This article is a replication of a study of Hoyer and Brown that used a controlled experiment to examine the role of brand awareness in the consumer choice process. The replication used the same methods, but with a different (but similar) product category, a larger sample, and a sample group that included experienced as well as inexperienced consumers. Results support the original study's findings that brand awareness is a dominant choice tactic among awareness group subjects. Subjects choosing from a set of brands with marked awareness differentials showed an overwhelming preference for the high awareness brand, despite quality and price differentials. They also made their decisions faster than subjects in the nonawareness condition and sampled fewer brands. In a surprising finding, respondents use of the awareness choice heuristic did not seem to decline steadily over repeated choice trials, but rather showed something of a U-shaped pattern, with subjects returning to the high awareness brand in the latter choice trials. Little support was found for Hoyer and Brown's finding that subjects in the no brand awareness conditions chose the quality brand on the final trial more often that those in the awareness differential conditions. In summary, awareness differentials seem to be a powerful influence on brand choice in a repeat purchase consumer product context. Consumers show a strong tendency to use awareness as a heuristic and show a degree of inertia in changing from the habit of using this heuristic.
Journal of Business Research – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2000
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