With the growth of online shopping, a new era of market communication is administered. Internet as a combined communication- and sales-channel has blurred the borders between persuasive communications to activate goals (i.e., abstract messages that are traditionally communicated via advertisements, commercials and billboards) and concrete recommendations to activate choices (i.e., concrete messages that are traditionally communicated by promotions on the shop floor). The blurring borders between abstract persuasive communications and concrete recommendations call for new research to gain insight in the interplay between abstract and concrete product messages. In the first essay we investigate the differential impact of abstract benefit messages and concrete product examples on goal activation and choice behavior. In the second essay we further unravel the cognitive structure in consumers’ minds that underlies the behavior we observed in essay 1. In essay 3 we broaden the applicability of our findings, by investigating the impact of abstract benefit messages versus concrete product messages on consumer behavior outside the focal product category mentioned in the messages. Our findings are based on consumer data gathered in lab-experiments and from a panel survey. All of our essays discuss applications to health related products. In summary, this dissertation shows some interesting theoretical findings about the relative impact of abstract versus concrete product messages. It is also of particular interest to commercial companies and public policy makers, because it provides suggestions on how to steer consumer decision-making processes with product messages to promote healthier consumer choices.

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Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Prof.dr. G. Häubl, Prof.dr. Ph.H.B.F. Franses, Prof.dr. S.M.J. van Osselaer
B.G.C. Dellaert (Benedict)
Erasmus University Rotterdam , Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Ginkel Bieshaar, M. (2012, March 20). The Impact of Abstract versus Concrete Product Communications on Consumer Decision-making Processes (No. EPS-2012-256-MKT). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/31913