Dr. Mark NG’s research on customer negative brand engagement in the digital era


Project name: Untangling the Complexity of Customer Negative Brand Engagement in the Digital Era

Funding scheme: Faculty Development Scheme, Competitive Research Funding Schemes for the Local Self-financing Degree Sector (2020/2021), Research Grants Council

Funding awarded: HK$610,750

Principal Investigator: Dr. NG Mark Chi-ho (Assistant Professor, Department of Business Administration)

Funding period: 30 months


Customer engagement refers to the connection between a user and a business, and can be derived from the consumer’s experiences with the products, services, and activities of the business. Customer engagement has increasingly been recognized in academic research and business practice. Positive customer engagement has been found to promote customer loyalty, develop competitive advantages, and enhance firm performance.


Dr. NG Mark Chi-ho said while a customer’s engagement could be positive or negative, many studies only address the positive aspects of customer engagement. The lack of study in negative engagement results in an incomplete understanding of the valence of engagement.


“Negatively engaged customers can act as brand adversaries who are highly committed to the relationship. It unfolds through customers’ intentional efforts but their effort is to damage a brand, such as, customers or group of customers through the spread of negative word of mouth; co-opting others to adopt an attitudinal position about a provider; brand switching, avoidance and rejection; and retaliation and revenge behaviours”. Dr. NG said.


According to Dr. NG, in the first phase of this project, this proposed research will examine the key dimensions of negative brand engagement and develop a scale for measuring the negative engagement of customers.


The second phase of this project involves an analysis of determinants and behavioral outcomes of negative customer brand engagement.


Dr. NG added, in today’s digitalized society, customers are interconnected with each other both physically and virtually. This study explores not only how a consumer’s personal experiences, expectations, but also social contexts relate to negative brand engagement.


“This study is particularly high relevance to Hong Kong and Mainland China, where marketers are encountering constant change and uncertainty due to the recent political upheaval. Major brands and chain stores not only faced difficulties because of the protests and police actions but also negative reactions and boycotting by local residents. As such, developing a measurement for negative customer brand engagement and analyzing the key determinants of negative brand engagement are highly relevant to marketers in Hong Kong and Mainland China”. Dr. NG said.


by SHUE YAN NEWSLETTER, March 2021 Issue