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The Influence of Product Variety on Brand Perception and Choice

  • Jonah Berger

    ()

    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Memorial Way, Stanford, California 94305)

  • Michaela Draganska

    ()

    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Memorial Way, Stanford, California 94305)

  • Itamar Simonson

    ()

    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Memorial Way, Stanford, California 94305)

We propose that the variety a brand offers often serves as a quality cue and thus influences which brand consumers choose. Specifically, brands that offer a greater variety of options that appear compatible and require similar skills tend to be perceived as having greater category expertise or core competency in the category, which, in turn, enhances their perceived quality and purchase likelihood. Six studies support this proposition and demonstrate that compared to brands which offer fewer products, (a) brands which offer increased compatible variety are perceived as having higher quality; (b) this effect is mediated by product variety's impact on perceived expertise; (c) the higher perceived quality produces a greater choice share of the higher variety brand, even among consumers who select options that multiple brands offer and (d) product variety also impacts post-experience perceptions of taste. The findings suggest that in addition to directly affecting brand choice share through influencing the fit with consumer preferences, product line length can also indirectly affect brand choice through influencing perceived brand quality.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1060.0253
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Marketing Science.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (07-08)
Pages: 460-472

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:26:y:2007:i:4:p:460-472
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  1. Greenleaf, Eric A & Lehmann, Donald R, 1995. " Reasons for Substantial Delay in Consumer Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 186-99, September.
  2. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  3. Schmalensee, Richard, 1978. "A Model of Advertising and Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 485-503, June.
  4. Bettman, James R & Luce, Mary Frances & Payne, John W, 1998. " Constructive Consumer Choice Processes," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(3), pages 187-217, December.
  5. Levin, Irwin P & Gaeth, Gary J, 1988. " How Consumers Are Affected by the Framing of Attribute Information before and after Consuming the Product," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 374-78, December.
  6. Sunder Kekre & Kannan Srinivasan, 1990. "Broader Product Line: A Necessity to Achieve Success?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(10), pages 1216-1232, October.
  7. Michaela Draganska & Dipak C. Jain, 2005. "Product-Line Length as a Competitive Tool," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 1-28, 03.
  8. John T. Gourville & Dilip Soman, 2005. "Overchoice and Assortment Type: When and Why Variety Backfires," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(3), pages 382-395, July.
  9. Chernev, Alexander, 2003. " When More Is Less and Less Is More: The Role of Ideal Point Availability and Assortment in Consumer Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 170-83, September.
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