Narrow Focusing: Why the Relative Position of a Good in its Category Matters More than it Should
Marketing Science, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 194-205, 2005
12 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2007 Last revised: 19 May 2008
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: brand choice, brand product management, ranking effect, narrow focusing, evaluability
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