Washington, July 21 : A team of researchers, including an Indian-origin scientist, has revealed that consumers strongly relate to brands that they perceive as underdogs.
"Across contexts, cultures, and time periods, underdog narratives have inspired people. Stories about underdogs are pervasive in sports, politics, religion, literature, and film," said authors Neeru Paharia, Anat Keinan, Jill Avery and Juliet B. Schor.
The authors examined the ways in which many contemporary brand narratives highlighted their companies' humble beginnings and struggles against powerful rivals.
For example, Nantucket Nectars' label says the company started `with only a blender and a dream,' while Google, Clif Bar, HP, and Apple emphasize that they started in garages.
"Underdog brand biographies contain two important narrative components: a disadvantaged position versus an adversary and passion and determination to beat the odds," the authors write.
The authors found that consumers identify with underdog stories because most people have felt disadvantaged at one time or another. In a series of four experiments, the researchers found that consumers identify with underdog brands and are more likely to purchase them.
They are also confirmed that brand biographies that contain both external disadvantage and passion and determination generate the strongest purchase interest.
According to the authors, both Singaporean and American participants preferred underdog brands, but Americans were even more drawn to the come-from-behind stories.
"The American Dream, the fabled American myth, is built on the stories of underdogs who came to the United States with virtually nothing and pulled themselves up from their bootstraps to achieve success," the authors wrote.
The study participants were given a choice of a chocolate bar as compensation for being in the study. They chose the underdog brand 71 percent of the time.
The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. (ANI)