Thursday, November 27, 2008

Construal Theory and Cleaning Vinegar

The Heinz All-Natural Cleaning Vinegar may have been a product somewhat ahead of its time. Today’s mainstream world is more “green” aware than in the late 80s and early 90s. Haig (2003, p 34) says that the cleaning vinegar moved Heinz away from its core identity. Until then it had manufactured only food products.

He goes on, though, to propose that it was not marketed properly. Heinz pushed it to the mass market and Haig contends at that time it was a niche product. Heinz might have been successful if they had distributed it only through health store chains initially. Haig's rule for this is “Adopt a niche strategy for a niche product.”

In their study published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Kim and John (2003, p 1) found that the importance of perceived fit in a brand extension is moderated by “construal level.” Construal theory proposes that we interpret activities in the environment either as “abstract and generalized features (high-level construals) or in terms of concrete and contextualized features (low-level construals).”

Their studies indicate that perceived fit for a brand extension was important to people with a higher-level construal of a subject while to folks who think concretely about the subject it was not so important. This might explain what happened to Heinz. Most people abstracted them to the food product category. The greens back then may have been better audience to introduce the product. They were used to thinking outside the box and looking concretely at a product’s ingredients.

Haig, Matt (May 2003) Big Brand Ball-ups. Brand Strategy. Retrieved on November 27, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Kim, Hakkyun and John, Deborah Roedder (April 2008). Consumer response to brand extensions: Construal level as a moderator of the importance of perceived fit. Journal of Consumer Psychology. Retrieved on November 27, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

No comments: