Making sense of numbers: Effects of alphanumeric brands on consumer inference
Introduction: Summary and Implications
Yan, Dengfeng and Rod Duclos’ article entitled Making sense of numbers: Effects of alphanumeric brands on consumer inference proposes that alphanumeric brand names act as an important anchor that affects consumers’ assessment of a product’s price, weight, and volume. The authors prove that numeric component of a product name helps consumers in making judgment at an instant rather than earlier or later. On the same note, they hypothesize that most of the consumers have a tendency of evaluating products superficially rather than systematically, making numerical component of the products a tool for marketing.
This article alludes to the fact that brand and product name plays an important role in marketing a product or service, a trend that has greatly increased in the last two decades. Presently, a paradigm is seen in the use of alphabetical numerical in branding in order to influence sales. Brands are given numerical value in order to differentiate them from others as well as market its potential. The authors conduct different experiments in order to find out the real effects of using alphanumerical brand names in products. Experiment 1 seeks to make a demonstration that most consumers rely on the alphanumerical brand names in order to compare and contrast product attributes. In this experiment, 127 university undergraduates were used as respondents in order to differentiate different attributes of Airbus A330 vs. Boeing B767. When the respondents were asked on the meaning of the alphanumerical in the two aircrafts, 55% associated the same to the number of seats while the rest attributed the same to other components like engine model and length of the aircraft. An analysis of variance revealed that participants did believe that most of the respondents believed that Boeing B767 (M=463) has more seats than the Airbus A330 (M=395; t (143)=2.24; pb.05), something proves the hypothesis above (180).
Experiment 2 entailed the use of a hypothetical product in order to avoid getting responses out of prior knowledge or experience. The study was administered in Hong Kong, where two brands of Mp3 players were named M-200 and M-900. Respondents were asked whether these numbers were relevant to the price or other attributes like battery life or storage capacity. Consistent with authors’ hypothesis, participants perceived these two numbers as more relevant to price (M=5.50) than to battery life (M=3.00; t (31) =7.19, pb.001) or to storage capacity (M=2.97; t (31) =7.34, pb.001), thereby satisfying our first boundary condition (183).
This article presents experiments proving the use of alphanumerical as a modern concept that drive consumers towards judging different products. It is clear that manufacturers have discovered the use of such numbers in various products as a way of differentiating them, the consumer being at the center of everything. It is an important article because it brings into light the consumer decision-making pattern with respect to alphanumerical numbers of different products. There are serious implications brought by this research, both to the brand developers and consumers. This article proves that the use of alphanumerical brand name helps in consumer memory and product evaluation; moreover, consumers also stand to start developing certain knowledge on different products in the market as indicated by brand names.
Critique/Opinion and Implications
The authors have developed an important argument that needs serious consideration in the present times. There is need to develop mechanisms where consumers can easily identify different products in the market. The use of alphanumerical is an important step that, as this article indicates, helps in informing consumers of the different products that exist in the market. On the same note, a certain brand name may play a major role in terms of marketing, depending on the performance in the market. This forms a point at which consumers can start making inferences on the quality and performance of the product.
However, serious concerns are raised by the use of alphanumerical brand names. For instance, many consumers associate higher brand numbers to high quality or configuration, something that may not be true. In the article, most of the respondents associated the brand number with something; either price or the something else. Can this conclusion be taken as the truth on all items? Maybe note. This means that consumers are likely to fall prey to brand developers who simply use alphanumerical brand numbers without giving clear product definitions. This means that other than the brand name, there is need for the manufacturers and brand developers to display the correct specifications of a product in order to influence customers’ choices.
Therefore, there is need for more research on this topic because the choice of different products by consumers differ, meaning that the alphanumerical brand name may only influence the choice of certain products and not others. More research should help create distinct boundaries, clearly indicating effects of alphanumerical brands on different products. The implication of this research comes from the need to put the required perspective in terms of the use of numbers in the alphanumerical brand names. As much as manufacturers have the right to make profit through manipulation, consumers have the right to a marketing strategy that helps them make informed choices before making any purchases.
Yan, Dengfeng and Rod Duclos. Making sense of numbers: Effects of alphanumeric brands on
consumer inference, International Journal of Research in Marketing 30 (2013) 179–184.