The Influence of Product Variety on Brand Perception and Choice
41 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2006
Date Written: May 2006
We propose that the variety a brand offers can influence brand quality perceptions, and consequently, affect brand choice, even when the available option set is held constant. Specifically, brands that offer greater variety of compatible (i.e., focused and internally consistent) options are expected to be perceived as having greater commitment and expertise in the category, which, in turn, enhances their perceived quality and purchase likelihood. The results of six studies support this proposition and demonstrate that (a) brands offering increased compatible variety were perceived as having higher quality; (b) this effect was mediated by product variety's impact on perceived expertise-commitment; (c) the higher perceived quality led to a higher choice share of brands offering greater product variety, even amongst options identical options offered by multiple brands; and (d) product variety also impacted post-experience perceptions of taste.
Keywords: variety, quality perceptions, market strategy, consumer choice, quality cues, sensory experience
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