The potential for each type of attribute to induce haloing is unclear. Although consumers believe that neither search nor experience attributes can help them evaluate credence attributes (Hoch and Deighton 1989), we consider the possibility that a halo effect occurs between experience and credence attributes.
Research findings from Wright and Lynch (1995) and Wirtz and Bateson (1995) certainly suggest that different types of attributes appear more or less susceptible to halo effects, with information about experience attributes dominating information about search attributes. Moreover, the research findings imply that processing of a particular attribute could occur at the expense of other types of attributes. Unfortunately, both of these investigations exclude information about credence attributes, and thus, we have incomplete information about the interrelationship among all three types of attribute beliefs. We speculate, however, that experience attributes attract more attention and selective processing compared to search and credence attributes when information about all three types of attributes is presented concurrently during product trial.
Branded products have been shown to be perceived as higher in quality than unbranded products (Cunningham, Hardy, and Imperia 1982). However, the “equity effect” need not equally influence consumers’ perceptions of search, experience, and credence claims before they experience the product. In the case of search attributes (such as color or ingredient content), consumers are able to inspect the product and draw inferences about the attribute before actually purchasing the product, and consumers are least skeptical of search claims (Ford et al. 1990). Theory of information diagnosticity and ambiguity (Hoch and Ha 1986) posits that search attributes are relatively unambiguous, and hence consumers are most likely to revise their cognitive framework that national-brand products are superior to generic products while evaluating search attributes. Smith and Park (1992) also note that for search attributes consumers can obtain useful information about quality through visual inspection and thus the importance of inferences based on a known brand name is reduced. National-brand products therefore would not gain any advantage over otherwise equivalent generic products from easily verifiable search attribute claims.
Please refer to other articles by Gurumurthy Kalyanaram, NYIT, former professor and Dean on his website: www.gurumurthykalyanaram.com/invited-talks-during-nyit.html