Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Doubts Make Consumers More Willing To Reevaluate Brands, Study Finds

Date:
January 7, 2009
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Most consumers crave a clear understanding of brand images, making them more receptive to new marketing messages if anything clouds their vision of companies or products, according to a new study.

Most consumers crave a clear understanding of brand images, making them more receptive to new marketing messages if anything clouds their vision of companies or products, according to a new study by a University of Illinois marketing expert.

Sharon Shavitt says the findings are good news for companies seeking to retool the image of seemingly ingrained brands, such as McDonald’s efforts to promote salads and other healthful menu options.

“The message is that people don’t just form brand opinions and stick with them,” said Shavitt, a professor of business administration. “Instead, they’re constantly monitoring their sense of understanding. They may in fact be swinging between doubt and closure more often than we think.”

The study, which will appear in the Journal of Marketing Research in April, examined how consumers internally manage brand understanding and how a sense of difficulty when thinking about brands influences their impressions.

Consumers forced to consider brands while feeling a sense of effort – such as reading blurry print, facing time constraints or furrowing their brow – were more open to new marketing messages than those who didn’t face those challenges, the study found.

And the sense of effort ultimately led those consumers to a more favorable view of the brand, according to the study, co-written by Kansas State University marketing professor Kyoungmi Lee, a U. of I. doctoral student when the research began.

“A sense of difficulty threatens consumers’ metacognitive comfort zone and can lead them to doubt their understanding of an established brand,” Shavitt said. “Consumers expect a strong sense of understanding for those brands, and when that’s threatened it can lead them to be more open to reevaluating a brand.”

She says consumers regularly confront situations in everyday life that can pose similar challenges to brand understanding, such as distractions while listening to commercials or reading advertisements.

“Anything that makes it hard to think can create a sense of difficulty that can extend to our perceived understanding of the brand,” Shavitt said. “You could be listening to a radio ad in the car while horns are honking and you’re watching street signs to make a turn.”

Marketers also can plant a sense of struggle, she said, such as contests or online surveys with new information that runs counter to a brand’s traditional image. McDonald’s, one of the brands included in the study, could instill doubt by asking consumers how many salad varieties are on menus or the sodium content of its burgers and fries, she said.

“I think you can lead people to doubt their sense of understanding and in so doing be more open to the ideas you want them to embrace,” Shavitt said. “So I think McDonald’s can reinvent itself, as can other brands. And this shows it might not be as difficult as once thought.”

She says some findings may appear surprising, such as consumers adopting a more favorable view of brands despite confronting seemingly negative experiences such as furrowed brows and blurry print.

“That’s news because I think people would otherwise assume that those experiences would lead to a less favorable view of the brand,” Shavitt said. “We’re saying not at all – it depends on what new information they seize on after the experience leads them to rethink the brand.”

The study also found that consumers with the greatest need for closure, based on personality evaluations, were most likely to reevaluate brands after facing difficulties while thinking about them, she said.

“Ahead of time, you probably would predict that people with a strong need for closure would be the most closed-minded. That’s not at all what we found. When we induced doubt, those people really wanted to eliminate doubt and were most likely to change their views.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Doubts Make Consumers More Willing To Reevaluate Brands, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105150835.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2009, January 7). Doubts Make Consumers More Willing To Reevaluate Brands, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105150835.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Doubts Make Consumers More Willing To Reevaluate Brands, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105150835.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Mayor Outlines 50-Year Vision Ahead of Population Rise

London Mayor Outlines 50-Year Vision Ahead of Population Rise

AFP (July 30, 2014) London Mayor Boris Johnson outlined his infrastructure plan for the British capital over the next 50 years on Wednesday, with a focus on how to cope with a population expected to reach 11 million. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins