Price Promotion (In)consistency and Consumers’ Brand Evaluations: The Role of Reference Prices
Research suggests that consumers evaluate a brand that is promoted now but never before less favorably than a brand promoted now and also promoted consistently in the past because the former promotional behavior generates negative attributions. The present research examines the alternative possibility that a brand promoted inconsistently (vs. consistently) may be evaluated more favorably because it has a higher reference price. Three studies contrasting these two explanations reveal that when consumers' reference prices for the competing brands under consideration are similar, attributions drive evaluations. However, when consumers' reference prices for the competing brands differ, reference prices drive evaluations.
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