نام های تجاری (برند) در مغز : آیا مصرف کنندگان از اطلاعات اعلانی یا احساسات تجربه شده به منظور بررسی نام های تجاری استفاده می کنند؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Consumer Psychology, Volume 22, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 75–85
An fMRI study was conducted with unfamiliar and familiar (strong and weak) brands to assess linguistic encoding and retrieval processes, and the use of declarative and experiential information, in brand evaluations. As expected, activations in brain areas associated with linguistic encoding were higher for unfamiliar brands, but activations in brain areas associated with information retrieval were higher for strong brands. Interestingly, weak brands were engaged simultaneously in both processes. Most importantly, activations of the pallidum, associated with positive emotions, for strong brands and activations of the insula, associated with negative emotions, for weak and unfamiliar brands suggested that consumers use experienced emotions rather than declarative information to evaluate brands. As a result, brand experiences should be considered a key driver of brand equity in addition to brand awareness and cognitive associations.
How do consumers process and evaluate brands? Following most theories of human judgment and prominent brand equity models, consumers encode and retrieve declarative brand attributes and brand knowledge when they process and evaluate brands (Keller, 1993, Keller and Lehmann, 2006 and Schwarz, 2004a). However, according to recent experiential models, brands may also evoke sensations and emotions as well as bodily and visceral responses during encoding and retrieval (Schwarz, 2004b; Damasio, 1990; Izard, 2009). Consequently, consumers may also use these brand experiences to render brand evaluations (Bechara & Damasio, 2005). In this study, we will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a brain-imaging technique that measures blood flow changes based on neural activity in different regions of the brain, to study encoding and retrieval processes and the use of declarative and experiential information in brand evaluations. Brain imaging techniques provide a powerful new methodology for consumer psychology. They can validate verbally based research but also refine and advance existing theory (Shiv et al., 2005). For example, a brain-imaging study by Yoon, Gutchess, Feinberg, and Polk (2006) on brand related and person related judgments called into question prior findings that similar processes occur when individuals process brands and people. Judgment context and brand stimuli The degree to which an ad hoc or retrieval process is invoked and declarative or experiential information is used depends on the judgment context—for example, the task to be performed and the nature of the stimuli. The judgment context selected for this study is a typical situation that consumers frequently encounter when they shop and purchase products as part of their everyday lives. The situation is characterized by short exposure, limited information presentation and time constraints to render an evaluation. Specifically, participants will be shown several brands; they will be asked to briefly think about the brands and then evaluate them. The stimuli will be unfamiliar and familiar brands, and, within familiar brands, so-called “strong” and “weak” brands (Hoeffler and Keller, 2003 and Keller, 1993). Both strong and weak brands can easily be recognized; however, strong brands display higher unaided recall and top-of-the-mind recall. Moreover, strong brands possess stronger and more positive brand associations (Hoeffler & Keller, 2003). In the following, to derive hypotheses for our study, we discuss, first, ad hoc and retrieval-based processing and, second, the relative use of declarative and experiential information for unfamiliar, strong and weak brands in the context of this typical and frequently encountered judgment context.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Taken together, the results of the fMRI study confirmed several aspects of existing brand evaluation and brand equity models. However, the study also revealed new findings that call for a re-examination and refinement of existing models. Specifically, confirming prior research, results indicated that both ad hoc and retrieval-based processing are activated when consumers evaluate brands. As expected, ad hoc processes are common for unfamiliar brands and retrieval processes are common for strong brands. Going beyond established findings, the fMRI study revealed the hybrid nature of weak brands for the judgment context we studied: weak brands seem to evoke simultaneously ad hoc and retrieval processes. Compared to unfamiliar and strong brands, this simultaneous processing may be due to the fact that consumers continue to be motivated to build further associations and memory cues while pragmatically retrieving and using the information that is already stored. Our study also significantly contributes to the key issue of whether consumers use declarative information of experienced feelings to evaluate brands. In the judgment context investigated here, characterized by short exposure, limited information presentation and time constraints, it is positive experiential information (rather than declarative information) that seems to affect the differential evaluations of strong and weak brands. Thus, experiential information alone can lead to judgments and can have primacy over declarative information in certain judgment contexts. The view that experienced emotions can be more important than declarative information was further supported by the unpredicted activation of the insula, which is associated with negative emotions, for weak and unfamiliar brands. Following the “somatic marker hypothesis” (Bechara & Damasio, 2005), somatic and visceral representation of emotionally negative and aversive stimuli are held in the insula and can signal that a decision or judgment may be risky (Clark et al., 2008 and Preuschoff et al., 2008). The higher insula activations thus may indicate that individuals perceive uncertainty, risk and negative emotions when they process unfamiliar and weak brands. This effect may have occurred because individuals can only attend to or recall limited amounts of information for unfamiliar and weak brands compared to strong brands. That is, individuals had to rely on limited available information to form an evaluation in our lab study, as they often must in everyday decision situations, which may have resulted in negative emotions. The processing and evaluation of unfamiliar and weak brands is thus not a “cold,” analytical encoding and learning process focused on utilizing declarative information but a process during which consumers experience emotions that may become associated permanently with brands. While the present study supports the experiential view rather than the declarative view, it would be inappropriate to conclude that experiential information rather than declarative information is always used as the key differentiator between brands. Judgment contexts where consumers have more time to absorb information may result in more analytical processing and facilitate the activation of declarative knowledge. Additional brain scanning research should clarify the degree of usage of experiential and declarative information in a variety of different judgment contexts. Because brain scanning is still in its infancy, the technique has pitfalls and limitations, especially when applied in consumer psychology. In contrast to neuroscientists who are interested in mapping brain areas to mental processes, consumer researchers are focused on the reverse inference, i.e., reasoning backwards from specific brain activation to particular mental functions (Poldrack, 2006). To date, brain scanning studies, however, provide only a “macro” picture of activations occurring in the brain and particular brain region may lack selectivity. This lack of selectivity may result in false conclusions about which processes are engaged (Poldrack, 2006). To safeguard against a false reverse inference, we took several precautions in our study. First, our key predictions were based on brain regions whose functions are activated relatively selectively by specific processes—such as Broca's and Wernicke's area for linguistic encoding and retrieval and the pallidum for positive emotions. Similarly, the key unpredicted effect that we observed—namely, the activation of the insula—occurred in a brain region whose association with negative emotions is well established in neuropsychology. In addition, to examine whether we could provide convergent evidence for our findings, we considered all brain activations, and not only specifically predicted brain regions. Our conclusion regarding retrieval processes was thus not only based on activations in Wernicke's area but corroborated by other brain regions that have been shown to be involved in information retrieval. Some of these other brain regions, however, may be subject to some lack of selectivity; therefore we did not use them as primary but only as supporting evidence (e.g., regions implicated in positive and negative feelings besides the pallidum and the insula). Another limitation of brain-imaging studies to date is that they cannot easily identify detailed processes and specific reasons for these processes. Thus, while we found evidence of negative emotions for both unfamiliar and familiar brands, it is not clear which specific emotions occurred, why they occurred, and whether the same emotions occurred for unfamiliar and weak brands. For example, for unfamiliar brands participants in our study may get frustrated because they can only use the brand name and logo to form an evaluation. For weak brands, however, they may feel disappointed because they are unable to retrieve many associations even though they can easily recognize the brand. Once the technology allows for more detailed investigations of brain processes, it will be easier to advance and test more specific hypotheses and to map brain scanning results to specific results of experimental studies. The present research sheds light on prior brain-imaging studies that did not focus on brand processing in general but on specific brands or types of brands. For example, when studying the effects of brand knowledge for Pepsi and Coke, McClure et al. (2004) observed significantly more activations in emotion and affect related regions when participants were shown a Coke logo than a Pepsi logo. We observed a comparable effect for strong brands; thus, it may be the case that the Coke brand, in comparison to Pepsi, was seen as a stronger brand by both Coke and Pepsi users in the study. Moreover, Yoon et al. (2006) found stronger activation in the medial prefrontal cortex for people than brand judgments and stronger activations in the left inferior prefrontal cortex when they compared brand judgments with people judgments. They concluded that brands are more like objects than people. However, we found activations in related regions when we compared different types of brands alone. Future research should examine to what degree brands and people judgments can be similar in certain judgment contexts. For example, depending on the context, brands may be able to trigger the same brain activations as people, albeit in a weaker form. Also, unfamiliar brands may start out to be similar to objects; however, as they become strong brands by acquiring meaning and getting associated with powerful emotions, they may take on human characteristics (Aaker, 1997). To summarize, our study offers some support for existing brand evaluation and brand equity models—for example, for the encoding and retrieval processes proposed in prior research and for the distinction between strong (“high equity”), weak (“low equity”) and unfamiliar brands with no brand equity (Keller, 1993). At the same time, our study suggests that brand evaluation and brand equity models may be too cognitive in nature. Strong brands seem to differ from weak and unfamiliar brands not only in terms of familiarity and cognitive associations, which are stored as declarative information, but in terms of positive and negative emotions that consumers experience when they process these brands. Thus, brand experiences triggered by sensory and bodily signals should be viewed as key drivers of brand equity (Brakus et al., 2009).