Blissful Insularity: When Brands are Judged in Isolation from Competitors

Marketing Letters, Vol. 16:2, pp. 87-97, 2005

Posted: 18 Aug 2011

See all articles by Steven S. Posavac

Steven S. Posavac

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Frank R. Kardes

University of Cincinnati - Department of Marketing

David M. Sanbonmatsu

University of Utah - Department of Psychology

Gavan J. Fitzsimons

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

The need to evaluate a single brand in isolation, without explicit comparisons to competitors, is ubiquitous in consumer judgment because competitors are often not readily apparent. Although consumers routinely make such judgments, in this paper we show that when a brand is judged in isolation, the judgment is often overly favorable. Moreover, we explore when and why this tendency occurs. Data from 259 participants across 3 experiments that considered very different product categories, and that were conducted with student and adult consumer samples, converge to show that; (1) isolated brand evaluations on average are characterized by a favorableness bias, (2) this bias results from consumers’ selective processing of information about the focal brand, (3) favorableness bias is attenuated if context leads consumers to consider alternatives to a salient focal brand, and (4) the isolated brand judgments of experts are much better calibrated than are those of novices.

Keywords: brand judgment, decision making, expertise

Suggested Citation

Posavac, Steven S. and Kardes, Frank R. and Sanbonmatsu, David M. and Fitzsimons, Gavan J., Blissful Insularity: When Brands are Judged in Isolation from Competitors (2005). Marketing Letters, Vol. 16:2, pp. 87-97, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1911398

Steven S. Posavac (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-0456 (Phone)

Frank R. Kardes

University of Cincinnati - Department of Marketing ( email )

United States

David M. Sanbonmatsu

University of Utah - Department of Psychology ( email )

702 Social And Behavioral Science Building
380 South 1530 East, Room 502
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 -025
United States
(801) 581-8505 (Phone)
(801) 581-8505 (Fax)

Gavan J. Fitzsimons

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

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