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Emotion regulation in the marketplace: the role of pleasant brand personalities


People prefer to experience pleasant (vs. unpleasant) emotions and thus will take actions to repair unpleasant emotions. In addition, consumers perceive brands as possessing personality characteristics. This research demonstrates that consumers experiencing unpleasant emotions are attracted to brands with opposing, pleasant personalities as a means to repair their emotions. Studies 1a and 1b find that consumers respond more favorably to an exciting brand when they are motivated to repair the unpleasant emotional state of boredom (1a) and that a reduction in boredom in response to the exciting brand drives this effect (1b). Study 2 extends this finding by showing that anxious consumers are motivated to respond more favorably to a calm brand to repair their anxiety. In both cases, the effects only hold when participants are not first given the opportunity to alleviate their unpleasant emotion, thus providing evidence that motivation is the process driving consumers to respond more favorably to brands with pleasant personalities.

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This research was supported by a summer research grant from the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University Maryland and by a research grant from the Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies at Providence College.

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Correspondence to Rebecca K. Trump.

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Appendix 1

Fig. 4
figure 4

Study 1: Exciting sneakers brand

Appendix 2. Study 1b: Filler emotions assessed along with “bored”

Active, bored, calm, caring, content, delighted, depressed, discouraged, disinterested, distressed, downhearted, drowsy, enthusiastic, excited, fatigued, fed up, gloomy, grouchy, happy, jittery, joyful, lively, lonely, loving, nervous, peppy, regretful, sad, sorrowful, tired

Appendix 3

Fig. 5
figure 5

Study 2: Calm sneakers brand

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Trump, R.K., Newman, K.P. Emotion regulation in the marketplace: the role of pleasant brand personalities. Mark Lett 32, 231–245 (2021).

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  • Emotion regulation
  • Brand personality, motivation
  • Compensatory consumption