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Values Created from Far and Near: Influence of Spatial Distance on Brand Evaluation

Values Created from Far and Near: Influence of Spatial Distance on Brand Evaluation

Xing-Yu (Marcos) Chu, Chun-Tuan Chang and Angela Y. Lee

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Insight: Spatial distance between the product and the consumer is an important visual cue in advertising and store display. But effective use of spatial distance is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Whereas distal distance signals prestige for prestigious brands, proximal distance signals social closeness for popular brands.

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​​​​Classroom Code(s): Advertising and Promotion; Brand Management; Consumer Behavior; Marketing Communications; Retail Marketing

Full Citation: ​
Complete citation: Chu, Xing-Yu, Chun-Tuan Chang, Angela Y. Lee (2021), “Values Created from Far and Near: Influence of Spatial Distance on Brand Evaluation,” Journal of Marketing.

Article Abstract
Abstract: This research shows that spatial distance between the visual representations of the product and the consumer may enhance or devalue consumers’ perceptions of the brand depending on the brand image (prestigious vs. popular). The authors suggest that spatial distance signals prestige when status and luxury are relevant to the brand image, but distance signals social closeness when popularity and broad appeal are relevant to the brand image. The authors show that for prestigious brands whose brand image is associated with status and luxury, the further is the distance between the visual representations of the product and the consumer, the more favorable would consumers’ attitude be toward the product, and the higher their willingness to pay a premium for the product. In contrast, for popular brands whose brand image is associated with broad appeal and social connectedness, the closer is the distance, the more favorable would consumers’ attitude be, and the higher their willingness to pay a premium. The findings provide useful guidelines to marketers on the use of visual cues in advertising and product display.

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Special thanks to Demi Oba and Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidates at Duke University, for their support in working with authors on submissions to this program.

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Xing-Yu (Marcos) Chu is Assistant Professor, Nanjing University, China.

Chun-Tuan Chang is Professor, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan.

Angela Y. Lee is Professor, Northwestern University, USA.