Purpose – Intangibility has long been studied in marketing, especially its physical aspect. This paper seeks to verify whether a branding strategy is efficient in reducing the risk perceived by customers. Design/methodology/approach – A sample of university students answered the measurements considering both perspectives (brands and product categories). The paper uses a three‐dimensional approach of intangibility and explores its relationships with evaluation difficulty (ED) and perceived risk (PR). These relationships were tested in two different perspectives: brands and product categories. Findings – Two analyses were made to test the hypotheses which were generally supported. Several relationships between the variables were found, but three should be highlighted. First, it was shown that brands are more mentally intangible than product categories, which may lead to a difficulty to evaluate. Second, it was found that evaluation difficulty increases the perceived risk in the product category perspective. Third, it was found that higher involvement generates a stronger relationship between evaluation difficulty and perceived risk for the product category perspective. Practical implications – Theoretical and managerial implications to the literature are discussed along with examples of how managers could use the findings. Originality/value – The research incorporates prior knowledge and involvement as moderating variables of the proposed framework and reinforces their relevance to the field. The results not only show the importance of branding, but also support the argument of considering evaluation difficulty in future research.
Journal of Consumer Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 4, 2010
Keywords: Risk assessment; Knowledge management; Brands
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