When integrated Marketing Communication Leads to Brand Avoidance : A qualitative study on why consumers actively avoid certain brands because of their marketing communication efforts
Abstract: Background - Supply is nowadays higher than the demand, making it possible for consumers to pick, choose and purchase brands that responds to their individual identity. Due to the numerous offerings available, consumers have started to become resistant and they are now withstanding the influence of brands marketing activities. The concept of brand avoidance is one type of personal anti-consumption behaviour which deals with understanding why consumers actively avoid purchasing a specific brand, although the consumer has the financial and physical abilities to do so. Purpose - People are deliberately avoiding brands due to their marketing communication, but the existing research of the underlying reasons are limited and unexplored. Knittel, Beurer and Berndt (2016) previously added advertising as a fifth reason for brand avoidance, though it is not clear whether there are further factors or reasons that affects brand avoidance. By using the elements in the IMC promotional mix as a base, all communication activities a brand is using are included, which makes the study more comprehensive. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and gain a broader understanding of why consumers deliberately chose to avoid certain brands because of their marketing communication efforts. Method - To fulfil the purpose of the study, an exploratory research design with a qualitative and abductive approach was applied. In the data collection method, focus groups were used and complemented by semi-structured interviews. The aim of using such combination of methods is to limit the risks associated with only having one method for collecting data and further to increase the trustworthiness of this qualitative study. The participants in the study are self-supporting people over the age of 20, living in Sweden. Conclusion - The findings of the study resulted in a revised category called IMC avoidance, based on Knittel et al.´s (2016) advertising avoidance. This, since findings showed that there are more communications tools than advertising that influences a brand avoidance behaviour. The IMC avoidance category includes six components: advertising, direct marketing, interactive/internet marketing, sales promotion, publicity/public relations and personal selling. Researchers within the subject area and marketing managers will benefit from this study in the future, as it contributed with findings within in the fields of brand avoidance, marketing communication and consumer behaviour.
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