Baylor's JaeHwan Kwon Helps Marketers
Assess Brand Building Attitudes
April 18, 2017
Kwon, Assistant Professor of Marketing, has been very fascinated with
attitude and how that translates to human behavior.
”Attitude is a single construct that can predict nearly everything,"
said Kwon. "So, if you know someone's attitude about something, you may
be able to predict every single behavior of that person related to [a
There has been a long-standing belief in psychology about attitude and
attitude strength. Literature has shown that people form opinions about
whether they like or dislike something, but that process results in
varying strengths, which make up two groups: strong attitudes and weak
Past research suggests that in order to form a strong opinion about
something, people have to elaborate, by collecting information and then
taking the time and effort to elaborately process that information.
However, without thinking in an elaborative manner, opinions can still
be formed. They are just simply weaker opinions.
His article, "Strength Without
Elaboration: The Role of Implicit Self-Theories in Forming and Accessing
Attitude," was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. In the
article, Kwon challenged the notion that strong opinions are always
products of effortful thinking processes and proposed people can form
strong opinions without these effortful cognitive processes.
"I first got the [research] idea by observing my wife," said Kwon. When
they would go shopping together, Kwon noticed his wife could "fall
instantly in love" with an item on the rack and know that it was for her
without trying it on. "Actually, I found it was not only the case for my
wife," he added. "We can all generate many anecdotes of people easily
forming strong opinions with no time or effort."
He decided to research further because his experience was opposite of
all the literature he had read.
research and experiments... I found that those who believe that their
personalities are fixed... can easily and quickly form strong opinions
about nearly everything, whereas those who believe that their
personalities are relatively malleable... can form strong opinions only
when they elaborately process every amount of information given to
them," said Kwon. "That is, my research suggested that lay beliefs about
how fixed or malleable your personality is could affect how you form
your opinions and how strongly you hold those opinions."
By identifying the lay beliefs of their target groups, marketers can
gauge how much information they need and, in turn, can help give their
target audiences the necessary information required for them to form a
strong attitude about their brand.
Kwon joined Baylor in August 2015 because he felt it was a university
that highly supported his research, and the Hankamer School of Business
had a great group of researchers with whom he could collaborate. Next,
he plans to build on this research in order to help marketers identify
and customize the information they provide to their target consumers
based on which group they fall in, so they can help their target
customers have strong attitudes toward their brand, which will translate
into increased sales.