Enhancement Or Dilution? Asymmetric Influence of Channel Fit on Beliefs and Evaluations of Functional and Symbolic Brands and Stores

In light of increasing number of brands distributing through distinct stores, we investigate the influence of fit of functional vs. symbolic brands distributing through functional vs. symbolic stores and of the latter carrying functional vs. symbolic brands. Specifically, we examine the influence of store image on brand beliefs and brand evaluations and the influence of brand image on store evaluations. Using prior literature in context effects, brand fit, functional-symbolic product concepts, and assimilation-contrast models as conceptual underpinnings of our hypotheses, findings from an experiment employing real store names and brand names in four category replicates revealed consumers perceived poor fit in symbolic stores carrying functional brands and functional stores carrying symbolic brands. In both cases, poor fit resulted in consumers thinking less positively about stores carrying image inconsistent brands. Regarding the influence of store image on brand evaluations, poor fit of distributing through image inconsistent stores resulted in lower likelihood to buy but only for symbolic and not functional brands. Finally, there seems to be disconnect between the influence of store image on brand beliefs and brand evaluations. Despite the symbolic belief of symbolic brands being perceived stronger at functional store, the evaluations of symbolic brands was lower at functional vs. symbolic stores. Similarly, despite stronger functional beliefs at symbolic stores, the evaluation of functional brands at symbolic vs. functional stores did not differ.



Citation:

Kalpesh Kaushik Desai and Kevin Lane Keller (2009) ,"Enhancement Or Dilution? Asymmetric Influence of Channel Fit on Beliefs and Evaluations of Functional and Symbolic Brands and Stores", in AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, eds. Sridhar Samu, Rajiv Vaidyanathan, and Dipankar Chakravarti, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 35-36.

Authors

Kalpesh Kaushik Desai, SUNY-Binghamton, USA
Kevin Lane Keller, Dartmouth College, USA



Volume

AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8 | 2009



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