The effects of company reputation upon product advertising evaluations
Some consumers evaluate a product based on the company's reputation, and an active way of promoting the company's reputation is through corporate advertising. However, not all consumers evaluate a product based on the company's reputation. These consumers tend to scrutinize the product advertisement itself and make their judgment based solely upon the characteristics and features of the product and/or the advertisement. This difference between the two ways consumers evaluate a product may be moderated by consumers' level of involvement. This study tested this notion using Petty & Cacioppo's (1981, 1986a, 1986b) Elaboration Likelihood Model which states that high involved consumers evaluate a product based upon the strength of the arguments in the advertisement while low involved consumers base their judgment upon the strength of the source of the message (e.g., celebrities, credibility, etc.). This research used corporate advertising as a source of the company's reputation and a product advertisement listing product arguments (features). A 2 (high and low involvement) x 2 (strong and weak company reputation) x 2 (strong and weak arguments) factorial design was employed. Results supported the hypotheses that high involvement subjects evaluated the product based on the product advertisement arguments and low involvement subjects evaluated the product based on the company's reputation (conveyed through corporate advertising). Implications are that a company's image (and reputation) must be actively managed for its beneficial effects upon its products (particularly towards low involved consumers). Implications of this research expands the theoretical application of the Elaboration Likelihood Model to understanding the effects of company reputation upon product evaluations.
Feinberg, Purdue University.
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