Inspiring awe in consumers: Relevance, triggers, and consequences

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Abstract

Six methodologically diverse studies addressed three fundamental questions about awe in consumers. First, to what extent is awe a relevant emotion in consumer experiences of products? A pilot study examined contents of tweets containing “awe” and showed that it was frequently used in people's voluntary expressions. Study 1 showed that products could elicit awe among a significant portion of consumers. Second, what kind of product triggers awe in consumers? Study 2 determined that descriptions of awe-inspiring products typically featured four dimensions: timelessness, accommodation, beauty, and vastness. Studies 3 and 4 showed that only timelessness and accommodation could differentiate awe from admiration (Study 3) and love (Study 4) whereas beauty and vastness were not as important. The third question relates to the consequences produced by awe-inspiring products. Study 3 showed that awe comprised a blend of positive and negative emotions. Studies 3 to 5 showed that awe not only made products more memorable but also enhanced consumers’ intentions to spread positive word-of-mouth publicity and to purchase the product. These findings shed light on the folk understanding and expression of this emotion and establish key landmarks in the hitherto uncharted consumer research domain of awe.

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