Title: Impact of Emotional Confidence on Customer Loyalty in the Context of a High Involvement Product (Jewelry) and a Low Involvement Product (Cigarettes)
The topic for this research proposal is “impact of emotional confidence on customer loyalty in the context of a high involvement product (jewelry) and a low involvement product (cigarettes)”. I selected this topic because of my immense personal interest in gaining an in-depth understanding of changes in consumer behavior in different contexts in recent years. One of these changes is that emotional confidence has become a dominant feature that influences how consumers make choices. This impact naturally varies depending on whether the consumer is purchasing a high-involvement or low-involvement product.
Today, a diverse array of marketing platforms is being used to provide marketing messages to consumers. Emotional confidence comes into play in such contexts because it influences the consumers’ ability to engage in rational decision-making. Many advertisers understand the value of promoting positive emotions and suppressing negative ones. For example, cigarette advertisers create adverts that promote the view that people who smoke look “cool”. Whenever efforts to influence emotional confidence are pursued at the expense of quality, resentment among consumers is likely to occur. Marketers must also guard against creating misconceptions about quality in order to avoid resentment among consumers of high-involvement products (Lin, 2013). For low-involvement products, few customers are likely to pay attention to emotional needs since they are used to making frequent purchases.
This is an important research area because it provides researchers with an opportunity to look at emotional confidence at the level of two categories of products: high-involvement and low-involvement. The evaluative approach that a consumer is likely to adopt when purchasing a high-involvement product like jewelry is radically different from the one he is likely to use when buying a routine product like cigarettes. These differences bring into focus fundamental questions regarding the role of emotions in purchase behavior. One enduring assumption is that high-involvement products trigger strong emotions because they are mostly one-off purchases. However, even in the case of low-involvement products, strong negative emotions may be triggered if manufacturers fail to live up to the consumers’ expectations in terms of quality. This may particularly the case if the consumers were attracted to the product in the first place due to its high quality.
A review of literature shows that research on emotional confidence in the context of high-involvement and low-involvement is disjointed. In the recent past, one of the main areas that academic literature has focused on in relation to this research topic is the moderating role of level of involvement in decision-making. According to Park, Lee & Han (2007), one of the ways in which customer involvement occurs today is through online reviews by customers. Park, Lee & Han (2007) also points out that high-involvement and low-involvement consumers respond differently to quality and quantity of reviews. This paper fails to put into consideration consumers’ emotions.
Another dominant theme is emotional brand attachment (Malär, Krohmer, Hoyer, & Nyffenegger, 2011). Research on this theme fails to put into consideration aspects of variations in the context of high- and low-involvement contexts. It is obvious that differences exist in efforts by marketers to create emotional attachment in products of different involvement levels. Ha & Lennon (2010) bring together the two variables (emotions and product involvement). They also highlight the need to focus on both high- and low-involvement and the moderating effect of both positive and negative emotions (Ha & Lennon, 2010).
The concept of emotional advertising has also been examined in research. It relates to emotional confidence because the objective of promoting emotional appeal is to trigger emotional responses from consumers. These emotional responses depend on different factors, including consumer’s emotional confidence, effectiveness of emotional advertising strategy, and level of involvement. According to Geuensa, Pelsmacker & Faseur (2011), emotional advertising works well with low-involvement products and not high-involvement products. This assertion seems inaccurate because emotions are influenced not just by type of advertising but also the consumer’s emotional disposition, attitudes towards the product, and effectiveness of advertising strategy.
Analysis of literature shows that most studies examine both positive and negative emotions in high- and low-involvement settings but they fail to provide context through examples. A good example is Sierra & McQuitty (2007), who focuses on nostalgic purchase behavior without providing practical examples of products. An ideal situation could have been one where Sierra & McQuitty (2007) examined differences in nostalgic emotions based on level of product involvement. The present paper seeks to bridge this research gap by providing the examples of jewelry (a high-involvement product) and cigarettes (a low-involvement product). Hopefully, the findings will provide a framework for guiding marketers to account for consumer purchase behavior by assessing their emotional confidence in relation to the level of product involvement.
Recent market trends also provide crucial indicators regarding the appropriateness of this research topic. More than ever before, product involvement has become an important factor determining emotional responses. Many consumers are increasingly purchasing counterfeits in high-involvement contexts in their pursuit of emotional responses that are universally associated with luxury items (Penz & Stöttinger, 2012). Policymakers and manufacturers across the world are increasingly worried that current social and cognitive drivers of counterfeit consumption need to be addressed. To address these problems, the stakeholders need to look at how emotions influence purchasing decisions for different product categories.
As the world becomes more interconnected because of internet technology, social factors such as religion are increasingly becoming crucial determinants of product involvement (Yousaf & Malik, 2013; Behboudi et al, 2014). In Iran, for example, Muslim customers put into consideration factors such as lifestyle, internet marketing strategies, and product involvement to determine whether to use a rational or emotional approach in their purchase behavior (Behboudi et al, 2014). Another market trend is one where consumers seem to have started assigning product involvement tags to products based on their country of origin. For example, it is becoming increasingly important for marketers to emphasize the country of origin of their brands with a view to attract low-involvement consumers (Dens & Pelsmacker, 2010). This trend has become particularly common for marketing strategies involving products manufactured from countries with a positive image. Such market trends make the topic presented in this paper a relevant area of inquiry.
In conclusion, this study makes a new contribution to the body of knowledge for three reasons. Firstly, it provides a platform for the analysis of emotional confidence in the context of high- and low involvement settings. Secondly, it puts into focus the moderating role of level of involvement in decision-making. This is an important contribution because more than ever before, product involvement has become an important factor determining emotional responses. Thirdly, this research topic contributes to efforts aimed at promoting coherence in a field where literature on the relationship between emotional confidence and product is disjointed.
Behboudi, M., Vazifehdoust, H., Najafi, K. & Najafi, M. (2014). Using rational and emotional appeals in online advertisements for Muslim customers. Journal of Islamic Marketing, 5(1), 97 – 124.
Dens, N. & Pelsmacker, P. (2010). Consumer response to different advertising appeals for new products: The moderating influence of branding strategy and product category involvement. Journal of Brand Management, 18, 50–65.
Geuensa, M., Pelsmacker, P., & Faseur, T. (2011). Emotional advertising: Revisiting the role of product category. Journal of Business Research, 64(4), 418–426.
Ha, Y. & Lennon, S. (2010). Effects of site design on consumer emotions: Role of product involvement. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 4(2), 80 – 96.
Lin, W. (2013). Factors affecting high-involvement product purchasing behavior. Quality & Quantity, 47(6), 3113-3133.
Malär, L., Krohmer, H., Hoyer, W., & Nyffenegger, B. (2011). Emotional Brand Attachment and Brand Personality: The Relative Importance of the Actual and the Ideal Self. Journal of Marketing, 75, 35 –52.
Park, D. Lee, J. & Han, I. (2007). The Effect of On-Line Consumer Reviews on Consumer Purchasing Intention: The Moderating Role of Involvement. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 11(4), 125 – 148.
Penz, E. & Stöttinger, B. (2012). A comparison of the emotional and motivational aspects in the purchase of luxury products versus counterfeits. Journal of Brand Management, 19, 581-594.
Sierra, J. & McQuitty, S. (2007). Attitudes and Emotions as Determinants of Nostalgia Purchases: An Application of Social Identity Theory. The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 15(2), 99 – 112.
Yousaf, S. & Malik, M. (2013). Evaluating the influences of religiosity and product involvement level on the consumers. Journal of Islamic Marketing,4(2), 163 – 186.