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Brand Effects On Choice And Choice Set Formation Under Uncertainty

Publication Abstract

Swait, Joffre Dan, and Tulin Erdem. 2007. "Brand Effects On Choice And Choice Set Formation Under Uncertainty." Marketing Science, 26(5): 679-697.

This paper examines the effects of brand credibility, a central concept in information economics-based approaches to brand effects and brand equity, on consumer choice and choice set formation. We investigate the mechanisms through which credibility effects materialize, namely, through perceived quality, perceived risk, and information costs saved. The credibility of a brand as a signal is defined as the believability of the product position information contained in a brand, which depends on consumer perceptions of the willingness and ability of firms to deliver what they have promised. The choice set is defined as the collection of brands that have a nonzero probability of being chosen among those actually available for choice in a given context. Furthermore, we study the impact of brand credibility on the variance of the stochastic component of utility. Not only do choice model parameters capture the impact of systematic utility differences on choice probabilities, but also the magnitude of this systematic impact is moderated by the relative importance of the stochastic utility component in preference. We term this moderation phenomenon preference discrimination, which we conceptualize as the decision makers' capacity to effectively discriminate between products' utilities in choice situations. We estimate a discrete choice model of brand choice set formation and preference discrimination on experimental data in two categories--juice and personal computers--and find strong evidence for brand credibility effects and differential mechanisms through which brand credibility's impact materializes on brand choice conditional on choice set, choice set formation, and preference discrimination

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