Building Brand Status: Lead with Competence, Follow with Warmth
Title: Building Brand Status: Lead with Competence, Follow with Warmth
Lecturer: Ms. Miao HU, Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA
Hosted by: Dr. Fengyan CAI, Assisstant Professor of Dept. of Marketing, Antai College of Economics & Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Time: 13:30pm-15:00pm, Oct. 23 (Wed.), 2013
Place: Room 102, North Building
This dissertation seeks to better understand psychological factors that affect consumers’ judgment of brand status. I propose that two core dimensions of social judgment—competence and warmth—influence status judgments for brands. However, while both dimensions are anticipated to increase status independently, when presented together, I propose that how information is sequenced further affects perceptions of status. Specifically, I predict that, holding absolute information constant, communicating competence cues about the brand to consumers prior to warmth cues results in higher brand status judgments compared with communicating the exact same information in the reverse order (i.e., warmth cues before competence cues). Results of five experimental studies support this hypothesis. I propose this sequential effect is due to consumers engaging in a biased information search when facing status judgments. Because competence is positively associated with social status and instrumental for judgments of hierarchy, I argue that people actively seek competence information when judging brand status. However, after the need for competence information is satiated, warmth information has the ability to bring additional benefits to brand status judgments above and beyond competence information. In contrast, if warmth information is presented first, it has less impact on brand status because people are not actively seeking warmth information when judging status. This dissertation contributes to the framework of warmth and competence, provides novel insights on the antecedents and conceptualization of brand status, and provides practical implications for branding and marketing practices.
Miao Hu is a Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She holds a B.A. degree in Marketing from Guanghua School of Management, Peking University and a M.S.degree in Marketing from Northwestern University. Miao's broad research interests lie in how elements of the social hierarchy influence consumer thought and behavior. Specifically, she examines status and power, luxury and counterfeit consumption, cross-cultural research, and time-perception. Miao has presented her work at the Association for Consumer Research, the Society for Consumer Psychology Annual Conference, the Asia-Pacific Conference of the Association for Consumer Research, and the Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Conference.