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The matching effect of anthropomorphized brand roles and product messaging on product attitude

Yuanqiong He (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)
Qi Zhou (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)
Shuojia Guo (Marketing, College of Staten Island, Staten Island, New York, USA)
Jie Xiong (Entrepreneurship and International Business Department, ESSCA School of Management, Paris, France)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 7 September 2020

Issue publication date: 18 March 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the construal congruence of anthropomorphized brand roles and product messaging and its underlying mechanism on consumers' product attitude.

Design/methodology/approach

Four experimental studies were conducted to test the hypotheses. Study 1 investigated the framing effect of anthropomorphized brand roles (servant vs partner) in consumers' minds. Study 2 examined the matching effect of anthropomorphized brand roles and product messaging on product attitude. 132 students were randomly assigned to a 2 (anthropomorphized roles: servant vs partner) × 2 (product messaging: higher-level construal vs lower-level construal) between-subject factorial design. Study 3 tested the mediation effect of processing fluency underlying the construal congruence mechanism. Study 4 replicated the results of study 3 and further examined the boundary conditions by introducing product innovation locus as a moderator. A total of 218 students were randomly assigned to a 2 (anthropomorphized role: servant vs partner) × 2 (product messaging: higher-level construal vs lower-level construal) × 2 (innovation locus: core innovation vs peripheral locus) between-subjects design experiment.

Findings

The results demonstrate that a construal match between product messaging and anthropomorphized brand roles –anthropomorphized “servant” with higher-level construal messaging and anthropomorphized “partner” with lower-level construal messaging – can positively influence consumers' attitude via enhanced processing fluency. Furthermore, this construal matching effect on product attitude is moderated by the innovation locus of the product.

Practical implications

This study reveals that anthropomorphized brand roles with compatible product messaging in the associated construal levels lead to more favorable product attitudes. Furthermore, the matching effect of anthropomorphized brand roles and product messaging is stronger for products with peripheral innovation than with core innovation.

Originality/value

Our study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, it provides new insights into the construal matching effect of anthropomorphized brand roles and product messaging. Second, it investigates the boundary conditions of the above-mentioned construal fit mechanism.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (projects 71772074) for financial support.

Citation

He, Y., Zhou, Q., Guo, S. and Xiong, J. (2021), "The matching effect of anthropomorphized brand roles and product messaging on product attitude", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 974-993. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-12-2019-0725

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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