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Abstract

Combining theories of the goal-derived product evaluation and holistic versus analytic thinking style, the authors investigate the effects of adding novel attributes on new product evaluation. While one may predict that adding novel attributes may be appealing to consumers as it provides new benefits, the authors propose that, in some cases, it may not. The current research investigates consumers’ view of new attribute addition depends on the novel attribute’s goal congruence with the consumption goals of the base product, which may be hedonic or utilitarian in nature. Further, consumers’ holistic versus analytic thinking style moderates the effect of such goal congruence. Study 1 examines the asymmetric evaluation towards new products when a goal-incongruent (vs.congruent) attribute is added to either a hedonic or a utilitarian base product. When the base product is hedonic (vs. utilitarian) by nature, consumers show lower evaluations for new products with the addition of goal-incongruent (utilitarian) attributes compared with the addition of goal-congruent (hedonic) attributes. Study 2 examines the moderating role of thinking style. The results indicate that in promoting products with novel goal-incongruent (vs. congruent) attributes, using a holistic thinking style effectively increases product evaluations compared with using an analytic thinking style. Study 3 replicates studies 1 and 2 to prove the generalizability of the effects by using different stimuli. These findings have implications for new product positioning and promotion strategies.

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