Branding Alters Attitude Functions and Reduces the Advantage of Function-Matching Persuasive Appeals

LeBoeuf, Robyn A; Simmons, Joseph P
April 2010
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Apr2010, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p348
Academic Journal
Attitudes differ in terms of the functions they serve: Whereas attitudes toward some products may serve a utilitarian purpose of helping consumers maximize rewards, attitudes toward other products may symbolize or express consumers' values. This article shows that branding alters the associations between products and attitude functions. Specifically, product categories that are generally associated with utilitarian attitudes are associated with less utilitarian, more symbolic attitudes when branded, whereas product categories that are generally associated with symbolic attitudes are associated with more utilitarian, less symbolic attitudes when branded. Branding also has important implications for persuasion and for the “function-matching” advantage: Although utilitarian appeals are most persuasive for “utilitarian” products (and symbolic appeals are most persuasive for “symbolic” products) at the category level, this article shows that this pattern does not emerge at the brand level, in part because attitude functions change with branding.


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