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Article
Publication date: 11 December 2018

Christian Boris Brunner, Sebastian Ullrich and Mauro Jose De Oliveira

After a negative consumer review (NCR) has been posted on an online shopping site such as Amazon.com, the immediate concern of a brand holder should be to focus on the…

Abstract

Purpose

After a negative consumer review (NCR) has been posted on an online shopping site such as Amazon.com, the immediate concern of a brand holder should be to focus on the steps the brand should take to rebuild the unhappy consumers’ trust. The purpose of this paper is to employ the signalling theory to analyse whether a brand response, a customer response or a response that combines both when responding to a NCR leads to better product purchase intentions at the customer end.

Design/methodology/approach

In a laboratory study comprising 351 respondents, six different response scenarios are tested, both for a well-known and an unknown brand. The experiment employs a 6 (response scenario: single brand response, single customer response, brand response and one customer response or vice versa, brand response and three customer responses or vice versa)×2 (customer-based brand equity: strong/weak) between-subject design.

Findings

The findings show that after a NCR, the subjects perceive a customer response as more trustworthy than a response from an unknown brand. However, customer-based brand equity changes the whole story. If a strong brand responds, the purchase intentions of the subjects are similar to those generated by a single customer’s response. In addition, after considering multiple responses, it can be seen that a response combining a brand and a customer response has a higher effect than from a single response. Furthermore, the authors demonstrate that perceptions are more favourable if several customer responses are sent in case of an unknown brand.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper lies in the fact that it tries to explore how the consumers perceive multiple responses from different sources after a NCR has been posted. The results highlight that a response that combines a brand and a customer response has a significantly higher effect than what is achieved from a single response. It must also be noted that customer-based brand equity plays a key role.

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2016

Christian Boris Brunner, Sebastian Ullrich, Patrik Jungen and Franz-Rudolf Esch

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of symbolic product information (symbolic product design) on consumers’ perceived brand evaluations. In an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of symbolic product information (symbolic product design) on consumers’ perceived brand evaluations. In an experimental setting, the authors consider as key factors the congruence between symbolic product design and product category, the level of product involvement as well as brand strength.

Design/methodology/approach

In an experiment of 490 participants, consumers are confronted to different symbolic product designs connotations. Based on the cognitive process model “SARA” (selective activation, reconstruction and anchoring), the authors examined how symbolic product design associations are used as heuristics in the working memory when making brand judgement.

Findings

The results show that product design associations are used in consumers’ information processing as anchor for brand evaluations. This effect is stronger if symbolic design associations are incongruent to the product category because of consumers’ deeper elaboration process. Furthermore, the impact of symbolic product design is higher for weak compared to strong brands.

Research limitations/implications

This research supports the cognitive process model “SARA” being an appropriate foundation explaining the effects of symbolic product design. Further research should extend this experiment, using a field study in a more realistic setting and/or a choice situation between different alternative product designs at the point of sale. Furthermore, the consumers’ elaboration process should be manipulated differently, e.g. in a mental load condition.

Practical implications

Symbolic product design is important to enhance brand association networks in the consumers’ mind, particularly if the brand is weak. Marketers should use incongruent symbolic product information to differentiate from competitors who use “stereotype” product designs.

Originality/value

Research about product design in the marketing discipline is still limited. The authors analyse the impact of symbolic product design on brand evaluations in an experimental setting of 490 respondents in four product categories. The findings support that consumers use product design as heuristics to evaluate brands.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2015

Sebastian Ullrich and Christian Boris Brunner

This paper aims to investigate the effects of different response options to a negative consumer review. When consumers buy online, they are often confronted with consumer…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the effects of different response options to a negative consumer review. When consumers buy online, they are often confronted with consumer reviews. A negative consumer review on an online shopping website may keep consumers from buying the product. Therefore, negative online consumer reviews are a serious problem for brands.

Design/methodology/approach

In an online experiment of 446 participants, different response options towards a negative consumer review on an online shopping website were examined. The experimental data were analysed with linear regression models using product purchase intentions as the outcome variable.

Findings

The results indicate that a positive customer review counteracts a negative consumer review more effectively than a positive brand response, whereas brand strength moderates this relationship. Including a reference to an independent, trusted source in a brand or a customer response is only a limited strategy for increasing the effectiveness of a response.

Research limitations/implications

Additional research on other product categories and with subjects other than students is suggested to validate the findings. In future research, multiple degrees of the phrasing’s strength of the reference could be used.

Practical implications

Assuming high quality products, brands should encourage their customers to write reviews. Strong brands can also reassure consumers by responding, whereas weak brands cannot.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the online consumer reviews literature with new insights about the role of brand strength and referencing to an independent, trusted source.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 16 May 2016

Francisco Guzman and Ulla Hakala

Abstract

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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