Success of new products isn’t defined only in terms of utilitarian benefits and performances, but in terms of emotions and feelings they generate in the consumer (Bagozzi, Gopinath, & Nyer, 1999). Understanding and shaping the consumer experience is a challenging undertaking, given the wide variety of experiences that individuals can encounter while interacting with new products. Traditional subjective methods of evaluating consumer experience, such as surveys, are not sufficiently informative. These methods, indeed, rely on cognitive techniques to appraise emotions, thus reflecting conscious and cognitively elaborated emotions but not unconscious feelings. Research, however, acknowledged that most emotions that determine thought and behaviour occur without awareness (Smith & Lane 2016; Zaltman 1997). This paper employs physiological measures to investigate the emotional responses of consumers toward new products, analysing if and in which extent these measures correlate with subjective measures, traditionally adopted in marketing research. We performed our empirical research through two studies: a first study investigated consumer’s responses toward a functional product (a body scale) satisfying mainly utilitarian needs. A second study evaluates consumer’s response toward an hedonic product (an MP3 player), conceived for entertainment purposes. The two studies help us to rule out the potential effect of product nature, following prior research arguing it may cause observable differences in emotional responses (Batra & Ahtola 1991; Kempf & Smith 1998). We conducted two laboratory experiments on the same experimental base composed by 21 subjects. In study 1 participants browsed an ad-hoc webpage displaying information and pictures about the functional product. In study 2 subjects browsed an ad-hoc webpage showing information and pictures of the hedonic product. Physiological signals were collected during the whole experiments. Specifically, we collected data regarding the subjects’ cardiac activity, respiratory activity and electrodermal activity using a unique device (ProComp Infiniti System) to assess the subject’s level of arousal. Further, we collected data regarding the subjects’ cerebral activity using electroencephalography from which we calculated a pleasantness index and an attention index. In addition, self-reported emotional responses of arousal, pleasure and situational involvement/attention were collected through a questionnaire, using validated scales (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974). Preliminary data analysis confirmed that product nature manipulation (Kempf 1999) was successful and the validity and reliability of the subjective scales adopted. For each study, we performed correlation analysis among physiological responses, among self-reported responses and between self-reported and physiological responses of arousal, pleasure and situational involvement. Results show that both functional and hedonic products may generate emotional responses in consumers, as no significant difference was found in the product emotional reactions between Study 1 and Study 2. Findings show that when a consumer is exposed to a functional product, the physiological emotional responses are disassociated from the self-reported ones. For the hedonic product, instead, self-reported arousal significantly correlates with physiological arousal measured through the combined effect of cardiac and respiratory activity (PSDc/r). However, no correlation are found between self-reported and physiological pleasure and involvement. Our study contributes to new product development and marketing research by showing that traditional instruments, such as surveys, and physiological analyses provide different information about the feelings and emotions generated by new products. Further, our findings suggest that functional products may be able to generate emotions in the same extend as hedonic products do, contrary to what prior research inferred. This result suggests the use of emotional communication to promote the introduction of new products, regardless their mainly functional or hedonic nature. Thus, we suggest innovation managers and marketers should adopt physiological methods in combination with self- reported ones to properly assess the experience evoked by their products earlier along the new product development process. Further, they may use insights from these methods to sustain product launch and further marketing communication.
|Titolo:||Assessing consumer emotions toward new products: application of physiological and self-reported methods|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||04.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno|
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