The Relationship of Brand Loyalties to Cognitive Dissonance: Some New Questions to the Old Answer

Kathy L. Pettit, Washington State University
Thomas A. Johnson, University of Idaho
ABSTRACT - Brand loyalty has long been of interest to marketing practitioners and academicians. One explanation for its causation concerns Festinger's notion of postpurchase cognitive dissonance. Specifically, the old wisdom was that postpurchase dissonance leads to choice justification and, ultimately, to increases in loyalty to the selected brand. accompanied by decreases in loyalty to the nonselected brand(s). However, results of the current soda-tasting experiment, which explored the effect of dissonance on brand preferences and postdecisional confidence, raise some new questions concerning the effects of dissonance on repeat purchasing and/or brand switching behavior. That is, when higher dissonance was aroused (through tasting of more identical "brands"), and subjects were allowed to justify the choice through an intervening attribute evaluation task, postdecisional choice confidence declined in the final rating task. Thus, future brand considerations and/or loyalties may have been similarly affected for both the selected and "closely-rejected" brands.
[ to cite ]:
Kathy L. Pettit and Thomas A. Johnson (1986) ,"The Relationship of Brand Loyalties to Cognitive Dissonance: Some New Questions to the Old Answer", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, eds. Richard J. Lutz, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 670.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, 1986      Page 670

THE RELATIONSHIP OF BRAND LOYALTIES TO COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: SOME NEW QUESTIONS TO THE OLD ANSWER

Kathy L. Pettit, Washington State University

Thomas A. Johnson, University of Idaho

ABSTRACT -

Brand loyalty has long been of interest to marketing practitioners and academicians. One explanation for its causation concerns Festinger's notion of postpurchase cognitive dissonance. Specifically, the old wisdom was that postpurchase dissonance leads to choice justification and, ultimately, to increases in loyalty to the selected brand. accompanied by decreases in loyalty to the nonselected brand(s). However, results of the current soda-tasting experiment, which explored the effect of dissonance on brand preferences and postdecisional confidence, raise some new questions concerning the effects of dissonance on repeat purchasing and/or brand switching behavior. That is, when higher dissonance was aroused (through tasting of more identical "brands"), and subjects were allowed to justify the choice through an intervening attribute evaluation task, postdecisional choice confidence declined in the final rating task. Thus, future brand considerations and/or loyalties may have been similarly affected for both the selected and "closely-rejected" brands.

For further information, write to:

Professor Kathy L. Pettit / Department of Marketing / Washington State University / Pullman, Washington 99164-4722

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