This paper assesses the role of product knowledge on consumer response to product-harm crises. An experiment with three product categories – cars, notebooks, and sports drinks – was carried out. The study reveals that the company’s product evaluation, as well as company attitude and company trust depends on subjective product knowledge. Results indicate that in the case of notebooks and sports drinks experts react more positively towards a company and its products than novices do. Particularly, experts put more trust in a company facing a crisis. Moreover, they show a more favorable attitude towards the company and evaluate its products and the product confronted with the crisis higher than novices. Following these findings, assumption are made that this is based on the fact that experts have more information stored in their memories about the product category in general, and adding one piece of information – even if it is negative – makes little difference in how consumers react. The results did not confirm the hypothesis for the product category of cars; there are no significant differences between experts and novices.
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- The Influence of Product Knowledge on Consumer’s Company and Product Evaluations in Product-Harm Crisis Situations
Bodo B. Schlegelmilch