New research is showing that luxury brands might want to start considering the sales potential of snobbery.
A forthcoming study from the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business reveals that customers who are poorly treated by sales associates are more likely to buy something--as long as the brand is sufficiently upscale.
"It appears that snobbiness might actually be a qualification worth considering for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci," said Sauder marketing professor Darren Dahl. "Our research indicates they can end up having a similar effect to an 'in-group' in high school that others aspire to join."
We're pretty sure this is saying something depressing about human nature, but for now we're just going to ignore it and move on.
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The study, to be published in Journal of Consumer Research as "Should the Devil Sell Prada?" had participants imagining or interacting with sales representatives--some rude, some not. They then rated their feelings about their desire to own the associated brands. Bizarrely, participants who expressed a desire for luxury brands reported increased feelings of want after being treated badly.
However, this result was only achieved if the salesperson seemed to accurately represent the high-end brand.
"Our study shows you've got to be the right kind of snob in the right kind of store for the effect to work," said Dahl.
As for what companies actually plan to do with this information, who knows? In the meantime, they can settle for being the corporate equivalent of that kid at the lunch table who always made fun of your overalls.
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