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The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of symbolic product information (symbolic product design) on consumers’ perceived brand evaluations. In an…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
The paper uses structural equation modeling to test the significance of the overall model and the specified paths.
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.
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.
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.
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.