The Effect of Novel Attributes on Product Evaluations: the Moderating Roles of Brand Equity and Involvement

Yung-Cheng Shen, Yuan-ze University
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Thanks to the modern technology, many new products are developed with attributes that are novel to most consumers. For instance, a computer product can have AWLAN@, and a bottle of hand wash liquid contains APCA-NA@. These attributes are usually seen in marketing communication materials, but they are seldom properly explained to consumers. Traditional consumer research assumes that consumers must be able to understand the meanings of attributes in order to properly evaluate the product. With novel attributes, consumers must infer or elaborate the meanings and values of these attributes in order to make product choices. Much research has been performed to investigate how attributes of different natures can influence consumers’ attitudes. For instance, research has considered how irrelevant attributes can influence consumers’ product judgments (Meyvis & Janiszewski 2002). There is also research addressing the effects of new attributes (Nowlis & Simonson 1996), and the effects of high-tech attributes (Ziamou & Ratneshwar 2002) on consumers’ product attitudes. But relatively few studies have considered the effect of novel attributes (Mukherjee & Hoyer 2001). Research on the effect of novel attributes on product attitudes indicates that novel attributes can have either positive or negative effects on product judgments, depending on the complexity of the products (Mukherjee & Hoyer 2001). Novel attributes can positively elevate product attitudes when the product is relatively simple to use or operate. It would negatively impact product attitudes when the product is complicated. Thus even when consumers do not really know the meanings and values of these attributes, novel attributes can still differentially influence the overall product judgments. These results bear important implications for product managers in their decisions of whether one should use novel attributes in marketing communications.
[ to cite ]:
Yung-Cheng Shen (2005) ,"The Effect of Novel Attributes on Product Evaluations: the Moderating Roles of Brand Equity and Involvement", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 576-576.