The bittersweet of consumer–human brand relationships in the social media context

Andreawan Honora, Maryam Memar Zadeh, Nicole Haggerty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current research proposes an integrated model to investigate both the bright and the dark sides of consumer–human brand relationships facilitated by social media on consumers' lives. Grounded in the duality of social media and self-regulation theory, the findings show that human brand attachment improves consumers' daily performance through stress relief, which in turn increases life satisfaction (Study 1). However, the findings also indicate that human brand attachment can cause consumers' daily performance to deteriorate as a result of compulsive human brand consumption on social media and human brand-personal conflict, which diminishes life satisfaction (Study 2). Collectively, the findings may suggest that strong consumer–human brand relationships tend to be detrimental to consumers' well-being as the indirect negative impact of human brand attachment on daily performance and life satisfaction overpowers its indirect positive impact (Study 3). Such detrimental effects are moderated by self-regulatory focus (Study 4). Moreover, the findings indicate that the indirect negative effect of human brand attachment is attenuated when consumers have a higher level of work/study–life balance. Accordingly, the current research advances the theoretical understanding of the consumer–human brand relationship facilitated by social media, by highlighting its dual effects associated with the nature of technology and consumers' self-regulatory focuses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-574
Number of pages28
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number3
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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