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Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science Attitude And Brand Loyalty: A Longitudinal Study Of Multiattribute Attitude Models And Intervening Variables
Clint B. Tankersley Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 1977; 5; 249 DOI: 10.1177/009207037700500210 The online version of this article can be found at:

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Attitude And Brand Loyalty: A Longitudinal Study Of Multiattribute Attitude Models And Intervening Variables
Clint B.

Tankersley, Ph.D.

Syracuse University



Although the concept of brand loyalty has been an area of continual research in behavior, the value of the concept in developing marketing strategies has

less than

been minimal. Reviews of this work have found that the results of past studies were encouraging. Frank ( 1967), in studying the relevance of brand loyalty for

developing a program of segmentation, concluded that more research was needed

understand the process underlying brand-loyal behavior. Engel, et. al. ( 1973) reviewed most of the past work and concluded that most of the studies were inconsistent, equivocal and inconclusive and added little to our knowledge of consumer behavior. One reason for this has been the concentration on brand-loyal behavior and the development of operational definitions based on ex post facto measures. The most frequently used definitions have involved either a sequence of brand purchases (Tucker, 1964) or a proportion-of-purchases (Cunningham, 1956) criteria. The major weakness of this approach is the focus on the results of the choice process rather than on factors affecting the process. Without knowing what factors affect brand loyalty it is extremely difficult to design marketing strategies that will aid in developing such loyalty. 249

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loyalty is now being considered as a multidimensional concept with several studies focusing on an attitudinal component. One of the leading proponents of an attitudinal approach to brand loyalty has been Jacob Jacoby (1971). Jacoby and Kyner (1973) attempted to differentiate between brand loyalty and repeat purchase behavior and develop a conceptual definition of brand loyalty. The purpose of this research is to study the association between attitude and brand-loyalty behavior. By utilizing attitude in studying brand loyalty it is hoped that greater understanding of the concept can be obtained. Attitude is represented by two expectancy value models which have received considerable attention within marketing circles, Fishbeins AB and BI models. This research compares these two models in a longitudinal field study of purchase behavior and analyzes their usefulness in better understanding the concept of brand loyalty.

Fishbein AB Model Fishbeins original attitude model assumes a clear separation between the affecting cognitive and conative elements with affect along regarded as attitude (Fishbein and Raven, 1962). Attitude therefore involves evaluation and represents a feeling of favorableness toward something. The remaining components are related to an individuals belief system. An individuals attitude toward an object may be predicted by knowing the persons beliefs about the object and his evaluation of those beliefs. The model can be presented algebraically as:


Ao = attitude toward some object &dquo;o&dquo; B1 = strength of belief i about object &dquo;o&dquo; (probability dimension)
aj = evaluative aspects of Bi

= number of beliefs

The attitude score (Ao) represents the affective component. Since Ao is generated by beliefs, the model accounts for the cognitive component as well. The conative (or motivationa!) component must be inferred from the model, presumably from the Ao score. Operationally, this is construed to suggest at least a monotonically-

consistent association between the individuals Ao score toward a brand and his behavioral intention toward that brand, i.e., his brand preference.

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Fishbein BI Model

Recently, Fishbein ( 1967) has developed a new model postulating that a persons behavior intention is a joint function of attitudes toward performing that behavior and of beliefs about what others ecpect him to do in that situation, weighted by his motivation to comply with those expectations. Algebraically, this is presented as:


behavior behavioral intention Aact = attitude toward the act or behavior NBi = normative beliefs MCi = motivation to comply with normative beliefs n = number of normative beliefs Wo and W = empirically determined weights



The model indicates that there are two major components that affect behavioral intention and thus behavior: ( 1 ) a personal or attitudinal factor, and (2) a social or normative factor. The weightings of these two components need to be empirically determined in that the relative importance of each depends on the behavior and individuals under study. The first component can be viewed as the individuals attitude toward performing the behavior being studied and is an adaptation of the AB model. The difference between the models is that the attitude under investigation is not an attitude toward an object but an attitude toward performing a behavioral act and its consequences. The second component consists of two elements. The first (NBi) is viewed as a normative belief (a belief of what others expect or say should be done in that behavioral situation). The second element (MCi) is the individuals motivation to comply with these expectations. If several norms exist, it becomes necessary to know an individuals degree of willingness to comply with each norm.

Effects of

Intervening Variables

Although some studies on the attitude/behavior relationship have concluded the attitudes are poor predictors of behavior (Wicker, 1969), many social psychologists
have found this conclusion untenable and suggest that situational variables effect the strength of the relationship (Ehrlich, 1969). The effect of situational variables which may mediate or intervene between attitudes and behavior has also been of interest to market researchers. Engel, et. al. (1973) in their model of consumer

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behavior present a list of variables intervening between preshopping intentions and postshopping outcomes. Howard and Sheth ( 1969) in their buying behavior model discuss several inhibitor variables that mediate between attitude and behavior and suggest that any study of behavior include these variables. Recently, Belk ( 1974) reported that situational effects greatly influenced purchase decisions. It is for these reasons that the effect of possible intervening variables on the attitude/behavior relationship was analyzed. Perhaps the addition of intervening variables will enhance the behavioral predictions of attitude. The objectives of this study are therefore: (1) to investigate the association between attitude and brand-loyal
* behavior;*


to compare two

attitude models associations




behavior; and (3) to analyze the effects of intervening variables

between attitude and

the association

brand-loyal behavior. *Brand loyalty was defined using the proporation-of-total purchases definition, providing a continuum from 0 to 1.0.


Subjects and Procedure

Due to the need for several attitude and purchase measures over time, it was believed that cooperation from individual subjects would be unattainable. Therefore, several womens organizations were contacted and asked to participate in a marketing study. Three organizations, totalling 125 members, agreed to participate. A monetary inducement was paid to each organization and, as an incentive for the individual, gift certificates were given to winners of a drawing of those completing the study. A total of 78 subjects completed all aspects of the study. Subjects were heterogeneous with respect to age, income, and education. Data were obtained through self-administered questionnaires. Attitude and purchase intention data were collected during the lost, 3rd, 5th, and 7th weeks, while actual purchase and intervening variable data were collected after each shopping

Selection of Products and

Intervening Variables

Due to the need for several



class in order selected








which products




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high purchase frequency. In addition, since part of the study involved a comparison of Fishbeins AB and BI models, products were selected which differed in their degree of social conspicuousness (do others notice what brand you use)?

One component of the BI model represents social norms and thus it would be expected that differences in social conspicuousness would effect the results of the BI model. A pretest of four products indicated that both products tended to be purchased on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. They are also socially conspicuous in that they are sometimes offered to individuals outside the immediate family (facial tissues were rated as being less conspicuous than soft drinks). Thus the products selected are purchased frequently and differ in their degree of social

conspicuousness. Since one objective of the study was to determine the effect of intervening variables on the attitude/brand-loyal behavior relationship, the selection of these variables is an important aspect of the research design. Within a marketing context, Howard and Sheth ( 1969) in their model of buyer behavior, place a major emphasis on the effect of variables intervening between attitudes and behavior. They view such inhibitors as being of two classes, either emanating from the buyers current environment or carried over from his past. The major inhibitors include price, availability, social influence, social class, culture and financial status. The
importance of these sets of variables depends upon the situation and individual under study. Those variables thought to be most important for this study, and on which data were collected, were price, availability and financial status. While social influence was also considered to be important, it is included in the BI model and is one of the major differences between the models and was already being measured.
Attitude Measures





obtain data for utilization with Fishbeins AB

and BI models. The salient product characteristics, expected consequences of the act of purchasing, and the reference groups associated with both products under study were obtained from a preliminary sample of 32 housewives and are presented in Table 1. A questionnaire was designed adapting these data for use with the usual Fishbein AB and B1 formats and validated with a different sample of 28 housewives. For the AB model, the belief dimension was measured by asking subjects to rate the

likelihood of each brand having each of the salient characteristics on likely-unlikely differential. The subjects then rated each characteristic bad continuum to obtain the evaluative dimension.

on a

six-point good-

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of Behavior and Reference

Objects for the Fishbein Models

For the BI model, behavioral intention was measured by asking subjects their intent to purchase the brands under study on a six-point likely-unlikely scale. To measure the social influence component, respondents rated how likely it was that each of the reference groups thought they should purchase the brand and how likely the respondent would do as each group expected. Normative beliefs were then multiplied by motiviation to comply and summated to obtain the social influence component. Attitude toward the act was measured by eliciting the likelihood that

the purchase of each of the brands would obtain the desired result and multiplying this by the evaluative consequences (good-bad) of this result. In each part of the questionnaire a blank marked Other was available to rate brands other than those specifically solicited. Regression analysis BMD02R (Dixon, 1971) was used to obtain the BI equation for each brand. Purchase Measures Besides attitude data, some measure of actual purchases was required. A purchase questionnaire was designed to obtain data on actual purchases and the intervening variables of price and availability (financial status data were obtained separately). Subjects were asked to rate each brand on a six-point continuum of relative price from lowest to highest priced and again on a continuum of relative availability from most to least shelf space. If they purchased a brand not listed they were to write the brand in a blank marked Other and rate it on price and availability.

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record which brands from that class they actually purchased. Purchase questionnaires were completed after each shopping trip and dated so that a longitudinal record of purchases was obtained.

Following the rating scales, subjects were asked to


Analytic Techniques study are based on normalized data, although the raw data were analyzed. Normalization of the data is used to reduce inter-subject scalping differences. An aggregate analysis of all subjects, on each brand, was performed utilizing correlation and regression analysis (Dixon, 1971). Correlation analysis was used to test for association between attitude scores and brand-loyal behavior while regression analysis was used to test the ability to predict behavior from attitude

All results in this


Once the BI model had been

as a

computed for each brand, and for the product class whole, every subjects average BI score (over the four measures) was calculated.


done because the proportion-of-purchase measure is a longitudinal and a longitudinal attitude measure was sought as a basis for comparison. Each individuals average BI brand score was correlated with their proportion-ofpurchase for that brand. Multiple correlation was used to test the effect of including the average intervening variable scores with the averaged BI measure. The same

procedure was performed with the subjects AB score. To test the predictive power of attitude, regression analysis was used with the dependent variable being proporation-of-purchase for each brand and the independent variables consisting of the average AB or BI score and the intervening variables.

regression coefficients for the BI model are presented in Table 2. As shown in regression equations provided a good fit to the data with the adjusted R2 values ranging from .416 to .638. While both components were significant (p < ,0 1 ) in all equations, the attitudinal component was always the first to enter and was the major contributor to the variance explained. This might be expected given the low social significance of these product classes. One might expect that for more conspicuous products the normative behavior component would be of greater importance. This was demonstrated to some extent in comparing the two products studied in this research. The normative behavior component explained more of the variance in the soft drink regressions than in the facial tissue regressions.
the table, the

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Regression Equations for

the Behavioral Intentions Models

The results of the correlation analyses between proportion-of-purchase and attitude score are presented in Table 3. The correlation coefficients for the AB model range from -.126 (Seven-Up) to .821 (Other facial tissues) and for the BI model from .418 (Seven-UPT to .836 (Scotties). All correlation coefficients were significant at the .001 level. This indicates that while the degree of correlation

intent and purchase behavior differs between brands -and products, significant association exists. Upon tesitng the differences of the AB and Bi models, significant differences existed for only three brands (Scotties, Coca-Cola and Seven-Up). In each of these cases the BI model had the larger coefficient. While this result might be expected since the BI model is a refinement of the AB model, it was notas pronounced in this study as in others (Wilson, et. al., 1975). The advantage of the BI over the AB model may depend upon the products under investigation and especially on the relative significance of the normative behavior component. In this study the attitudinal component far outweighed the normative behavior component, which could explain the only small differences between the models. It was postulated that some of the poor results of previous attitude/behavior studies were the result of excluding variables which may mediate the relationship. The intervening variables selected in this study were relative availability, relative price and the financial status of the consumer. The results of the affect of intervening between attitude
a or




attitude/ behavior relationship





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of Correlation Results of Brand

Attitude Scores +

Loyalty vs. Attitude Intervening Variables

Scores and

correlation coefficients are presented in Table 3. The results of a comparison of these multiple correlation coefficients and the correlation coefficients of behavior and attitude alone are also summarized in Table 3. These results suggest that the
effect of intervening variables depends upon the product under study. For facial tissues the differences between brands on price and availability were not sufficient to effect the attitude/ behavior relationship. There was a sufficient difference on the intervening variables between brands of soft drinks to significantly effect the


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Those brands

which the


variables had


lower attitude scores than other brands. This may indicate that

effect had relatively high attitude scores

repeat-purchasing but for an individual to repeatedly purchase a highly of, other variables must influence her A consumer decision. may purchase a brand because she believes it is. a purchase
associated with
brand which she does not think

good brand or because she can save money (as long as the brand does not have such

low attitude score that it is rejected The results of the regression analyses for specific brands and the product class as a whole are presented in Table 4. The coefficients of determination are relatively low,


Regression Results for Specific Brands and Aggregate Product Class

Attitude Scores (Coefficients of Regression



All coefficients



at p


except where noted.

1Not significant

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ranging from 0.75 to .647 for regressions on AB scores and .175 to .698 for BI scores with only three of 20 regressions having R2 values greater then .50. While the coefficient of every attitude score is significantly different from zero at the .001 level, the ability to predict specific brand loyalty scores from attitude scores is questionable. The major reason for the poor results is probably due to the &dquo;pseudo interval&dquo; scaled dependent variable (brand-loyal behavior). This measure is computed as the proportion one brand has to the total purchases and thus depends on the total number of purchases. lf four purchases are made, the possible scores are 0.0, .25, .50, .75, and 1.00. Due to an upper limit of purchases (no consumer purchased a product class more than eight times over the eight weeks) a continuous
interval scale
was not


Regression Results

for Specific Brands and Aggregate Product Class on Attitude Scores and Intervening Variables (Coefficients of Regression Equation)

All coefficients shown




p <.001

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To determine the effect of intervening variables, additional regressions were computed with the intervening variables added as independent variables. The results of these regressions are shown in Table 5. R values range from .122 to .730 for A B scores and .223 to .698 for BI scores. Again, only three of 20 R-2 values were greater than .50. Even with the addition of intervening variables, the regressions do not appear to be valuable as predictors of behavior. In analyzing the aggregate product class data, it is interesting to note that different intervening variables are significant for different products. For example, in regressions involving the AB model, price was significant for soft drinks and availability was significant for facial tissues. These results could be explained by the fact that price deals on soft drinks are a major promotional item in weekly grocery advertising while the price of facial tissue remains relatively constant among brands.


The results of this research confirm

previous studies postulating


attitude/ behavior relationship. Specifically, this study has demonstrated that a relationship exists between attitude and brand-loyal behavior. This suggests that the concept of brand loyalty (at least as measured by proportion-or-purchase) should include a consideration of an individuals attitude. While it was not possible to predict exact brand loyalty scores, it was possible to classify individuals as either brand-loyal or non-brand loyal. Perhaps this approach to brand loyalty will help in understanding the process of becoming brand loyal. A brand manager could obtain


of attitude


and segment the

consumers on

this basis. He could then

analyze the segments to determine if other differences exist. In addition, one of the advantages of using the Fishbein models is that they utilize the consumers evaluations of product characteristics. A manager could analyze the attitude scores to determine how specific characteristics are rated by each of the consumer segments and compare his brands ratings to those of competitors. The loyal and non-loyal segments may view brands differently and this information can be used to either strengthen or change views. Specifically, the Bi model can be used to determine the importance of the social connotations of the product. If the component is significant then the social acceptability of the product (the people who use it) should be mentioned and if it is not significant then product characteristics
should be emphasized. Another finding of the


brand. He could manipulate these variables and determine how this influences consumer behavior. The analysis of intervening variables can indicate which variables a marketer should emphasize in his planning

attitude/behavior relationship. his product class and in particular, his

was that intervening variables may mediate the A marketer could discover which variables affect

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and which he should be observing closely because of their influence on actual behavior. Finally, there was no appreciable difference between the strength of

the AB and BI models and brand-loyal behavior. Although both models appear to be useful in longitudinal studies, when differences existed, the BI model was- more closely associated to behavior. As mentioned earlier, the measurement of social influence is an additional advantage of the BI model and thus if one were studying an attitude/behavior relationship, the BI model would be

relationship between

preferable. This study has demonstrated that an attitudinal approach to studying brand loyalty has potential value to marketing strategists. To confirm this potential, additional research needs to be undertaken. While this study concentrated on frequently purchased products, the same attitude/brand-loyal behavior relationship may exist for other products. This relationship may be even stronger for products in which a great amount of time is spent in evaluating alternatives. In these instances, the product characteristics of differing brands may be studied in
detail. If this is the case, multi-attribute expectancy value models, which focus on the evaluation of product characteristics, could prove to be good predictors of behavior. Another reason for studying other products is that the normative behavior. component of the BI model added only slightly to the variance of the BI scores. Perhaps the strength of the attitude/behavior relationship could be improved if more socially conspicuous products are selected for study. The results also demonstrated that intervening variables may mediate the attitude/ behavior relationship and that the variables depend upon the product studies. Other possible intervening variables need to be identified and their influence on the relationship tested over different products. If intervening variables can be identified, they could be of value to a marketer if incorporated into a brands marketing strategy. REFERENCES Belk, Russell W., "An Exploratory Assessment of Situational Effects in Buyer Behavior," Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. I I (May 1974), pp. 156-63.

Cunningham, Ross, "Brand Loyalty-What, Where Review, Vol. 34 (January 1956), pp. 116-28.

and How Much?" Harvard Business

Dixon, W.J., ed., BMD Biomedical Computer Programs, Berkley and Los Angeles:

University of California Press, 1971. Ehrlich, Howard, "Attitudes, Behavior and the Intervening Variables," The American Sociologist, Vol. 4 (January 1969), pp. 29-34. Engle. James F., David T. Kollat, and Roger D. Blackwell, Consumer Behavior, second edition, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973. Fishbein, Martin, "Attitude and the Prediction of Behavior," in Martin Fishbein, ed., Readings in Attitude Theory and Measurement, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1967,
pp. 447-492.

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262 ________, and Bertram H. Raven, "The AB Scales: An Operational Definition of Beliefs and Attitudes," Human Relations, Vol. 15 (February 1962), pp. 35-44. Frank, Ronald E., "Is Brand Loyalty a Useful Basis for Market Segmentation?" Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 7 (June 1967), pp. 27-33. Howard, John A. and Jagdish N. Sheth, The Theory of Buyer Behavior, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1969. Jacoby, Jacob, "A Model of Multi-Brand Loyalty," Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 11

(June 1971),

pp. 25-31.

________, and David B. Kyner, "Brand Loyalty vs. Repeat Purchasing Behavior," Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 10 (February( 1973). pp. 1-9. Tucker, W.T., "The Development of Brand Loyalty," Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. I (August 1964), pp. 32-5. Wicker, Allan, "Attitude vs. Action: The Relationship of Verbal Overt Behavior Responses to Attitude Objects," Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 25 (Winter 1969), pp. 43-78. Wilson, David T., H. Lee Mathews and James W. Harvey, "An Empirical Test of the Fishbein Behavioral Intention Model," Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. I (March 1975),
pp. 39-48.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR CLINT B. TANKERSLEY is Associate Professor of Marketing Management in the School of Management, Syracuse University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1974. His principal assignment is in the area of

Marketing Research. He has presented papers at national and regional AMA and AIDS conferences and has published in such journals as Journal of Retailing, Journal of Consumer A/lairs and Akron Business and Economic Review.

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