When and how brands affect importance of product attributes in consumer decision process

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Purpose This research investigates when and how brands influence attribute importance weights. Most past studies modelling 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, those studies assigned an equal (i.e. non-contingent) importance weight across brands for each attribute. In contrast, this study introduces a brand-contingent attribute-weighting process, in which brand is a higher-order construct that influences attribute importance. Design/methodology/approach This study presents a multi-level choice model in which the importance weight of an attribute can vary across brands. This study then estimates the model using real purchase data and survey data from an airline industry. Findings This study finds that attribute importance weights are contingent upon two aspects of a brand - the perceived relative position of the brand and consumers' brand usage experiences. Specifically, when consumers perceive a brand to be inferior to its competitors in a given attribute, they generally place greater weight on that attribute for that brand. In contrast, when consumers perceive a brand to be superior to its competitors in a given attribute, only consumers with extensive brand usage experiences place greater weight on that attribute for that brand. Practical implications The findings provide managerial insights on brand positioning and segmentation strategies using consumers' brand usage experiences. Originality/Value This study advances the literature on consumer decision processes by modeling an attribute-weighting process that is contingent upon brands. The present study models this process based on consumer behavior theories and estimates the model using real market data.


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[Park, Hyun Young] China Europe Int Business Sch, Dept Mkt, Shanghai, Peoples R China

[Chang, Sue Ryung] Yonsei Univ, Sch Business, Seoul, South Korea

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European Journal of Marketing



Issue:Early View


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