Affective and cognitive responses to a product trial are examined in an experiment containing two cells representing two product types: hedonic and functional. The stimulus products were a computer game and grammar‐checking software. Forty‐two college students comprised the sample for the experiment. The specific affective responses studied are pleasure and arousal, and brand cognitions are represented as the expectancy value from brand attributes (the product of brand beliefs, belief confidence, and attribute evaluations, summed across the attributes (σ biciei)). The relative level and influence of affective and cognitive responses to a product trial were shown to differ significantly, depending on whether the product was hedonic or functional in nature. Specifically, for the hedonic product, felt arousal during the trial was higher than for the functional product, and emotional responses were significant antecedents of subjects' evaluations of the trial experience. Brand cognitions, however, were not significantly related to trial evaluations for the hedonic product. In contrast, for the functional product, brand cognitions and pleasure were significant antecedents of trial evaluations, but arousal was not. The findings of this study demonstrate the importance of considering both the cognitive structure created by a product trial and the consumer's emotional reactions to the trial. For hedonic products, especially, emotional responses to the trial were shown to be powerful antecedents to consumers' evaluations of a trial experience, and subsequently, brand attitude. Marketers and marketing researchers can use these results to predict which category of responses to product trial (affective or cognitive) will be most important for brand evaluation for the particular product in question. This knowledge may also enable marketers to manipulate aspects of a product trial that are most influential on the set of trial responses that this study has shown to significantly affect brand evaluation for that product type. © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Psychology & Marketing – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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