Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

The Tipping Point of Design: How Product Design and Brands Interact to Affect Consumer's Preferences

Wentzel, Daniel
Herrmann, Andreas
Volume: 29
Number: 6
Pages: 422 - 433
Month: June
ISSN-Print: 0742-6046
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2012

Existing research on product design has demonstrated the importance of aesthetics in generating favorable consumer responses. However, the literature has only recently begun to explore if and to what extent the impact of product design is influenced by brand strength. Whereas some research indicates that strong brands may benefit less strongly from aesthetically attractive designs, other research suggests that attractive designs are more persuasive when they are paired with a strong brand. In this research, these two competing predictions were tested through three studies with German car buyers. In Study 1, participants were exposed to a fictitious car that was paired with a randomly chosen brand name. In Study 2, participants were presented with a set of existing cars and were asked to choose one. Both studies yield converging evidence and show that product design and brands interact in a positive fashion, suggesting that attractive designs exert a greater influence on consumers’ decision processes when they are accompanied by a strong brand. Study 3 extended these findings by demonstrating that strong brands only increase the impact of attractive designs when perceived risk is high but not when it is low.