This research examines how core consumers of selective brands react when non-core users obtain access to the brand. Contrary to the view that non-core users and downward brand extensions pose a threat to the brand, this work investigates the conditions under which these non-core users enhance rather than dilute the brand image. A distinction between two types of non-core users based on how they are perceived by current users of core products is introduced: "brand immigrants" who claim to be part of the in-group of core users of the brand and "brand tourists" who do not claim any membership status to the brand community. A series of studies shows that core consumers respond positively to non-core users when they are perceived as brand tourists. The brand tourism effect is mediated by core users' pride and moderated by brand patriotism and selectiveness of the brand.
Journal of Consumer Research 41, no. 2 (August 2014): 397–417