Consumer metaphoria: Uncovering the automaticity of animal, product/brand, and country meanings
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Consumers automatically associate animals and experiences with certain brands and products. The capability of surfacing the “automaticity of being” (Bargh & Chartrand, 2000) using metaphoric research tools provides a paradox—consumers tell researchers deeply held beliefs about the consequences of associating brands and products with scant editing of their thoughts; consumers may tell more about themselves through metaphors than they would otherwise be willing to share. The study here is a primer on this indirect approach for collecting consumers’ conscious and nonconscious thoughts about countries, brands, and industries. Using zoomorphic forced metaphor-elicitation, long interviews of eight Indian consumers uncover insights about their feelings about products from China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The findings demonstrate collecting rich data using metaphors offers new perspectives on how consumers view foreign products. Findings show mental processes in which consumers trust brands even if they are manufactured abroad. When brands are not identified, well-known industries associated with individual countries influence product choices. These findings suggest gestalt brand and country images explain aspects of consumer attitudes about foreign products.
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