open to ideas: A sensory approach to brand confusion

Jean-Charles Chebat and colleagues have explored the idea of brand confusion with a smart piece of research.

This paper, published in the Journal of Brand Strategy, Spring 2015-2016, have explored how advertising can increase or minimise confusion amongst brands - a topic of interest to brand owners at risk of counterfeiters.

With some neat experimentation on sunglasses branding, using both auditory and visual cues in different media, they show how television results in less brand confusion than either print or radio and how various moderating effects operate. The results are discussed within the framework of Cognitive Load Theory and memory subsystems.

This is a limited piece of research and, as the authors suggest, needs to be replicated and extended to other product types, audiences and non-traditional media. Nevertheless, it is a research area that suggests some immediate, practical applications in developing advertising.

Recommended reading for anyone open to thinking creatively about advertising effectiveness.


This post is the latest in our 'opento ideas' series where we point readers to fascinating ideas beyond mainstream marketing.

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