The Dark Side of Salesperson – Brand Identification in the Luxury Sector
When brand orientation generates management issues and negative customer perception
Michaela Merk, Géraldine Michel, Journal of Business Research, 102 (2019) 339–352
While there is extensive literature on the positive impact of salesperson brand identification, we have little understanding about its negative effects in the luxury context where brand aura can generate deviant behavior. To investigate the negative consequences of salesperson brand identification in the luxury sector, we conducted qualitative studies, including observations and interviews with retail managers, salespeople and consumers. On the one hand and according to managers, salespeople with brand identification present high resistance to change and generate brand distortion. On the other hand, salespeople with brand identification, in particular those with low self-confidence or low brand seniority, develop a selling approach with strong brand centricity but little customer orientation. Regarding consumers, salespeople with brand identification may generate negative perceptions, particularly for those customers with brand and product expertise and those engaging in exclusive brand relationships.