Impact of order of presentation and prominent presentation of brand and attribute on consumers’ willingness to pay
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How does differential presentation of the components of a product – brand and attribute(s) – impact consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for the product? In this thesis, we attempt to answer this question through two essays. In essay 1, a series of five studies analyze the impact of sequential presentation of brand and attribute on WTP. In essay 2, a set of eight studies examine the impact of simultaneous but differentially emphasized presentation of brand and attribute on WTP. In essay 1, we hypothesize and find that brand-first presentation leads to higher WTP compared to attribute-first presentation, a result that is mediated by brand-elicited affect. In further support of the role of affect, we show that the observed effect is absent for weak (vs. strong) brands, strengthened under high (vs. low) anticipated post-purchase risk, and observed only under promotion (vs. prevention) focus. We generalize our observation through a mall intercept study. In essay 2, we hypothesize and show that brand-prominent presentation leads to higher WTP compared to attribute-prominent presentation, which we explain through brand-elicited affect and enhanced attention to the emphasized aspect. In evidence of the role of affect, we establish that the observed effect is absent for weak (vs. strong) brands and strengthened under congruent (vs. incongruent) advertising context. In support of the role of attention, we show that the effect of prominence is observed only under low (vs. high) involvement and illustrate a reversal of the main 3 effect under goal-directed attention. Our investigation reveals that associating an affective attribute with a weak brand might not adequately enhance WTP. A mall intercept study supports generalization of the effect of prominence while a field study with a specialty tea brand provides a practical demonstration of our findings. By studying the role of brand-elicited affect in the impact of product presentation on WTP, we contribute to research on feelings as information theory. We extend the application of prominent presentation beyond status signaling and product placement and contribute to work on attention to advertising by studying the impact of relative prominence of advertising elements. Finally, we present managerial implications for advertising, packaging, and brand extension.
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