that perceptions of authentici ty increase the believability of overt product claims made by the brand, although the quality. Finally, I also demonstrated that authenticity is not uniformly bene ficial for the brand. In particular, following a transgression that undermines its authenticity, an authentic brand is damaged more than an inauthentic brand is after the same transgression ( study 4a). Additionally, whereas inauthentic brands benefit fro m engaging in CSR activities, authentic brands do not ( study 4b). These ironic effects seem to happen in part because consumers have such high expectations for authentic

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77 brands, and so it is especially damaging for those brands when they do not meet those expectations, and especially difficult for those brands to exceed them. Fit With Prior Research This work contributes to the prior research on authenticity in several ways. First, whereas previous work has relied on existing difference s in authenticity perceptions towards brands, I provide t w o means of manipulating how authentic a brand (fictional or nonfictional) seems. Additionally, whereas much prior work on authenticity was qualitative in nature, I provide experimental evidence that brand authentici ty affects other brand related inferences, namely product quality, willingness to pay and attitude confidence. Furthermore, I suggest a mechanism by which authenticity perceptions affect quality inferences, specifically by affecting the attribute level in ferences I also expand upon the prior literature by considering potential drawbacks of cultivating an authentic image. Furthermore, this dissertation contributes to the existing literature by focusing on the importa nce of brand authenticity, as opposed to product authenticity. Previous work focused on how consumers authenticate objects (Beverland 2005; Boyle 2003; Groves 2001; Munoz, Wood and Solomon 2006; Potter 2008) and experiences (Caruana et al. 2008; Thompson and Tambyah 1999), but less attention has been given to how consumers authenticate brands (Gilmore and Pine 2007; Holt 2002). Conceptually distinct from product authenticity, brand authenticity refers to the authenticity of a ance of its products. Along these lines, Brown, Kozinets and Sherry (2003) found that as long as a brand maintains its core values (its identity), it is able to change the physical features of its product and still be deemed authentic. Our

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78 results simila rly show that things that have little or nothing to do with the underlying product can still affect perceived brand authenticity. At its foundation, brand authenticity can be thought of as a judgment of whether a brand is intrinsically or extrinsically mo tivated (Holt 2002). Intrinsically motivated brands are perceived to be more authentic, and, in turn, are perceived to be of higher quality and worth more, perhaps because consumers believe that authentic brands care more about their products than the bot tom line. In fact, experiment 3b found that consumers s image is authentic, and not merely marketing, consumers were more confident in their attitudes toward authentic brands, perhaps because they believe their attitudes to be based in fact, and not on puffery. Of course, just as brands and products can be deemed more or less authentic, so can consumers themselves. In an interesting set of studies, Ferrarro, Kirmani and Matherly (2009) found that consumers evaluate the locu s of motivation of other consumers when judging the authenticity of their consumption. They find that consumers who used a brand for its functional superiority were perceived to be more authentic than consumers who used a brand because of its image. It m ay also be interesting to consider whether consuming an authentic, versus an inauthentic, brand affects how authentic the consumer him or herself seems to be. Limitations and Future Research One limitation of this work is the use of a narrow pool of produ cts as stimuli. With the exception of Under Armour all of the products used (real and fictional) were

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79 packaged grocery items. While I do not believe that the results of these studies are limited to products of this type, th eir use as stimuli does preve nt an investigation of potential boundary conditions associated with product type. Study 3c found that authenticity served as a cue that indicated that a brand possessed both the attributes it claimed as well as additional attributes that were not claime In turn, these inferences when attribute information is known objectively, it is unclear whether authenticity will still be beneficial for the brand. Authenticity may be less important for brands that produce durables or products in which consumers are highly involved ( e.g., hobby related products), because consumers are likely to possess more accurate information about these types of products. In addition to examining for which types of products brand authenticity is most important, it is also important to consider when brand authenticity is most important to consumers. St udy 3a found that individuals who value authenticity in their personal lives use brand authenticity to make inferences about the brand. However, individuals who do not value personal authenticity did not use authenticity in this way (even though they can still perceive authenticity in a given brand). Future work should investigate whether consumers can be induced to value brand authenticity more, and to identify situations in which brand authenticity is naturally valued. A second limitation of this w ork is the way in which the authenticity manipulation information was conveyed to participants. In the actual marketplace, information that would convey authenticity or inauthenticity ( e.g., motivation information, corporate

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80 parent information, etc.) woul d be delivered by the brand via communications such as commercials, print advertisements, websites and other social media. While I tried to website, future research c ould inject more realism by manipulating authenticity less directly, such as through a print advertisement. Such research could also address a fundamental dilemma implicit in brand authenticity: claiming authenticity appears inauthentic. Because brand au thenticity reflects a lack of (or at least reduced) extrinsic motivation ( e.g., commercial interests, inauthentic. As such, it is important to determine ways in which brands can convey their authenticity without appearing disingenuous in the process. It is possible that traditionally commercial methods of communication ( e.g., television commercials, print advertisements) may be less successful for this purpose than ot her modes of communication such as blogs, informational websites, and public relations. However, methods, more creative (and subversive) means of conveying authenticity may be nec essary. Finally, future work should further investigate the potential drawbacks to brand authenticity identified in studies 4a and 4b. Of primary importance is determining how liefs about the motives of authentic brands may make traditional responses ( e.g., apology, denial or reticence) more or less effective.

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81 Conclusion individuals, but also for brands. Consumers are wary of advertising and other marketing communications and reward brands that they believe look beyond the bottom line. Perceptions of brand authenticity color the inferences consumers make about a brand, ultimately affecting th eir willingness to pay for a product. And, while brand authenticity appears to be generally beneficial to the firm, authentic brands may need to be

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82 APPENDIX A AUTHENTICITY, QUALIT Y, CONFIDENCE AND CS R MEASURES All questions answered on 7 point Likert scales. Authenticity 1. How authentic do you think brand is? Not At All Authentic Very Authentic 2. How natural do you think this product is? Not At All Natural Very Natural 3. Do you think this brand is mo tivated by profit or passion for the product? Totally by Profit Totally by Passion 4. Do you believe the product meets the standards set by its advertising? Does Not Meet Expectations Completely Meets Expectations Quality 1. How high in quality do you thi nk this brand is? Very Low Quality Very High Quality 2. How satisfied do you think you would be after using this product? Not At All Satisfied Very Satisfied 3. How good does this product seem? Not At All Good Very Good 4. How positive or negati ve is your attitude toward this brand? Very Negative Very Positive Confidence (asked after all authenticity and quality measures) 1. How confident are you in the judgments you just made? In other words, how firm are the opinions you just expressed ? Not At All Confident Very Confident Corporate Social Responsibility 1. (Brand) has virtuous executives. Completely Agree Completely Disagree 2. (Brand) is a socially responsible company. Completely Agree Completely Disagree 3. (Bran d) is concerned to improve the well being of society. Completely Agree Completely Disagree 4. (Brand) follows high ethical standards. Completely Agree Completely Disagree

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83 APPENDIX B AUTHENTICITY INVENTO RY The following me about themselves. There are not right or wrong responses, so please answer honestly. Respond to each statement by writing the number from the scale below, which you feel most accurately c haracterizes your response to the statement. 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither Agree Agree Strongly Agree nor Disagree Agree 1. I am often confused about my feelings. 2. I frequently pretend t 3. For better or worse I am aware of who I truly am. 4. I understand why I believe the things I do about myself. 5. I want people with whom I am close to understand my strengths. 6. I actively try to understand which of my self aspects fit together to form my core or true self. 7. I am very uncomfortable objectively considering my limitations and shortcomings. nodding to convey agreement with someone 9. I have a very good understanding of why I do the things I do. 10. I am willing to change myself for others if the reward is desirable enough. 11. I find it easy to pretend to be something other than my true self. 12. I want people with whom I am close to understand my weaknesses. 13. I find it very difficult to critically assess myself. 14. I am not in touch with my deepest thoughts and feelings. 15. I make it a point to express to clo se others how much I truly care for them. 16. I tend to have difficulty accepting my personal faults, so I try to cast them in a more positive way. 17. I tend to idealize close others rather than objectively see them as they truly are. 18. If asked, peo ple I am close to can accurately describe what kind of person I am. 19. I prefer to ignore my darkest thoughts and feelings. 20. I am aware of when I am not being my true self. 21. I am able to distinguish those self aspects that are important to my cor e or true self from those that are unimportant. 22. People close to me would be shocked or surprised if they discovered what I keep inside me. 24. I want close others to under stand the real me rather than just my public persona or 25. I try to act in a manner that is consistent with my personally held values, even if others criticize or reject me for doing so.

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84 26. If a close other and I are in disagreement I would ra ther ignore the issue than constructively work it out. 28. I find that my behavior typically expresses my values. 29. I actively attempt to understand myself as best as possible. and shortcomings. 31. I find that my behavior typically expresses my personal needs and desires. e. 33. I spend a lot of energy pursuing goals that are very important to other people even though they are unimportant to me. 35. I try to block out any unpleasant feelings I might have about myself. 36. I often question whether I really know what I want to accomplish in my lifetime. 37. I often find I am overly critical about myself. 38. I am in touch with my motives and desires. 39. I often deny the validity of any compliments I receive. 40. In general, I place a good deal of importance on people I am close to understanding who I truly am. 41. I find it difficult to embrace and feel good about things I have accomplished. 42. If someone points out or focuses on one of my shortcomings I quickly try to block it out of my mind and forget it. 43. The people I am close to can count on me being who I am regardless of what setting we are in. 44. My openness and honesty in close relationships are extremely important to me. 45. I am willing to endure negative consequences by expressing my true beliefs about things. Subscales Awareness: 1R, 3, 4, 6, 9, 14R, 20, 21, 29, 34R, 36R, 38 Alpha = .79 Unbiased Processing: 7R, 13R, 16R, 19R, 30R, 35R, 37R, 39R, 41R, 42R Alpha = .64 Behavioral: 2, 8 R, 10R, 11R, 25, 27R, 28, 31, 32, 33R, 45 Alpha = .80 Relational Orientation: 5, 12, 15, 17R, 18, 22R, 23, 24, 26R, 40, 43, 44` Alpha = .78 Composite Scale Alpha = .90 ***NOTE: R = Reverse Scored Item

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85 L IST OF REFERENCES Aaker, J ennifer Journal of Marketing Research 34 (August): 347 356. Baudrillard, Jean (1994) Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor, M I: University of Michigan Press. Illuminations New York: Shocken. Journal of Management Studies 42 (5) 1003 1029. Beverland, Michael B. cting Journal of Advertising 37 (1) 5 15. R hetoric of Authenticity and C ontemporary J eans and S neaker A dvertise Journal of Consumer Culture 7 (1) 105 125. Boyle, David (2003) Authenticity : Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life London: Flamingo. Fast Company, http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/115/features who do you love.html?page=0%2C0 Interview with B. Joseph Pine, Strategic Direction 24 (1) 28 31. Brown, Stephen, Robert V. Kozinets, Journal of Marketing 67 (July) 19 33. Caruana, Robert, A nd Consumer Independence: A Cr itical Discourse Analysis of the Independent Marketing Theory 8 (3), 253 272. Unpublished Manuscript. University of Arizona. ining Authenticity and Its Determinants: Toward an Journal of Travel Research 44 (August), 64 73. Annals of Tourism Research 15 (2), 371 386.

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86 Costa, Janeen Arnol Marketing in a Multicultural World, ed. Janeen Arnold Costa and Gary J. Bamossy, Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 3 25. Deci, Edward L. and Richard M. Ryan (1985) Intr insic Motivation and Self Determination in Human Behavior New York: Plenum. Deci, Edward L. and Richard M. Ryan (2002) Handbook of Self Determination Research Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press. Eco, Umberto (1976), A Theory of Semiotics B loomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Brand Culture, ed Jonathan E. Schr oeder and Miriam Salzer Morling, New York: Routledge, 155 170. Ferraro, paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Consumer Research, Pittsburgh, PA. p Theory Journal of Consumer Research 24 (March), 343 73. Gilmore, Joseph and B.J. Pine (2007) Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Goffman, Erving (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, New York: Double & Company, Inc. Goldman, B ryan M. and Michael H. Kernis (2002) P sychological Functioning and Subjective Well Annals of the Americans Psychotherapy Association 5 (6), 18 20. Grandey, Alicia, Glenda M. F isk, Anna S. Mattila, Karen J. Jansen and Lori A. Sideman Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 96 (1) : 38 55. Grant, John (2000) The New Marketing Manifesto New York, NY: Texere. in Advances in Consumer Research Vol. 29 ed Susa n M. Broniarczyk and Kent Nakamoto, Valdosta, GA: Association for Consumer Research, 44 5 Grayson, Kent Indexicality and t Journa l of Consumer Research 31 (September ) 296 312.

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87 Grayson, Kent I Journal of Consumer Research 27 (June) 17 30. Groves, Angela M. (200 F ood P roducts: A R eview of C onsumer P International Journal of Consumer Studies 25 (3) 246 254. Anthropology Today, 2 (1), 2 4. National Identities 8 (3), 287 300. Journal of Consumer Research 25 (June) 1 25. _____ Culture and Br Journal of Consumer Research 29 (June) 70 90. Hochschild, Arlie Russell (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. I mpression M anagem ent: A M editation on F abricating A Poetics 28 (December) 185 205 Journal of Management Studies 42 (5) 893 9. Kern Psychological Inquiry 14 (1) 1 26. Kernis, Michael H. of Authenticity: Theory and Research, in Advances in Experi mental Social P sychology Vol. 38, ed. Mark Zanna New York, NY: Elsevier, 283 357. Khalsa, Mahan (1999) , Salt Lake City: Franklin Covey. Hop and Other Cultures Threatened w Journal of Communication 49 (4), 134 150. B larney? A Cross C ultural I nvestigation of the P erceived A uthenticity of Irish P Journal of Consumer Behaviour 5 (3), 222 234. Gender and Society 20 (5), 605 631.

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88 Peirce, Charles Sanders (1998), Collected Paper of Charles Sanders Peirce ed Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss and Arthur Blank, 8 vols., Bristol: Thoemmes. Journal of Consumer Research 28 (December) 369 398. Pete Journal of Management Studies 42 (5 ), 1084 1098. Marketing Management January/February, 18 24. June 9, 13 6. Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well American Psychologist 55 (1 ), 68 78. Thompson, C ra ig J. Journal of Consumer Research 26 (Dec ember ), 214 241. Wallendorf, Melanie, Joan Lindsey Marketing: Customer Animation and Regional Embeddedness o f a Toy Servicescapes: The Concept of Place in Contemporary Markets ed. John F. Sherry, Jr., Chicago: NTC, 151 198. Harvard Business Review 86 (3), 33 8 Winsted, Cultural and Cross Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 7 (2 ), 106 123.

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89 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH statistics and Italian, from the University of Florida. In 2006, she joined the PhD program in marketing at the University of Florida. She received her PhD from the University of Florida in the summer of 2011. In fall 2011, Melissa began a position as an Assistant Professor of marketing at the University of Mississippi.