Research in consumer psychology suggests that there is limited room for acclaimed producers or brands to experiment with the aesthetic appearance and design of their products. This premise is rooted in consumers’ preference for aesthetic congruity and the cognitive difficulty associated with evaluating incongruent offerings. Yet examples of successful artists whose work clearly defies the imperative of congruity do exist. Although these artists are the exception rather than the rule, their success suggests that under certain conditions the audience may tolerate incongruity. The effects of the type of audience and the status of the artist on consumer valuations of aesthetically congruent and incongruent artworks were analyzed in a large within-subjects experiment. The results show that congruity weighs more heavily for core consumers than for casual consumers, regardless of the status of the artist. Mediation analyses reveal that dislike (affective factor) and difficulty of evaluation (cognitive factor) fully explain the negative effects of incongruity on consumer judgments of aesthetic value, monetary value, and creativity. The positive effects of status are only partially mediated by liking and ease of evaluation. The article concludes with the implications of these findings for psychology and marketing, and specifically for “marketing the arts”. Link to the article
ALTHUIZEN, N. and SGOUREV, S. (2014). Pièces de Résistance? Core and Casual Consumers’ Valuations of Aesthetically Incongruent Artworks. Psychology and Marketing, 31(8), pp. 604-614.
Keywords : #consumer-psychology