Most past studies modeling consumer decision processes treated the brand of a product as
an attribute parallel to the price, color, or size of a product; and as a result, such studies assigned
an equal (i.e., non-contingent) importance weight across brands for each attribute. In contrast, the
current research presents a multi-level choice model that incorporates a brand-contingent
attribute-weighting process, in which brand is a higher-order construct that influences attribute
importance. The empirical results using real purchase decision data and survey data from an
airline industry show that attribute importance weights are contingent upon two aspects of a
brand—the perceived relative position of the brand and consumers’ brand usage experiences.
When consumers perceive a brand to be inferior to its competitors in a given attribute, consumers
generally place greater weight on that attribute for that brand (i.e., brand-contingent negativity
effect). In contrast, when consumers perceive a brand to be superior to its competitors in a given
attribute, only consumers with an extensive brand usage experience place greater weight on that
attribute for that brand (i.e., brand-contingent positivity effect). By modeling consumer decision
processes based on the consumer behavior literature, this research provides managerial insights
on brand positioning and segmentation strategies based on consumers’ brand usage experiences.
Advances in Consumer Research
We propose a brand-contingent weighting model in which attribute-importance is contingent upon (1) the competitive position of a brand, and (2) brand familiarity. Using real flight ticket purchase data, our dynamic multi-level model demonstrates that a consumer assigns different weights to the same attribute across brands, within one decision context.