How Competitor Brand Names Affect Within-Brand Choices
Gunasti, K., Devezer, B., How Competitor Brands Affect Within-Brand Choice. 2016, Marketing Letters. 27: 715, DOI:10.1007/s11002-015-9374-x
23 Pages Posted: 4 May 2015 Last revised: 15 Nov 2016
Date Written: 2016
We show that consumers’ intra-brand choices (e.g., Mercedes C330 vs. C340) can be affected by exposure to a competitor alphanumeric brand name that forms an incidental trend with the numbers in the focal brand names (e.g., BMW350i). We propose and test two mechanisms. First, when no attribute information is available, the competitor brand can make the numerical trends formed by brand names salient and meaningful, and increase the preference for higher brands (e.g., Mercedes C340). Second, when attribute values are negatively correlated with brands, exposure to the competitor brand name can trigger a brand-attribute magnitude tradeoff. In five experiments, we demonstrate that our predictions hold when there are no intrinsic brand-attribute associations, and even when the competitor brand is not available for choice. We identify competitive categorization as a boundary condition and demonstrate that the effect diminishes when consumers do not categorize the nonfocal option as a competitor.
Keywords: alphanumeric brand names; branding; numerical cognition; product attributes; context effects; choice; competition
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation