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How do consumers know which brand is the market leader or market pioneer? Consumers' inferential processes, confidence and accuracy

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Prior research has suggested that the brand consumers believe is the market leader or market pioneer can earn positive feedback for these achievements. The key question is how do consumers form these beliefs? This research examines the sources of information and cognitive processes that consumers utilise when determining which brand in a particular product category is a pioneer or market leader. These processes of source identification - including memory trace, schematic inferencing, direct-cue retrieval, and guessing – are applied in this brand characteristic context, and measured in terms of their relative frequency of occurrence, degree of confidence from each process, and accuracy of each process. Consumers may feel varying degrees of confidence in the different types of inferential processes, and these different processes may actually result in varying degrees of accuracy.

Results show that consumers typically evoke "schematic inference" as a rationale for their identification of a given brand as having a category characteristic. Those who use memory trace, however, are particularly confident that they have identified the true category characteristic, but are particularly inaccurate in such identification for the pioneer brand. These findings are discussed in the broader context of source inferential processes and their importance to marketing strategy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2007

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