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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: 1 February 2006

Franz‐Rudolf Esch, Tobias Langner, Bernd H. Schmitt and Patrick Geus

The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive model that combines brand knowledge and brand relationship perspectives on brands and shows how knowledge and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive model that combines brand knowledge and brand relationship perspectives on brands and shows how knowledge and relationships affect current and future purchases.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses structural equation modeling to test the significance of the overall model and the specified paths.

Findings

It is found that current purchases are affected by brand image mostly directly and by brand awareness mostly indirectly. In contrast, future purchases are not affected by either dimension of brand knowledge directly; rather, brand knowledge affects future purchases via a brand relationship path that includes brand satisfaction, brand trust, and attachment to the brand. Thus, brand knowledge alone is not sufficient for building strong brands in the long term; brand relationship factors must be considered as well.

Research implications/limitations

The present study did not examine feedback effects and included consumer categories only and no individual‐differences variables. It is recommended that future research examine feedback effects and include additional consumer categories, B2B categories and individual‐differences variables such as variety seeking and innovativeness.

Practical implications

Brand managers spend considerable resources on measuring brand awareness and brand image. It is recommended that practitioners also use brand relationship measures and develop strategic and tactical initiatives that ensure that consumers are satisfied with the brand, trust it and feel attached to it.

Originality/value

The paper is a cross‐paradigm paper: it is the first that combines the two separate broad‐based perspectives on brands into a simple comprehensive model for researchers and brand managers.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 9 October 2009

Dieter Ahlert, Rainer Olbrich, Peter Kenning and Hendrik Schroeder

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 37 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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

Abstract

Details

Review of Marketing Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-726-1

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