Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form


Gupta, Sayan (2023) ESSAYS ON BRAND ACTIONS AND LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH CONSUMERS. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF
Submitted Version
Restricted to University of Pittsburgh users only until 16 May 2025.

Download (3MB) | Request a Copy


This dissertation, composed of two essays, uses multidisciplinary theories and methods to investigate two aspects of consumer polarization in today’s increasingly opinionated and often aggressive social landscape. The first study investigates online firestorms and their impact on brand perceptions through the lens of a novel measure of random walk controversy which takes inspiration from the network science literature and encapsulates the level of insularity and echo-chamberness of brand-detractor and brand-supporter conversations on social media. A differences-in-differences event-study approach on a cross-industry sample of ~300 events (~40 Mn tweets) over the period 2012-19 shows that echo-chambers and filter-bubbles during a brand crisis negatively impact brand perceptions. ‘Controversy scores’ of Twitter retweet and mention networks witness higher abnormal increases during functional crises than values-based crises, which subsequently results in a greater dip in average brand perceptions during such crises as well as long-run consumer attitudes. The study further illuminates de-escalation tactics through relatively inexpensive network-level interventions – e.g., by optimally seeding a small number of influencers or conversation topics that mitigate echo-chambers and their harmful consequences. The second essay quantifies marketplace risks for brands participating in socio-political activism through partisan advertising or controversial celebrity endorsements. It uses multiple data sources – news articles, political partisanship data, Nielsen Retail Scanner and Consumer Panel records – to build a 10-year panel of county-level purchases of activist consumer brands. Average Treatment Effects estimated from an Augmented Synthetic Controls Method suggest that: (1) activist brands’ revenues in US counties are significantly affected by their political ideology; (2) this impact is greater for more divisive issues (support for Donald Trump, immigration etc.) than less divisive issues (feminism, gender equality etc.); and (3) conservative counties react more to CSA than liberal counties, so, brand revenues at a national level see a positivity bias for conservative brand activism and a small negativity bias for liberal activism. Finally, the change seems to be driven by consumer acquisitions and consumer attritions from aligned and misaligned counties respectively rather than volumes of SKU purchases or consumers’ willingness to pay price-premiums.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gupta, Sayansayan_gupta@pitt.edusag192
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSwaminathan,
Committee MemberGal-Or,
Committee MemberInman, J.
Committee MemberAmeri,
Committee MemberBharadwaj,
Date: 16 May 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 April 2023
Approval Date: 16 May 2023
Submission Date: 25 April 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 161
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business > Business Administration
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Brand Hate, Brand Crisis, Brand Activism, Corporate Socio-political Activism, Consumer Polarization, Brand Echo-Chambers, Brand Filter Bubbles
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 20:18
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 20:18


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item