What wins awards is not always what I buy: how creative control affects authenticity and thus recognition (but not liking)THE JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2016
This work sheds light on why products deemed worthy of recognition frequently fail to stand out in terms of how much consumers like them and in turn their commercial success. We document how creative control, the extent to which the same entity takes responsibility for all stages of the creative process, impacts which products are singled out for recognition but not for liking or purchase. Using real-world data, study 1 demonstrates how greater creative control increases the likelihood a song becomes acclaimed but not whether it excels in terms of sales. Study 2 replicates the pattern of results in the lab. Study 3 reproduces the effect in a new domain using different measures of recognition. Study 4 shows that creative authenticity, the extent to which a product is considered a faithful execution of its creator’s vision, mediates the effect of creative control on recognition. Further, Study 4 highlights the contingent role played by the perceived trustworthiness of the creator on this relationship. Finally, study 5 presents a boundary condition such that in the case of unfamiliar products, when consumers do not feel confident in their own appraisals of an experience, creative control’s impact on recognition and liking run in parallel.