Rabu, 17 November 2010

Product involvement/brand loyalty: is there a link? Pascale Quester The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia Ai Lin Lim The University of Adela

Keywords Products, Involvement, Brand loyalty, Consumer behaviour,
Consumer attitudes
Abstract In an empirical examination of the link between product involvement and
brand loyalty, a convenience sample of 253 students were asked to complete a
questionnaire relating to two products which had been found in preliminary
qualitative research to be associated with contrasted levels of involvement. The factor
structure of involvement was found to vary between the two product categories
(sneakers and pens). Furthermore, the link between product involvement and brand
loyalty was found to involve different aspects of product involvement for each of the
products concerned. Hence, future researchers in the area should be mindful that
product involvement and brand loyalty are not universal constructs: they should be
examined within specific consumer and product parameters.
Product involvement and brand loyalty are two important concepts believed
to explain a significant proportion of consumer purchase choices.Several
studies (e.g. Traylor, 1981, 1983; Park, 1996; LeClerc and Little, 1997;
Iwasaki and Havitz, 1998), have examined the relationship between product
involvement and loyalty, albeit under other names.For instance, Traylor
(1981) uses the terms ``ego involvement'' and ``brand commitment'' whereas
Park (1996) refers to ``involvement'' and ``attitudinal loyalty''.Importantly,
studies examining the relationship between product involvement and brand
loyalty have remained conceptual in nature and empirical investigations of
the product involvement/brand loyalty link are lacking.
Brand loyalty
The central premise of the literature examining the relationship between

alty and product involvement is that consumers who are more involved

brand.High involvement has also been suggested as a precondition to
loyalty.Indeed, some authors have argued that the cognitive definition of
brand loyalty represents commitment and therefore involvement with the
The product involvement/brand loyalty link: a review
In a rare empirical examination of the issue (an experimental study of
free-standing insert coupons in newspapers), LeClerc and Little (1997) found
that brand loyalty interacted with product involvement.The authors stated
that repeat purchase behaviour for a high-involvement product was an
indicator of brand loyalty, whereas repeat purchase for a low-involvement
product was simply habitual purchase behaviour, without elaborating clearly
on the relationship between these constructs.In a similar vein, Park (1996),
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22 JOURNAL OF PRODUCT & BRAND MANAGEMENT, VOL.12 NO.1 2003, pp.22-38, # MCB UP LIMITED, 1061-0421, DOI 10.1108/10610420310463117

in a study on leisure activities, found that involvement and attitudinal loyalty
were highly correlated.
Sequential psychological
However, Iwasaki and Havitz (1998) later argued that Parks' findings of a
correlation between involvement and attitudinal loyalty did not determine
whether involvement precedes loyalty.Rather, they proposed that
individuals go through sequential psychological processes in order to
become loyal participants in leisure or recreational activities.The sequential
process is shown in a simplified version of the authors' conceptual
framework displayed in Figure 1.Iwasaki and Havitz (1998) also argued that
highly loyal people tended to exhibit high levels of involvement and that
individual and social-situational factors, such as personal values or beliefs,
social and cultural norms, influenced the feedback effects of behavioural
loyalty.To date, however, this framework has remained untested.
The general convention in the literature appears to be that one's
involvement in a product class is directly related to one's commitment (or
loyalty) to a brand within that product class.Furthermore, the more focal
a product class is to an individual's ego or sense of identity, the stronger
the psychological attachment he/she will exhibit to a particular brand
within that product class.Conversely, the more peripheral the product
class is to the individual's ego, the lower the attachment to the brand.One
reason for this is that a consumer exhibiting a low involvement in a given
product category would more probably have a large consideration set and
therefore his or her brand commitment would be low.Hence, brand
switching would be more frequent compared with another consumer for
whom this product category is highly involving.This suggests that
consumers with smaller consideration sets of highly involving products
would also exhibit higher brand commitment.This view, however, is also
rather simplistic, relying on the size of the consideration set rather than
the actual relationship between the constructs.
Involvement and loyalty are
In a later work, however, Traylor (1983) stated that brand commitment is
generally not directly related to product involvement, suggesting that it is
possible to consider cases where low brand commitment is coupled with high
product involvement and high brand commitment with low product
involvement.This is because involvement and loyalty are consumer-defined
phenomena, as opposed to product-defined.As a result, Traylor (1983)
believed that involvement and commitment can each be thought of as a
continuum along which consumers are distributed.Unfortunately, despite
some quantitative evidence, the small sample size and the composition of the
sample precluded Traylor from generalising any of his findings.
Figure 1. The sequential psych ological process of the relationships between
involvement, psychological commitment and behavioural loyalty: a simplified

Product involvement/brand
Surprisingly, few empirical investigations have been conducted in this area.
loyalty link
The complexity of the relationship between product involvement and brand
loyalty, coupled with the use of inappropriate measures, appears to have
obscured research.The present study seeks to empirically and conclusively
examine this relationship.Taking into consideration that the two constructs
are consumer-defined phenomena, this study will therefore develop the
necessary measures for a more in-depth insight into the product involvement/
brand loyalty link.
A brief review of product involvement
Product involvement involves an ongoing commitment on the part of the
consumer with regard to thoughts, feelings, and behavioural response to a
product category (Miller and Marks, 1996; Gordon et al., 1998). Product
involvement is independent of situational influences (Rodgers and
Schneider, 1993; Miller and Marks, 1996).Richins and Bloch (1986) note
that consumers with high product involvement would find the product(s)
interesting and this would occupy the consumers' thoughts without the
stimulus of an immediate purchase.Such interest in the product category
may arise from the consumer's perception that the product class meets
important values and goals.Product involvement, therefore, can be seen as:
``the intensity with which a product gestalt is embedded in and driven by the
consumers' value system'' (O'Cass and Muller, 1999, p.402).
Product involvement
Product involvement differs from purchase involvement.Purchase
involvement can be seen as the relevance of the purchasing activities to
the individual (Slama and Tashchian, 1985).On the other hand, product
involvement reflects the perceived relevance of the product category to
the individual on an ongoing basis.For example, an individual may be very
involved with a product category (e.g. cars) or a brand (e.g. Volvo) and yet
have a very low level of involvement with the purchase process because of
brand loyalty.Conversely, an individual may have a rather low level of
involvement with a product category (e.g. jeans), but a high level of purchase
involvement, possibly because of the desire to impress a friend or to save
money.This study is concerned with the construct of product involvement, a
more permanent and consumer-based construct.
Many researchers have discussed product involvement in a dichotomous
form when measuring the construct, despite the risk of oversimplification
that this may entail.Furthermore, terms such as high or low product
involvement are necessarily semantically inaccurate since products are not
inherently involving or un-involving.``Only consumers can be involved''
(Traylor and Joseph, 1984, p.66) and product involvement is essentially a
consumer response to the product: it is a consumer-defined concept as
opposed to product-defined (Martin, 1998).This suggests that a dichotomous
measure would be inadequate and that product involvement would be best
conceptualised based on consumer characteristics.
Empirical support for ten
According to earlier work by Kapferer and Laurent (1985b), different
involvement profiles
involvement profiles can, and should, be developed for each individual
consumer.Using cluster analysis, these authors found empirical support for
ten involvement profiles.The two profiles on the extreme ends were coined
``total involvement'' and ``minimal involvement'' while those in between
were labelled ``contrasted profiles'' (Kapferer and Laurent, 1985b).In a
``minimal involvement'' type of profile, consumers score lowest on all five
dimensions (see Table I), whereas a ``total involvement'' profile is that of
consumers who score highest on all dimensions.With ``contrasted profiles'',

Facets of
involvement (CIP) Description of facets
Interest The personal interest a person has in a product category, its
personal meaning or importance
Pleasure The hedonic value of the product, its ability to provide pleasure
and enjoyment
Sign The sign value of the product, the degree to which it expresses
the person's self
Risk importance The perceived importance of the potential negative
consequences associated with a poor choice of the product
Risk probability The perceived probability of making such a poor choice
Source: Kapferer and Laurent (1985b; 1993),
Table I. The consumer involvement profile scale: the five facets/antecedents of
there are some respondents who may score high on certain facets of
involvement while low on others.In an empirical study involving a
20-product survey of 1,568 observations, Kapferer and Laurent (1985b)
found that the ``minimal'' and ``total'' involvement types of profiles
represented only a total of 25 per cent of the sample, while the remaining
75 per cent presented ``contrasted profiles''.Based on this finding, they
argued that it is the subjective situation created by the interaction of facets
that leads to specific behavioural outcomes.The existence of these
``contrasted profiles'' suggests that involvement does not lie along a
continuum but rather that varying profiles of involvement exist along
this continuum.
Five dimensions of
The conditions associated with involvement generally involve perceived risk
(financial, physical, psycho-social, or time-generated risk), the expression of
one's own personality or mood (usually referred to as value-expressiveness
or self-concept), the perceived importance and the hedonic value of the
stimulus or object (McWilliam, 1997).Accordingly, involvement should be
examined as a multi-dimensional construct since a single dimension would
seem insufficient to capture the richness of the concept.For example,
``perceived importance'' of a product alone does not capture the full meaning
of involvement.An understanding of the sources of involvement is also
important to provide a dynamic picture of the consumer's subjective
situation.This supports the notion of the CIP advocated by Kapferer and
Laurent, 1985b) who suggested that involvement should be analysed along
its five dimensions (or facets) in order to better explain the nature of the
relationship between a consumer and a product category.Table I lists the
five dimensions of involvement as used in the CIP
Overall involvement profile
All facets of the involvement profiles must be considered simultaneously
because different facets have different influences on selected aspects of
consumer behaviour.Depending on these five dimensions, consequences on
consumer behaviour, such as time spent on information search, the number
of brands examined and the attention paid to advertising messages, may
differ across individuals with respect to different product categories.Besides
allowing a clear specification of the nature of involvement, Kapferer and
Laurent, 1985b) argue that the full profile of the dimensions (see Table I)
also allows a prediction of the consequences of involvement.The five
dimensions can be combined to form an overall involvement profile
applicable to any product class.

A brief review of brand loyalty
Two approaches to the
One of the brand assets at the source of value (Aaker, 1992), brand loyalty
construct of brand loyalty
implies both a consistent pattern of purchase of a specific brand over time
and a favourable attitude towards a brand.Brand loyalty develops when the
brand fits the personality or self-image of the consumer or when the brand
offers gratifying and unique benefits that the consumer seeks.In both
instances, personal attachment develops towards the brand.The literature
shows two alternative approaches to the construct of brand loyalty.The first
one is concerned with ``a consistent purchase behaviour of a specific brand
over time''.This is a behavioural approach to brand loyalty and has been
widely used to define the construct.The second one relies on ``a favourable
attitude towards a brand''.
The defining element in the behavioural approach to brand loyalty is the
consumer's overt purchase behaviour (Dekimpe et al., 1997). Brand loyalty
is thus very often inferred from, and defined with, the repeat purchase
behaviour of a particular brand.Table II shows several examples of the
behavioural or operational definitions used by researchers to describe the
Behavioural data refer to
According to VonRiesen et al. (1999), researchers are still using these
consumers' actual purchase
behavioural definitions.Several arguments have been put forth to support the
use of behavioural measures.These include that behaviour is observable,
hence easier to measure (Dekimpe et al., 1997).For example, one can easily
observe and measure the number of repeat purchases made of brand X during
a specified period of time.Behavioural data are also less costly to collect
than attitudinal data, especially in extended longitudinal studies of brand
loyalty (Dekimpe et al., 1997).Furthermore, behavioural data refer to
consumers' actual purchase behaviour and are thus useful as a benchmark for
forecasting purposes or as a test of validity to any other measures in an
empirical research.
However, the behavioural approach to brand loyalty may present an over-
simplistic view of the construct.Behavioural definitions are insufficient to
explain how and why brand loyalty is developed and modified in consumers
(Dick and Basu, 1994).There may be various reasons why consumers
repeatedly purchase a specific brand in a product category.One possible
reason is that repeat purchase involves less effort and simplifies the
decision-making process.This, however, reflects only the convenience
inherent in the repetitive and habitual behaviour rather than any real
Author and source Behavioural/operational definitions
Kuehn (1962), p.12 Brand loyalty can be viewed as, at least in part, a
function of the frequency and regularity with which a
brand has been selected in the past
Tucker (1964), p.32 Brand loyalty is a biased choice behaviour with respect
to branded merchandise
LeClerc and Little
The number of brands purchased in the previous year
(1997), p.478
as a (negative) indicator of loyalty
Cunningham (1956),
Single-brand loyalty is the proportion of total
purchases represented by the largest single brand used
Dual-brand loyalty is the proportion of total purchases
represented by the two largest single brands used
McConnell (1968), p.14;
Brand loyalty exists when a consumer selects the same
Farley (1964), p.10
brand for at least four successive trials.
Table II. Examples of the behavioural/operational definitions of brand loyalty

commitment to the brand purchased.``Habituals'', as termed by Knox
(1997), display only behavioural loyalty and are very likely to switch brands
if their routine purchase pattern is disrupted (e.g. in stock-out situations). For
``habituals'' and/or ``spurious loyals'', the brand is not closely tied to the
consumers' belief system, so they can be easily attracted by a competing
brand that offers a better deal, a coupon, or enhanced point-of-purchase
visibility through displays.Behavioural definitions, therefore, essentially fail
to distinguish between habitual or spurious loyalty and true (or intentional)
loyalty and it may be misleading to infer brand loyalty from merely overt
purchase behaviour.
``True'' brand loyalty
There is a need, therefore, to define the construct beyond operational
implies commitment
measures and to explore the construct in terms of its psychological dynamics
(Jacoby, 1971; Jacoby and Kyner, 1973; Dick and Basu, 1994).Hence,
``true'' brand loyalty implies a commitment to the specific brand and goes
beyond repetitive behaviour.Therefore, the psychological attachment or
commitment that a consumer has towards a specific brand should be
examined more closely to provide a comprehensive understanding of
brand loyalty.A richer understanding of brand loyalty in terms of its
attitudinal make-up would be very useful to marketers in selecting and
developing their target markets as well as in developing loyalty-building and
customer-retention strategies.
Knowledge of brand loyalty
Many researchers have evaluated brand loyalty as encompassing both
remains incomplete
behavioural and attitudinal components (Chaudhuri, 1995; Baldinger and
Rubinson, 1996; Park, 1996).Despite this, brand loyalty measurement has
not improved in recent years and the knowledge of brand loyalty still
remains incomplete (Chaudhuri, 1995; Baldinger and Rubinson, 1996).Most
attitudinal measures typically isolate only one dimension of attitude, that is,
the affective, cognitive or conative component.The need to incorporate all
three components of attitude was recognised and reflected in Jacoby and
Kyner's first conceptual definition of brand loyalty (Jacoby and Kyner,
1973) based on the premise that brand loyalty is more than just repeat
purchase behaviour.It encapsulates a deeper meaning of brand loyalty.The
conceptual definition is expressed by a set of six necessary and collectively
sufficient conditions.Accordingly, brand loyalty is:
(1) the biased (i.e. non-random), (2) behavioural response (i.e. purchase),
(3) expressed over time, (4) by some decision-making unit, (5) with respect to one
or more alternative brands out of a set of such brands, and (6) is a function of
psychological (decision-making, evaluative) processes (Jacoby and Kyner,
1973, p.2).
According to this conceptualisation, to exhibit brand loyalty implies a repeat
purchase behaviour that is based on cognitive, affective and conative
components of attitude (Jacoby, 1971).The literature suggests that a
consistency exists between the cognitive, affective and conative components
of attitude, meaning that a change in one attitudinal component tends to
produce related changes in the other components.Thus, in order to capture
the rich dynamics of brand loyalty, a comprehensive measure of the
construct would need to include all three components of attitude.
Nonetheless, a consideration of attitude strength in terms of the three
components alone is not sufficient.This argument is reflected in the fifth and
sixth conditions of Jacoby and Kyner's conceptual definition.In a purchase
decision, various brands are psychologically compared and evaluated on
certain internalised criteria and the outcome of this evaluation is that one or
more brands is/are selected (Jacoby and Chestnut, 1978).This strongly

suggests that attitude towards a brand should be considered in relative terms,
i.e. attitude towards a particular brand relative to other brands. This notion of
relative attitude is included by Dick and Basu (1994) in their conceptual
framework of customer loyalty.The authors use the term ``customer loyalty''
broadly to include brand loyalty (for frequently purchased packaged goods).
In their conceptual framework, Dick and Basu suggest that affective,
cognitive and conative components of attitude form the antecedents of
customer loyalty.The authors emphasise that an understanding of how the
causal antecedents (cognitive, affective and conative) are likely to impact on
a consumer's relative attitude-repeat patronage relationship would provide a
valuable insight into the underlying processes of the development of brand
Hence, Dick and Basu (1994) conceptualise loyalty as the strength of the
relationship between an individual's relative attitude towards a brand and
repeat patronage.These authors argue that relative attitude towards the brand
is considered because the consumer's relative appraisal and attitudinal
differentiation of available brands in a consideration set are likely to assume
greater significance.Consequently, relative attitude is argued to provide a
stronger indication of repeat patronage than the magnitude of attitudinal
strength determined in isolation.Long-term loyalty is more likely to be
maintained when both a strong and a favourable relative attitude towards a
particular brand and repeat patronage exist (Dick and Basu, 1994; Lim and
Razzaque, 1997).
Basis for development of a
In summary, an appropriate measure of brand loyalty appears to be lacking
brand loyalty measure
and the incorporation of relative attitude in the measurement of brand loyalty
is necessary to understand its underlying structure.Jacoby and Kyner's
(1973) conceptual definition of brand loyalty and the conceptual framework
for customer loyalty proposed by Dick and Basu (1994) should provide a
basis for the development of a brand loyalty measure.
Hypotheses and methodology
The review of the literature provided in the previous section highlighted that
high product involvement is tacitly considered a precondition to brand
loyalty.For product categories that are highly involving, Dick and Basu
(1994) suggest that consumers' (favourable) relative attitudes towards
specific offerings of a product are likely to contribute most to repeat
patronage and be less susceptible to situational influences.The literature
takes the view that product involvement and brand loyalty are positively
related and that high product involvement precedes the development of
brand loyalty.On the other hand, Traylor (1983) had argued that
combinations of inverse relationships, e.g. low product involvement and high
brand loyalty and vice versa, are also possible.Further empirical work needs
to be undertaken in this area and the general hypothesis for this study can be
stated as follows:
H1.Product involvement is positively associated with brand loyalty.
Dimensions of involvement
Studies examining the relationship between product involvement and brand
loyalty have tended to treat product involvement in a dichotomous manner.
A representation of product involvement as high or low, however, seems too
simplistic.If involvement is a multi-dimensional construct, it may be better
viewed in terms of an involvement profile.As previously noted, Kapferer
and Laurent (1985b) developed a CIP scale measuring involvement along
five dimensions/facets, namely, ``interest'', ``pleasure'', ``sign'', ``risk
importance'', and ``risk probability''.They demonstrated that different facets

of involvement have influence over certain aspects of consumer behaviour
such as information search.Some later studies (e.g.Jain and Srinivasan,
1990; Rodgers and Schneider, 1993) have found ``interest'' and ``pleasure''
items merging on one single factor.An involvement profile is argued to be
able to clearly explain the nature and the consequences of involvement.As
such, the general hypothesis (H1) will be examined according to each of
these dimensions of involvement.
H1a.Interest and pleasure are positively associated with brand loyalty.
H1b.Sign is positively associated with brand loyalty.
H1c.Risk probability is positively associated with brand loyalty.
H1d.Risk importance is positively associated with brand loyalty.
The first stage of the study involved the use of focus group discussions to
identify product categories our respondents would associate with either
``total'' or ``minimal'' involvement.The product categories had to be
highly relevant to students who were going to comprise the convenience
sample used in this study.In addition, our respondents should have
extensive familiarity and purchasing experience with those product
categories.A total of 13 male and 14 female second-year university
students participated in these qualitative discussions.Although
subjective, this enabled the researchers to ascertain whether the
products selected would fit the ``total'' and ``minimal'' involvement
categories sought.These discussions resulted in the selection of
sports shoes/sneakers to represent the ``total involvement'' product
category and ball-point pens to represent the ``minimal involvement''
product category.
All items adapted in study
A questionnaire was developed to measure the two constructs of interest in
were highly reliable
this study, using multi-item measures.As the study involved two products,
some sections of the questionnaire were duplicated for both products.
Following the recommendations by Stangor (1998), existing scales were
used as a basis for scale construction, as the reliability and validity of these
measures have already been established (see Table III).One new item was
also developed (item 13: I feel very attached to this particular brand over the
other brands) in order to capture its relative nature, as advocated by Dick and
Basu (1994).All items adapted in this study were highly reliable in the
original literature cited (coefficient alpha ranging between 0.63 and 0.90).
However, the reliability of these scales used in this study was also examined
prior to any further analysis.
The CIP scale of Kapferer and Laurent (1985b) was used to measure product
involvement in this study.The English translated version by Rodgers and
Schneider (1993) of the original French version of the CIP was used.The
current CIP scale comprises 16 Likert-type, five-point statements ranging
from totally disagree to totally agree.Only minor modifications were made
to the scale.
Scale encompassing the
Taking into consideration the conceptual definition proposed by Jacoby and
three components of
Kyner (1973) and Dick and Basu's (1994) argument for the importance of
relative attitude, the present research attempted to address the measurement
issue by developing a scale which encompassed the three components of
attitude (cognitive, affective and conative).Most of the items in this scale,
with the exception of item 13, were adapted from pre-existing scales
separately measuring each attitudinal component as well as from other
relevant measures.Based on the argument of relative attitude, the items in

Scale items
as in final
questionnaire Adapted from Original purpose of scale
Items 1 to 16
Rodgers and
To identify the involvement profile
(16 items)
of consumers using the consumer
involvement profile (CIP) where the
profile is inferred from observed
measurements on the five proposed
dimensions/facets of involvement
Brand loyalty Items 1, 3, 6,
Measure the cognitive resources
10, 12 (five
such as attention and concentration
that a person reports bringing to
bear on a recently completed
consumption-related choice activity
Items 4, 16
Beatty and
To measure the degree to which a
(two items)
Kahle (1988)
person expresses loyalty to a brand
of soft drink
Item 9 Lichtenstein et
To measure a consumer's general
al. (1990)
tendency to buy the same brands
over time rather than switching
around to try other brands
Item 14 (one
Raju (1980) To measure the degree to which a
person reports being loyal to what
he/she has been using rather than
trying something new and/or
Items 2, 8,
To measure the degree to which
11 (three
one likes some stimulus and
perceives it to be ``good''
Items 5, 7,
Mano and
To measure the degree of affect
15 (three
Oliver (1993)
(positive and negative) that one has
toward some specified stimulus
Table III. Adapted measuremen t scale items and related sources
the questionnaire were designed and worded in a manner to ask the
respondents to keep brand comparisons in mind.Item 13 was developed
based on the sixth condition of Jacoby and Kyner (1973), conceptual
definition, which states that brand loyalty is a function of psychological
processes.The final scale was made up of four items for the cognitive
component, five items for the conative component and seven items for the
affective component (see Appendix).
The questionnaire
The questionnaire was pre-tested by first submitting it to the scrutiny of five
experts (academics from the University of Adelaide), before being
administered to 23 third-year TAFE students, in a manner similar to that
intended for the final survey.Comments and feedback were then integrated
in the final questionnaire.The questionnaire included the duplication of all
the above scales for each of the two products selected for this study as
reflecting contrasting levels of involvement.The final questionnaire was
administered in two sessions to the targeted sample.Overall, 253 completed
questionnaires were collected and included in the subsequent analysis.We
tested the validity and reliability of each measurement scale before
proceeding to the testing of the hypotheses.As there were no statistical
differences between gender groups in the mean values of the key constructs
under scrutiny, and given the narrow age range of the sample population, the
data were analysed as one single set.

Principal component
We used factor analysis to determine the number of factors that would
analysis used
account for maximum variance in the data for use in subsequent multivariate
analysis.Principal component analysis was used, taking into account the full
variance in the data set.For the purpose of developing a good construct, an
orthogonal rotation method was applied to ensure independence of factors.
All items in the scales had factor loadings greater than 0.55 with the
exception of only one item, ``risk importance'', with a factor loading of
0.426 for sports shoes/sneakers. This, however, remains acceptable
according to Hair et al. (1995).The measures were then assessed for validity
and reliability following the scale construction method proposed by
Churchill (1979).The Cronbach's coefficient alpha was used to examine the
internal consistency; hence the reliability of the scales.
The factors for sports shoes/sneakers created via orthogonal rotation of 16
items showed that the ``interest'' and ``pleasure'' items merged on one single
factor, while distinct factors emerged for ``risk probability'', ``sign'' and two
out of three ``risk importance'' items.This merging of ``interest'' and
``pleasure'' on one factor in the case of sports shoes is consistent with
previous findings reported by Kapferer and Laurent (1985a), Jain and
Srinivasan (1990) and Rodgers and Schneider (1993).However, and
unexpectedly, similar results were not found in the case of ball-point pens
where ``sign'' and ``pleasure'' items loaded on factor 1.By contrast, ``risk
importance'' items loaded clearly on factor 2 and ``risk probability'' items
merged on factor 3 (note: for sports shoes/sneakers, the same items merged
on factor 2).``Interest'' items loaded separately on three factors.
Inconsistency with
Hence, the factor structures of involvement for sports shoes/sneakers and
previous research
ball-point pens showed distinct differences for factor 1.In particular, the
merging of ``sign'' and ``pleasure'', found here in relation to ball-point
pens, is clearly inconsistent with previous research.It appears that
respondents perceived ``interest'' and ``pleasure'' as being the same for
sports shoes/sneakers, while ``sign'' and ``pleasure'' were viewed as
being the same for ball-point pens.Hence, consumers' response to the
product is very likely to have resulted in the different facets merging on a
single factor.However, this finding could also be sample-specific and
may not replicate with another sample or with another ``minimal
involvement'' type of product category.The loading of ``interest'' items
on different factors for ball-point pens suggests, as expected, that
respondents do not attach too much personal interest in a product that is
low cost, ordinary and of an inconsequential nature.More unexpected was
the deletion of ``interest'' item 12 (``I am totally indifferent to ...'') from
the scale in the case of pens.The deletion of this reversed-polarity item
provides some support for the argument that the use of such items results
in a degradation of scale dimensionality (Herche and Engelland, 1996).
In contrast with the involvement scale, the factor analyses undertaken for
both products showed that brand loyalty was a uni-dimensional construct
with high coefficient alphas.Despite a large body of literature arguing that
attitudes are multi-dimensional constructs made up of cognitive, affective
and conative components, the emergence of a single factor from our data
shows that respondents did not distinguish between the cognitive, affective
and conative components of the construct.However, although the factor
analysis yields a single dimension, an examination of the items in the scale
found that the measure represents more than just the affective component.
This single dimension in the scale can be labelled as ``relative attitude of

brand loyalty'' since the items were designed to capture attitude towards a
brand relative to other brands.
Need for hypotheses to be
Our main hypothesis (that product involvement is positively associated with
brand loyalty) examined whether product involvement influences brand
loyalty.Since the factor structures of involvement were found to be different
for both products, the hypotheses need to be re-stated to reflect this
difference (see Table IV).Table V summarises the results of the regression
The results show that the F-values for both products are statistically
significant (p < 0.05). For sports shoes/sneakers, the four independent
variables, taken together, explained 29.4 percent of the variance in brand
loyalty.For ball-point pens, the three independent variables, taken together,
explained 36.3 per cent of the variance in brand loyalty. So, while
involvement is clearly not the only determinant factor of brand loyalty, it
appears to play a significant role, regardless of the level of involvement
associated by consumers with the product category in question.
Only partial support for
An examination of the t-values shows that, with respect to sports shoes/
general hypothesis
sneakers, out of the four facets of involvement only ``interest and pleasure''
and ``sign'' contributed positively to the prediction of brand loyalty to the
product, while ``risk probability'' and ``risk importance'' did not (p < 0.05).
On the other hand, for ball-point pens, while ``sign and pleasure'' and ``risk
importance'' contributed positively to the prediction of brand loyalty in
Product A: sport shoes/sneakers Product B: ball-point pens
Ha(1).Interest and pleasure are positively
Ha(2).Sign and pleasure are positively
associated with brand loyalty
associated with brand loyalty
Hb(1).Sign is positively associated with
Hb(2).Risk probability is positively
brand loyalty
associated with brand loyalty
Hc(1).Risk probability is positively
Hc(2).Risk importance is positively
associated with brand loyalty
associated with brand loyalty
Hd(1).Risk importance is positively
associated with brand loyalty
Table IV. Restatement of hypotheses to reflect the differences in the facets of
involvement for sports shoes/sneakers (1) and ball-point pens (2)
variable Independent variable
Product A
Sports shoes/
Interest and
probability Sign
Standardised beta
coefficients 0.388
±0.081 0.312
t-value 5.640
±1.372 4.310
Note: adjusted R
= 0.294; F = 26.814
Product B
Ball-point pens Brand
Sign and
Standardised beta
coefficients 0.362
±0.138* 0.376*
t-value 5.032
Notes: adjusted R
= 0.363; F = 48.340
p < 0.05
Table V. Results of regression analysis for hypothesis testing

ball-point pens, ``risk probability'' had a negative and significant relationship
with brand loyalty (p < 0.05). Hence, the results provided support for Ha(1)
and Hb(1) for sports shoes/sneakers.However, Hc(1) and Hd(1) were
supported.Meanwhile, for ball-point pens, Ha(2) and Hc(2) were supported
while Hb(2) was not.In conclusion, therefore, there is only partial support
for our general hypothesis.
Managerial implications and applications
Our results lend some support to previous findings that a relationship exists
between product involvement and brand loyalty (LeClerc and Little, 1997;
Iwasaki and Havitz, 1998).Nevertheless, as argued by Iwasaki and Havitz
(1998), it does not show that the former construct precedes the latter.The
survey method used in this study cannot establish the temporal sequence of
the constructs.
As shown in Table V, ``risk probability'' and ``risk importance'' did not
contribute to the prediction of brand loyalty for sports shoes/sneakers.On
the contrary, the two ``risk'' facets, with different beta signs, contributed
significantly to the prediction of brand loyalty for ball-point pens
(p < 0.05). This finding is quite unexpected. Ball-point pens are typically
thought of as a ``minimal involvement'' type of product because they are
low in cost and inconsequential in nature.On the other hand, sports shoes/
sneakers are higher in cost and, generally, would involve a more complex
purchase decision-making process compared with ball-point pens.
Accordingly, it would be reasonable to assume that there would be more
risk involved in the purchase of sports shoes/sneakers in terms of both
perceived probability of mistake and negative consequences of making a
poor choice.However, this does not appear to be supported by our
findings.Instead, ``risk'' factors emerge only for ball-point pens.
Different dimensions of
One possible explanation may lie in the utilitarian nature of pens
brand loyalty
compared with the more symbolic character of sneakers.Hence, the only
reason to become loyal to a pen is the assurance that it will perform its
task, without leaking or failing to work in the middle of an examination,
for example.On the other hand, since sneakers tend to be used by our
sample for non-athletic reasons, the risk attached to their failure to
perform may be irrelevant, compared with the hedonic or sign value
aspects of the product.Based on our results, therefore, the marketing
manager of either of the two types of products included in this study
would be able to focus their positioning on different dimensions of brand
loyalty and would gain significantly from this understanding of the
underlying factors explaining it.For example, he/she might develop a
campaign for ``the pen that never lets you down'' or the sneakers ``to
enjoy life and have fun''.
Further evidence needed
Clearly, our results are limited by the nature of our sample and the choice of
products included in this study.However, given the direct relevance of the
products to the population sampled in this study, a certain amount of internal
validity can be claimed.Nonetheless, this study should be replicated with a
more representative sample and several other product categories in order to
provide further evidence of the complex nature of the product involvement/
brand loyalty link.
Although the nature of the product characteristics may allow the
researcher to think in terms of a ``total'' or ``minimal'' involvement type
of product category, our results show that consumers' perceptions can
differ with respect to different products and that the same facets of

involvement do not necessarily contribute in the same manner to explain
brand loyalty towards different products.As previously argued, some
consumers may also attribute high scores to some facets and low to other
facets with respect to different products.Overall, our results indicate that
assuming or oversimplifying the link between product involvement and
brand loyalty in a dichotomous manner obscures much of the
understanding of the relationship.The implication is that a simple
relationship does not exist between product involvement and brand
loyalty; rather, different facets of the consumers' involvement have
different influences on brand loyalty.
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Appendix. A brand loyalty measure
Brand loyalty measure
The brand loyalty measure is a 16-item, seven-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = strongly
disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = slightly disagree, 4 = neither agree nor disagree, 5 = slightly agree,
6 = agree, 7 = strongly agree.The Table below segregates the items that intend to measure the
three components of an attitude.
The cognitive component: four items
Item no.Statement
3 I put in quite a great deal of effort when I made a decision about which
brand of _________ to buy among these brands
6 I always thought of this particular brand of ________ over the other
brand(s) when I considered buying a pair/one
10 I considered brand to be very important in choosing a _________
12 I paid a lot of attention to this particular brand of _______ over the other
The affective component: seven items
Item no.Statement
2 Over the last few months/years, I have always bought the same brand of
________ because I really liked the brand
5 I would be upset if I had to buy another brand of ________ if this
particular brand was not available
7 I was excited about getting this particular brand of ________ over the
other brand(s)
8 I would continue to buy the same brand of ________ because I like the
brand very much
11 I felt good about this particular brand of ________ over the other brand(s)
13 I felt very attached to this particular brand of _______ over the other
15 I was interested in this particular brand of ________ over the other
The conative/behavioural component: five items
Item no.Statement
1 It was very important for me to buy this particular brand of ________ over
(an)other brand(s)
4 Although another brand was on sale, I still bought this particular brand of
9 I always found myself consistently buying this particular brand of
_________ over the other brand(s)
14 Once I have decided on a particular brand of _________ over other
brands, I will stick by it
16 If this particular brand of __________ was not available at the store, I
would rather not buy at all if I have to choose another brand

Executive summary and implications for managers and
This summary has been
provided to allow managers
and executives a rapid
Being involved will not make someone loyal ± but it might help
appreciation of the content
Many of the constructs and theories in marketing and brand management
of this article. Those with a
derive from the observation of market behaviour and the common-sense
particular interest in the
interpretation of such behaviour. It is important for us to appreciate that
topic covered may then read
these common-sense assumptions often reflect something that is not, in
the article in toto to take
actual fact, the case.
advantage of the more
comprehensive description
Quester and Lim investigate one of these seemingly sensible assumptions ±
of the research undertaken
that involvement with a product is a necessary precondition for brand
and its results to get the full
loyalty. The theoretical assumption is that `` real'' brand loyalty (as opposed
benefit of the material
to ``spurious'' loyalty and habitual behaviour) requires a degree of
commitment from the consumer that implies a high degree of product
Involvement does not precede loyalty ± or does it?
The most significant finding from Quester and Lim's study is that product
involvement does not precede brand loyalty. There is a relationship between
the two constructs but we cannot assume that one comes before the other.
It could be argued that there is a distance between product involvement (as
opposed to brand involvement) and brand (as opposed to product) loyalty. A
given product may be important to us as consumers ± either for utilitarian
reasons or for reasons related to non-utilitarian constructs such as self-
esteem, self-image and social pressure. That this product is important should
not necessarily lead us to assume that a given brand becomes important or
that we will become loyal to that brand.
Equally, we may discover that relatively low levels of involvement in a given
product category do not preclude a considerable degree of brand loyalty.
The way in which consumers arrive at particular decisions and adopt
specific positions remains a very complex issue that resists being broken
down into a specific set of constructs, behaviours or attitudes.
Defining involvement
Quester and Lim give a great deal of attention to the concept of product
involvement. Not just to distinguish it from brand involvement but to explain
the elements that contribute to the idea. First, the authors pull away from the
idea of product involvement as a point on a continuum from ``no
involvement'' to `` very high involvement''. This is not to say that such a
continuum does not apply but to observe that at any point along the line we
are considering a multi-faceted construct rather than a single element of
consumer attitude. Product involvement does not always mean involvement
in the purchase but it does encompass a range of elements that Quester and
Lim describe (drawing on Kapferer and Laurent's consumer involvement
How much I am interested in the product, its personal meaning.
How much pleasure the product brings me.
How the product symbolises my self-concept.
How much of a disaster making the wrong choice will be for me.
How likely I am to make the wrong choice.

It is evident that none of these elements directly relates to the brand but we
can also see how the brand may provide a way for us to short-circuit the
decision-making process.
Product risk vs. brand risk
Quester and Lim discover that risk played a bigger part for their low
involvement product (ball-point pens) than it did for their high involvement
product (trainers). The interesting point about this discovery is that it relates
(or may well relate) to product performance considerations. Buyers of
trainers are more concerned about the image, pleasure and sign of the
product than about its performance characteristics. Under such
circumstances brand will tend to dominate choice since brand promotions
will focus on personal meaning, pleasure and self-concept more than on
functional or utilitarian considerations.
We can see that risks related to product purchase (e.g. it might not work) are
of a different order from risks associated with brand choice (e.g. it might
look unfashionable). As a result our marketing efforts need to distinguish
between the elements of involvement that are more significant. This
reinforces Quester and Lim's assertion that product involvement is not a
single construct but a complex multi-faceted concept. It is not enough to
know that consumers are (or are not) highly involved with the product; we
also need to know the antecedents of that involvement.
Related to the multi-dimensional nature of product involvement is the idea
that products fulfil different functions for the consumer ± not just in prosaic,
utilitarian terms but in terms of self-image and self-perception. It may be
overstating the case to say that we are what we have but consumers do use
their purchases to communicate to those around them what type of person
they are.
Loyalty is very important to marketers because it provides the basis for
future profits. However, the more we examine the antecedents and
dimensions of brand loyalty, the more difficult it becomes for us to direct our
marketing towards securing that loyalty. We know that, in behavioural terms,
consumers are often loyal to a particular brand (or set of brands) but we
struggle to break down the elements of that loyalty in a way that assists us in
our marketing planning and implementation.
There will remain a debate between marketers and marketing researchers
about whether to take a `` shallow'' view of loyalty (through analysis of
consumer behaviour) or else to seek a `` deeper'' understanding through
consideration of consumer psychology. It strikes me that both approaches
have merit and are suited to different applications. The deeper definitions
and assessments of loyalty inform the process of brand positioning and
message development, whereas the shallow measures are ideal when we
consider segmentation and targeting. After all, it is pretty difficult to segment
consumers on the basis of what they might be thinking!
(A preÂcis of the article ``Product involvement/brand loyalty: is there a link?''
Supplied by Marketing Consultants for Emerald.)

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