Informations and abstract
Keywords: Brand Image; Brand Association; Product Recall; Virtual Community; Netnography; Text-Mining.
According to European legislation, withdrawal of a food product from the market is mandatory whenever the company that produced it or distributed it has doubts about its compliance with food safety requirements. If the food product has already been made available to consumers, the company is obliged to inform them on why it has to be withdrawn, and, if other measures for health protection are insufficient, the same company is bound to recall the non-compliant product. Cases of withdrawal or recall of food products occur almost on a daily basis in Italy. And this is extremely likely to create serious issues to the companies involved, damaging brand image, while losing trust on the side of consumers. Also, the relationship between consumers and brands constantly happens on a double track, physical and virtual. The latter concerns, in particular, the exchange of information, perceptions and feelings that develop within the virtual community of consumers. Through the analysis of these online communities, and focusing on key components of brand association, this paper aims to assess how recalling food products negatively impacts on brand image.