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Shape Matters: Package Shape Informs Brand Status Categorization and Brand Choice

Huan Chen, Jun Pang, Minkyung Koo and Vanessa M. Patrick

Journal of Retailing, 2020, vol. 96, issue 2, 266-281

Abstract: Ten studies examine package shape as a cue for brand status categorization. The authors show that products in tall, slender packages are more likely to be categorized as high-end products (high brand status) than those in short, wide packages (low brand status; studies 1a&b). This effect is driven by a Shape-SES lay theory (a person's body shape is associated with his or her socioeconomic status) that consumers apply to categorize products as high versus low in brand status (studies 2a–c), and this application process occurs spontaneously (studies 3a–b). The authors showcase the retailing implications of this work in two contexts—when consumers get free-sample products (study 4a) and when they engage in conspicuous consumption (study 4b). The theoretical contributions, retailing implications, and directions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: Brand categorization; Brand status; Package shape; Lay theory; Visual branding (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jouret:v:96:y:2020:i:2:p:266-281

DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2019.08.003

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