Branding Alters Attitude Functions and Reduces the Advantage of Function-Matching Persuasive Appeals
Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming
47 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2007 Last revised: 8 May 2012
Date Written: September 6, 2007
Attitudes differ in the functions that they serve: Whereas attitudes towards some products may serve a utilitarian purpose of helping consumers maximize rewards, attitudes towards other products may symbolize or express consumers' values. This paper shows that branding alters the associations between products and attitude functions. Specifically, product categories that are generally associated with utilitarian attitudes are associated with less utilitarian, more symbolic attitudes when branded, whereas product categories that are generally associated with symbolic attitudes are associated with more utilitarian, less symbolic attitudes when branded. Branding also has important implications for persuasion and for the "function-matching" advantage: Whereas utilitarian appeals are best for "utilitarian" products (and symbolic appeals are best for "symbolic" products) at the category level, this paper shows that this advantage does not hold at the brand level, in part because attitude functions change with branding.
Keywords: attitude functions, attitudes, branding, persuasion, advertising
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