Social media responses and brand personality in product and moral harm crises: Why waste a good crisis?

John Nadeau, Richard Rutter, Fiona Lettice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this research is to understand the process of attitudinal changes towards a brand in crisis and the brand’s communication around the crisis by utilising balance theory and brand personality. Four crisis case studies were selected and data was collected from brands’ Twitter platforms on either side of the crisis event horizon. Results demonstrate an opportunity to update the balance theory approach in a crisis by considering the type of crisis (product harm vs. moral harm) relative to brand personality (brand competence vs. brand character). Balance theory helps explain how consumer attitude changes occur through a crisis. Further, the mapping of brand communications in social media over four selected case studies show that brand personality identity can change as a result of a crisis and demonstrate how brand managers can actively frame their online communication to help the brand to recover more effectively from a crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1054
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number11-12
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2020


  • Brand crisis
  • balance theory
  • brand management
  • brand personality
  • consumer sentiment
  • social media

Cite this