The focus of this paper is to investigate cognitive development of brand heuristics in the mind of a young consumer as the consumer matures. This issue was examined by comparing the nature of the set of associations (that form the brand heuristic) given by consumers across four different age groups, with each age group representing a distinct stage of cognitive maturity. It is found that there are fundamental differences in the way the different age groups perceive the brand. The research method uses the novel approach of classifying the elicited associations into the three types of brand associations: attributes, benefits and attitudes. This classification enables comparisons of the nature of brand associations and the changes that occur as a consumer matures. To conclude, implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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