This article proposes a model of judgment revision, which posits that counterattitudinal challenges to a brand initially trigger a memory search for proattitudinal information about this brand. The proattitudinal information accessible from memory is then aligned with information contained in the challenge in order to assess the diagnosticity of the challenge, that is, how much it "damages" the retrieved brand information. If the challenge is not perceived to be diagnostic, the retrieved brand information is used to defend the previous attitudinal position. If the challenge is perceived to be diagnostic, judgments are revised in direct proportion to the amount of damage identified in the alignment phase. Four experiments test the model's predictions about the influence of abstract versus attribute-specific brand positioning on judgment revision. Consistent with the model's predictions, results show that, compared to attribute-specific positioning, abstract positioning will result in lesser judgment revision when the challenge is specific (e.g., a direct attack about particular attributes of the brand) and the initial brand evaluation is based on limited learning of the positioning information. When the challenge is general (e.g., a blanket, unspecific negative statement about the brand), abstract positioning will result in greater judgment revision than attribute-specific positioning. The differential effectiveness of abstract vs. attribute-specific positioning is mediated by (a) the accessibility in memory of the positioning information at the time of the challenge and (b) the perceived diagnosticity of the challenge after alignment with the retrieved brand information.
Pham, Michel Tuan, and A. Muthukirishnan. "Search and Alignment in Judgment Revision: Implications for Brand Positioning." Journal of Marketing Research 39, no. 1 (February 2002): 18-30.
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