Narrow Focusing: Why the Relative Position of a Product within its Category Matters More than it Should?
Marketing Science, Vol. 24, 2005
32 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2006
This research examines whether a low-ranking member in a high-status category (e.g., a low-end model of a high-end brand) or a high-ranking member in a low-status category (e.g., a high-end model of a low-end brand) is favored, holding the objective qualities of the items constant. Brand equity research suggests that the quality of a brand is more important than the ranking of a product within a brand. Our research documents a robust ranking effect - whereby a high-ranking product in a low-status category is favored over a low-ranking product in a high-status category even when information on competing categories is made available. We explain this effect in terms of narrow focusing and evaluability, and we identify boundary conditions of the effect.
Keywords: evaluability, joint evaluation, separate evaluation, reference
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