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Erschienen in: Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 5/2022

18.02.2022 | Original Empirical Research

Possessive brand names in brand preferences and choice: the role of inferred control

verfasst von: Mansur Khamitov, Marina Puzakova

Erschienen in: Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science | Ausgabe 5/2022

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Abstract

Marketers frequently use individual names as part of their brand-naming strategy. This research investigates how the use of a possessive (indicated by an apostrophe s) versus non-possessive form in a brand name (Mrs. Smith’s vs. Mrs. Smith) affects consumer brand preferences and choice for less familiar brands. Building on the theory of possessions, this work demonstrates that consumers infer a brand as being under control of an owner implied in a possessive brand name. Eight studies using real-world data and field and lab experiments show that this inference results in enhanced brand purchase intentions and money spent on a brand’s product. This research also establishes that the focal effect occurs for consumers less familiar with the brand and for those with high desire to relinquish control. The core effect reverses in co-creation contexts because this process enhances consumers’ own desire for control and thus conflicts with the inferred sense of an owner’s control over the brand. Additionally, the current work shows that the positive effect of brand-name possessiveness applies only when no brand longevity information is mentioned; the effect is attenuated when brand longevity is communicated, because older brands are generally seen as largely in control of their performance. Beyond informing theory on the effects of a possessive form in brand names, the findings aid marketers in identifying specific marketplace outcomes for possessive-form brand-naming strategies.

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Fußnoten
1
Out of 21 total product and service categories, possessive brand names were present in 18 categories (mean = 7 per category), while non-possessive brand names were present in 20 categories (mean = 11 per category). Overall, both possessive and non-possessive brand names are relatively equally present and distributed across various product categories. The statistical difference between 8% and 14% is nonsignificant.
 
2
The results of a pretest (n = 40) showed that although familiarity with the name was not high (below the mid-point of the scale), it did not differ between conditions; and participants’ perceptions that Valeria was a real person behind the brand was above the mid-point of the scale and did not significantly differ between the two conditions (Web Appendix C).
 
3
Given that number of years since the first rating (i.e., time being present on Yelp) can potentially be interpreted as a proxy for brand longevity, we explored its possible moderating role. This variable did not moderate the effect of brand-name possessiveness on brand ratings (b = −.01, SE = .02, t = −.37, p = .71; 95% CI = [−.05, .03]). We believe that this may be because the restaurant’s longer time on Yelp does not necessarily imply the restaurant’s greater longevity, as the current version of Yelp’s ratings only dates back to 2005.
 
4
One of the items in the original paper was a reverse-coded one. A principal components analysis with Varimax rotation using the four original items coded for desire to relinquish personal control suggested that whereas the three regular items exhibited loadings of .78 or above, the fourth reverse-coded item loading equaled .41. For this reason, and because adding the reverse-coded item substantially reduced the scale’s internal reliability below an acceptable level (a = .71), we proceeded with the three items.
 
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Metadaten
Titel
Possessive brand names in brand preferences and choice: the role of inferred control
verfasst von
Mansur Khamitov
Marina Puzakova
Publikationsdatum
18.02.2022
Verlag
Springer US
Erschienen in
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science / Ausgabe 5/2022
Print ISSN: 0092-0703
Elektronische ISSN: 1552-7824
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-022-00843-0

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