Journal of Marketing Behavior > Vol 4 > Issue 2-4

How Consumption Vocabulary Directs Product Discussions: The Guiding Influence of Feature Labels on Consumers' Communication and Learning about Products in Online Communities

Philipp Scharfenberger, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Jan R. Landwehr, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, Claire I. Tsai, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada, Jenny L. Zimmermann, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Andreas Herrmann, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Ann L. McGill, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, USA
 
Suggested Citation
Philipp Scharfenberger, Jan R. Landwehr, Claire I. Tsai, Jenny L. Zimmermann, Andreas Herrmann and Ann L. McGill (2020), "How Consumption Vocabulary Directs Product Discussions: The Guiding Influence of Feature Labels on Consumers' Communication and Learning about Products in Online Communities", Journal of Marketing Behavior: Vol. 4: No. 2-4, pp 173-202. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/107.00000070

Publication Date: 21 Dec 2020
© 2020 P. Scharfenberger et al.
 
Subjects
Information Systems and Individuals: Knowledge management,  Information Systems and Groups: Communication media,  Information Systems and Groups: Social Media,  Information Systems and Groups: Virtual Communities,  Information Systems and Society: Internet,  Marketing Information Systems,  New Product Diffusion,  Sales Promotion,  Marketing Research,  Consumer Behavior,  Psychology,  Knowledge, innovation, and technology,  Automotive Industries,  Marketing/Manufacturing Interfaces,  Media and Entertainment
 

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In this article:
Literature Review and Hypotheses 
Field Experiment 
Results I: General Discussion Characteristics 
Results II: Effects of Design Feature Labeling on Communication about Design 
Results III: Effects of Design Feature Labeling on Communication about Technology 
Results IV: Analysis of Recall Behavior after Forum Participation 
Results V: Analysis of Self-Reported Measures after Forum Participation 
Discussion 
Appendix I: Utilized Scales and Control Measures 
References 

Abstract

Marketing research has long recognized the relevance of consumption vocabulary to consumers' individual perception and preference formation. Little research, however, has investigated how such vocabulary might guide interpersonal product discussions and, hence, the diffusion of information. This paper reports a longitudinal field experiment in which we arranged 40 online discussion groups about a concept car that each lasted three weeks. We show that providing a specific vocabulary for certain product features encourages communication about those features, yet lessens communication about other product aspects during discussions. Consequently, the vocabulary also affects which product features are recalled after discussions. Our results support the notion that these effects of vocabulary are not consciously reflected upon and arise mainly from consumers' increased ability to verbally refer to features as opposed to increased feature salience.

DOI:10.1561/107.00000070