Brand communities and new product adoption: The influence and limits of oppositional loyalty

Scott A. Thompson, Rajiv K. Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

295 Scopus citations


Brand communities have been cited for their potential not only to enhance the loyalty of members but also to engender a sense of oppositional loyalty toward competing brands. However, the impact of brand community membership on actual new product adoption behavior has yet to be explored. This study examines the effects of brand community participation and membership duration on the adoption of new products from opposing brands as well as from the preferred brand. Longitudinal data were collected on the participation behavior, membership duration, and adoption behavior of 7506 members spanning four brand communities and two product categories. Using a hazard modeling approach, the authors find that higher levels of participation and longer-term membership in a brand community not only increase the likelihood of adopting a new product from the preferred brand but also decrease the likelihood of adopting new products from opposing brands. However, such oppositional loyalty is contingent on whether a competitor's new product is the first to market. Furthermore, in the case of overlapping memberships, higher levels of participation in a brand community may actually increase the likelihood of adopting products from rival brands. This finding is both surprising and disconcerting because marketing managers usually do not know which other memberships their brand community members possess. The authors discuss how managers can enhance the impact of their brand community on the adoption of the company's new products while limiting the impact of opposing brand communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Adoption
  • Brand community
  • Brand loyalty
  • New products
  • Oppositional loyalty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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