Siding with the underdog: is your customer voting effort a sweet deal for your competitors?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this research, we explore the negative consequences of engaging customer participation through voting mechanisms. Specifically, we draw attention to the double risk of customer voting, first by identifying the adverse effects of losing, and then by revealing the potential of turning an already engaged set of customers over to underdog competitors. We first establish that the losing effect is distinct from that of a voting (empowerment) effect (Pilot Study). We then replicate the losing effect and show that losing (as opposed to winning) voters tend to experience stronger levels of disempowerment and identify more with the underdog (Study 1). Finally, we demonstrate that losing voters are more likely to choose a competitor brand over the incumbent brand, particularly when the competitor is perceived to be an underdog (Study 2). Our findings caution brand managers to reconsider their customer engagement strategy when it involves customer voting.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalMarketing Letters
StatePublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Public Relations and Advertising
  • Business
  • Marketing

Cite this