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Many new products (e.g., PDA phones) share features with multiple categories, but are also substantially different from each of these categories. When consumers encounter such a product, they may create a new subcategory (e.g., smart phones) to accommodate it. In such situations, consumers must decide where within the category structure to position the new subcategory (e.g., under the PDA category or under the phone category). The authors develop a spreading activation model that the authors call the Category Activation Model (CAM) to predict where within a category structure consumers are likely to position a subcategory that they have created to accommodate a new, hybrid product.
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