Less speed more haste: The effect of crisis response speed and information strategy on the consumer−brand relationship

Abbie Iveson, Magnus Hultman*, Vasileios Davvetas, Pejvak Oghazi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between firm crisis behavior and the resulting consumer–brand relationship (CBR) response. Drawing from theoretical traditions in brand transgressions, service failure, and crisis communications, we use longitudinal survey data combined with archival social media data to empirically test the effect of crisis response speed and crisis information strategy on the short-term consumer crisis response evaluations (1 month after crisis response), and the long-term CBR (1 year after crisis response). Results show that, contrary to intuitive expectations, a faster firm response is not always better, as a slower response was found to result in higher crisis response evaluations. We also show that this effect depends on the consistency of the communication strategy with the first active response. Specifically, when a firm prioritizes safety information (instructing strategy), a faster response is better. Whereas, when the firm prioritizes well-being information (adjusting strategy), a slower response is better. We argue the counterintuitive finding that a slower response is better implies that reacting too quickly may signal rashness and unpreparedness to the customer, leading to more negative evaluations. We term this distinction the difference between being responsive (fast but considered) and reactive (faster but rash).

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalPsychology and Marketing
Volume40
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)391-407
Number of pages17
ISSN0742-6046
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • consumer−brand relationship
  • crisis communication
  • crisis response strategies
  • crisis speed
  • message framing

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