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Consumer Involvement Profiles: A New Practical Approach to Consumer Involvement

Jean-Noel Kapferer and Gilles Laurent


Today, many advertising recommendations mention the target market's degree of involvement in justifying the chosen strategy. Consumers' involvement in products is believed to moderate considerably their reactions to marketing and advertising stimuli. Therefore it should affect copy, format, media, and repetition decisions. Foote, Cone, & Belding agencies worldwide have even adopted a strategy planning device, the "Grid," based on a highlow involvement dichotomy (Vaughn, 1980). Current practice measures involvement by a single index, or even a single item of product's perceived importance. A new stream of research initiated in Europe since 1981 has shown that the degree of involvement counts actually less than the source of this involvement. Empirical data on 37 product categories and derived from more than 7500 interviews show that involvement is not limited to a single dimension. It should rather be thought of as a profile of the dimensions of interest, perceived risk, pleasure value, and sign value (Kapferer and Laurent, 48 1984, 1985; Laurent and Kapferer. 1985). For advertising managers the involvement profile is an enlightening new tool for understanding the full dynamics of the relationship of consumers to products, for describing targets, and for market segmentation. The purpose of this article is to present the rationale and the main aspects of this new approach to the conceptualization and measurement of consumer involvement. Since its theoretical and methodological bases have already been presented at length elsewhere, we shall stress here the practical applications of the involvement profile. What Are Consumer Involvement Profiles? The Problems of Involvement Research. Reviewing the marketing literature on involvement, Rothschild (1984) deplored that most of the papers were theoretical papers. Actually there has been little empirical work in marketing on the behavioral consequences of involvement. Much of these socalled consequences" are presumed (Robertson, 1976; Assael, 1981; Engel and Blackwell, 1982) and await empirical testing (Traylor, 1981). This lack of research is due to two problems plaguing the whole involvement field itself. First, most of the time the concept has been measured by its presumed consequences. For instance, Engel and Blackwell (1982) suggest measuring consumer involvement by the time spent during product search, the energy spent, the number of brands examined, and the attention paid to advertising in the product category. This led to a cul-de-sac: How can one test the consequences of a concept if the concept is measured by these consequences? Clearly one needs to separate the state of involvement from its alleged consequences (Cohen, 1983). Second, there has been a permanent dispute as to the definition of involvement. In marketing, one has often equated involvement with perceived product importance (Agostini, 1978: Traylor, 1981; Lastovicka and Bonfield, 1982). But does product importance capture the full richness of the

Volume 25, No. 6, December 1985/Jantiary 1986 involvement relationship? Isn't there much more meaning? Others like Hansen (1985) deem that involvement is nothing more than a consumer's interest for a product category: one may think that television sets are "important" without being involved, when one has no interest in television sets. Park and Young (1984) make a distinction between cognitive involvement and affective involvement. The first one stems from utilitarian motives, the second from emotional motives. Other researchers (Sherif and Cantril, 1947; Sherif and Hovland, 1961) speak only of "ego-involvement," meaning that there is involvement when and only when there is identification of oneself with a decision or a brand choice. Finally, many researchers deem that involvement is nothing but a fashionable new name for the well-known concept of perceived risk, developed in marketing during the 1960s by Bauer (1967). In this approach there is involvement either when the negative consequences of a mispurchase are high (the importance component of risk) or when the probability of making such a mispurchase is high. But as Chaffee and McLeod (1973) remarked, although risk appears to be a sufficient condition for involvement, it is problematic whether it is a necessary one. There would seem to be a number of more positive sources of involvement such as the rewards inherent in the product after purchase. The hedonic or pleasure value ofa product's consumption stands first among these rewards (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982) as does also the product's expressive value. Consumer Involvement Profiles. Instead of pursuing endless discussions on what is the "real" involvement, it seems more fruitful to recognize that despite differences of opinions among researchers, a consensus emerged as to the following generic definition of involvement (Rothschild, 1984): "Involvement is an unobservable state of motivation, arousal or interest. It is evoked by a particular stimulus or situation and has drive properties. Its consequences are types of searching, information-processing and decision making." Since involvement is a hypothetical construct, it cannot be directly measured. It can only be inferred from the presence or absence and intensity of its alleged determinants or antecedents. The operational question is to identify these antecedents of involvement. Actually, a review of experimental manipulations of involvement (Festinger, 1957; Zimbardo, I960; Greenwald and Leavitt, 1984; Park and Young, 1984) of marketing studies and managers' opinions revealed that involvement has five antecedents. Involvement could stem from one or from a combination of the five following antecedents: interest, perceived risk (with two subcomponents, importance and probability), the rewarding nature of the product (its pleasure value), and the perceived ability of brand choice to express one's status, one's personality, or identity (sign value). These five antecedents mediate the effects of a number of variables on involvement. For instance, since durable goods are expensive, they affect the stakes side of perceived risk. But, as these goods are purchased every five or six years, the consumer is not fully competent or knowledgeable about the product at the time of purchase; this infiuences the probability side of perceived risk. On the other hand, products that are bought every day allow the consumer to develop expertise in their purchase, decreasing perceived

Jean-Noel Kapferer is professor of marketing at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerdales and at the Institut Superieur des Affaires in Jouy-en-Josas, France. He is also scientific advisor to Foote, Cone & Belding and IFOP and is president of the Foundation for Research and Information on Rumors. Dr. Kapferer received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Dr. Kapferer is one of the European authorities in advertising and consumer research. In addition to publishing three books in Europe, his research has appeared in European academic and professional journals as well as in the Journal of Marketing Research and the ACR Proceedings.

Giiles Laurent is a professor at the Centre HEC-ISA, Jouy-en-Josas, France, where he teaches marketing and statistics. He graduated from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commercials (HEC) at Jouy-en-Josas, and he received a Ph.D. in management science from the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. Gilles Laurent has been doing research on quantitative analyses of the consumer decision process (especially on involvement and on the importance of brands in the consumer decision process), and on a variety of other topics. He is a consultant to IFOP-ETMAR, the French Market Research Company, and to a number of large consumer-goods companies. 49

Journal of Advertising Research risk. Finally, the more alike brands are in a market, the less they have sign value and allow one's self expression. In addition, the lack of differences between brands decreases the probability of making a mispurchase. Hence it seems more useful to think of involvement as an arousal or motivational state, potentially triggered by one or more of the following antecedents: interest, perceived risk, perceived pleasure value, and perceived sign value. These antecedents may trigger either enduring or situational involvement (Houston and Rothschild, 1977). Interest in a product category (as a hobby) is typically an antecedent of enduring involvement. Pleasure value is mostly a factor of enduring involvement. The sign value and the importance component of perceived risk may apply to both. For example, a consumer may be uninvolved in champagne but, receiving the boss at home, may recognize that the type of champagne offered will tell a lot about himself. This typical situation triggers involvement. Finally, the subjective probability component of risk induces mostly situational involvement. To describe a target, one gets much more information in measuring each of these facets separately. This is at odds with the current practice of pooling together a number of items to get a single score of involvement (Lastovicka and Gardner, 1979; Zaichkowsky, 1984). It is the profile of involvement on its antecedents that provides a clear picture of the consumer relationship to the product category.
Measuring the Involvement Profile,

to measure separately each of the live antecedents of involvement. In-depth interviews of consumers, consultation of marketing experts, and a review of the marketing literature were the input of the items creation phase. A pruning phase followed based on iterative small samples and statistical analyses. The objective was to create five scales that are: short (the necessities of commercial market survey did not allow for lengthy, more academically purescales). Fach scale should have from three to five items. multiproduct (to allow for multi product comparisons, the items should fit any productfrom bras tu cars, from dishwashing liquid ti> champagne). single-factored (each scale had to tneasure one factor only). reliable (as measured by Cronbach's alpha coefficient of internal consistency!. Once such scales were created (sec Table I), they were integrated in tegular surveys covering a wide array ol product categories on national repre

sentative samples. Factor analyses of the items confirmed the tnultidimensional nature of consumer involvement and most of the time each scale exhibited discriminant validity. All of the items of each scale loaded on the same factor, and five factors generally emerged from the factor analysis ( Kapferer and Laurent. 1984, 1985).

How to Use the Consumer Involvement Profile What are the practical applications of the consumer involvement profile.' We shall present in turn three such applications: a new understandmg of the relationship between the consumer and the product: the prediction of specific behaviors: and a new approach foi market segmentation.
How Involving Are Some Products?

Unlike the crude single index of involvement, the involvement profile substitutes a clear picture of both the degree and the type of involvement. Table 2 compares the involvement pro files of 20 product categories. 1 hese

Table I The Facets of Involvement Facet Interest Centrality, ego-importance of the product class Pleasure Hedonic and rewarding value of ihe product class Sign Perceived sign value of the produci class Risk importance Perceived importance of the negative consequences of a mispurchase Risk probability Subjective probability of making a mispurchase oj items I have a strong interest in I attach a great importance lo 1 give myself pleasure b\ purchasitig a .._ _ When one buys < i . it is > i bit like making a gift to oneself. fhe -- vou biiv tells a little bit about you. You can really tell about a person b\ the - he'she picks out When \OLi gel a . Us IKII a big deal if you make a mistake. It is really annoying to purchase a that is not suitable. When 1 purchase a 1 atn never sure of my choice, Wheti 1 face a shelf of _ _ _ - . 1 always feel a bit at a loss to make m\ choiee.

Although on theoretical grounds involvement seemed to stem from five antecedents, it remained to be seen whether empirically these five variables were distinct variables and did not converge on a more limited set of factors. A number of validation studies have been undertaken in the context of regular usage and attitude surveys done for consumer-goods companies desiring to experiment with the involvement profile. The methodology entailed first the creation of a number of items 50

Volume 25, No. 6, December 1985/Januarv 1986

Table 2 Mean-Involvement Profile of 20 Product Categories

(Normalized scores: mean = 100; standard deviation = 50) (Total sample = 1563) Product class Washing machine Dress Perfume Mattress Bras Vacuum cleaner Coffee T.V. Shampoo Yogurt Chocolate Facial soap Mineral water Detergent Champagne
Jam

Interest
130 123 120 119 118 108 106 102 99 95 94 88 81 80 75 75 72 71 69 36

Pleasure
ill 147 154 108 110 94 116 139 78 105 130 91 66 44 128 104 49 83 73 39

Sign
104 166 164 92 115 78 108 84 93 73 86 99 78 77 123 94 76 102 74 59

Risk importance
136 129 116 141 122 130 89 133 94 72 76 78 67 75 123 68 57 75 56 65

Risk probability
102 99 97 118 100 111 113 101 102 73 91 85 77 94 119 96 84 114 80 98

Dishwashing liquid Hose Pasta Batteries

data were obtained in a survey on 20 products and 800 interviews, funded by the Fondation Jours de France pour la Recherche en Publicite. Each figure represents the mean computed across all women interviewed on that specific product category. To facilitate comparisons between products, the scores have been normalized: 100 corresponds to the overall mean across all products; the standard deviation is 50. For each product, one can look at the level of all facets together to diagnose whether the product is moderately or extremely involving. However, note that the essential information lies precisely in the discrepancies between facets. Thus dresses and perfumes derive their high involving nature essentially from their pleasure value and their sign value. These two facets are significantly higher than the three other facets. Consumer involvement in vacuum cleaners derives essentially from per-

ceived risk. This risk is strictly functional. The product has little pleasure and sign value. The situation of washing machines is rather different: interest is higher, as are the pleasure value and the sign value. Chocolate candies are moderately involving; their involvement is stemming exclusively from the pleasure value of the product. The case of batteries is extremely interesting. They have the lowest scores on almost all facets of involvement but two: the perceived probability of making a bad choice when purchasing, and what is at stake (the importance component of risk). Clearly, consumers are not at all interested in the product, derive no pleasure from it, and see no sign value in its purchase. However, the perceived risk is not nil; there are some inconveniences when batteries stop sooner than expected or do not work well. As shown in Table 3, one would not predict high-attention scores

for communication on batteries. Thus the role of advertising is less to convince that there is a difference than to vanquish the indifference. However, there will be some product and brand comparisons at the point of purchase (the consumer is not willing to buy anything at random): any reassuring brand will probably satisfy. In cases of consumer indecision, the attitude toward the advertisements may play a determinant role (Gardner, 1985). These examples illustrate the information provided by the knowledge of the full involvement profile and the clues it gives for advertising strategies. Predicting Selected Aspects of Behavior. When one tries to predict various aspects of consumer behavior, held as presumed "consequences" of involvement, all facets of involvement have a significant infiuence. Most interesting, however, is that each facet does not affect each consequence to the same extent (Kapferer and Lau51

Journal of Advertising Research Tlible 3 The Effects of Involvement on Consumer Behavior (Linear-multiple regression: Sample size: 1568) Involvement facets Dependent variable Extensiveness of the decision process Brand commitment Readership of articles on the product category ***/? < 0.001 ** p < 0.01 * p < 0.05 = n,s. Interest 0.38***
io

Pleastire 0,12*** 0.06*

Sign 0.09**" 0,08"' 0 HY

Risk importance 0,08'

Risk prohabilitx 0.07**' 0,09""

R
0 .54 0 .10
0 .21

0.40***

rent, 1985). Table 3 presents the linear regressions of three aspects of consumer behavior on the five facets of behavior. The analyses are based on 1568 observations (800 consumers being interviewed on two products randomly drawn from 20 contrasted product categories). The extensiveness of the decision process appears primarily influenced by two antecedents of involvement: interest and importance of perceived risk. However, this component of perceived risk only moderately affects brand commitment and is not related to the reading of articles on the product category. This aspect of communication behavior is mostly infiuenced by interest, sign value, and perceived pleasure value of the product category. The conclusion of these empirical analyses is that the prediction of the "consequences ' of involvement is heightened when one takes into account all five antecedents of involvement. In fact, each consequence seems to have its own determinants. So far. the theory of involvement has posited the equivalent influence of a single variable (involvement) on a number of consequences (Robertson, 1976). This is an oversimplified view; empirical data show that knowledge of all the antecedents of involvement is necessary to predict accurately any aspect of consumer behavior. Segmenting Targets by Involvement Profile. The above analyses considered

the mean profile of each product category, but this hides the diversity of consumers. In each market there arc segments of consumers widely differing in involvement profile. It is therefore reeommended to undertake segmentation analyses within each market, on the basis of the consumer's responses to all five facets of involvement. To illustrate how the involvemenl profile is currently used by firms we shall present the results of a nonproprietary survey. In this survey, 800 women were interviewed on two products randomly drawn from a list of 20 product categories (the same as in Table 2), Since the data covered a wide array of contrasted products, segmentation analysis would help discover the main types of involvement existing in the market and what products are especially concerned by each type of involvement. We used cluster analysis to provide a typology of involvement situations varying both in degree and in nature. Given the number of observations lalmost 1600), the cluster analysis was performed using a double-dynamieclustering approach. Since the product categories were rich in diversity, we were able to retain 10 clusters, a rather large quantity. However, the results show that each product category falls generally within three to five of these segments. Finally, since the product categories did not exhibit enough variance on the

risk probability factor in this study, this facet was replaced by two major consumer behavior variables, both theoretically important and linked to risk probability: (!) consumers' belief in differences between brands, and (2) consumers" perceived competence in the product category. Two scales were created in order to measure these variables with satisfactory reliability. The 10 types finally retained in the cluster analysis were given (he (oi lowing names: (1) Minimal involvement (2) Functional differentiation (3) IJndramatized risk (4) Small pleasure (5) Conformist purchase (6) Riskless involvement (7) Functional involvement (8) Pleasure involvement (9) Need for expertise (10) Total involvement fable 4 presents the average scores on lour facets of involvement for each type, as well as on the dimensions of belief in differences between brands and of self-declared competence. Figures represent standardized scores, with a mean of 100 and a standard de viation of 50 over all 1568 observations. In fable 4, the 10 types of involvement have been arranged from left to right in order of increasing interest value, ,'\s n should now be familiar to the reader, there are two ways of iooking at each iype: 11 ,t On the whole, what is the ax erage level of all facets'' !2) Within eaeh

Voltime 25. No. 6, December 1985/January 1986


Table 4

Ten Involvement Types: Description


Name of iype Dimensions of the situation tnterest Sign Pleasure Risk importance Competence Perceived difference Minimal involvement
IA 59 38 19 47 43

Functional differentia! ion


34 59 40 87 48 128

Undramatized Small risk pleasiin


65 65 64 120 56 50 76 77 92 41 107 7.5

Conformist Riskless purchase involvement


91 130 123 120 57 123 tl3 142 111 79 127 92

Fiinetional involvement
121 73 47 124 114 121

Pleasure Need for Total involvement expertise involvement


135 67 131 127 135 150 137 93 141 138 97 59 144 164 144 133 145 142

Note: Entries are standardized indices (mean = 100, standard deviation = 50)

type, what are the discrepancies between facets? At once, two conclusions emerge from Table 4: (a) In advertising theory and practice one generally speaks of high and low involvement (Assael, 1981; Engel and Blackwell, 1982; Ray, 1982), This is clearly an oversimplification. High and low involvement (called here total involvement and minimal involvement) are only two cases among ten (representing 16 percent and 9 percent of the observations). Even if one decided to reduce the number of clusters to say five or six, high and low involvement would just be the extremes. (b) Although there is some correlation between all the variables, there is little redundancy; this redundancy exists only in the two extreme cases. In the minimal involvement all variables are at their lowest level; in the total involvement they stand at their highest level. In all other cases, the profile is uneven. It is precisely this unevenness of the variables that creates a specific buying situation for the consumer. Each type of situation will lead the consumer to specific modes of coping, of problem solving, and of communication behavior. Marketers and advertisers should understand each situation to increase their effectiveness.
The Types of Consumer Involvement.

What is the nature of the ten different

types of involvement, emerging from the analyses? What markets are concerned by what types? Table 4 provides the answer to the first question and will make clear why the types received such labels. Table 5 indicates for each of the 20 product categories to which involvement types the persons interviewed on a particular product category belong. Figures represent percentages and are to be read in line; for instance, it can be seen that 43 percent of the consumers of batteries belong to the minimal-involvement type, and that a fourth (24 percent) belong to the involvement type called "functional differentiation," For clarity purposes, in Table 5, we printed the percentages only when they were above 10 percent. As can be seen from Table 5, if there are on the whole 10 types as indicated, each market is divided in a small number of involvement types. We shall now discuss some of the involvement types revealed by the cluster analysis of 1568 interviews conducted across 20 product categories. In the minimal-involvement type, consumers are at the lowest on all the facets (interest, sign, pleasure, risk importance, perceived difference, and self-declared competence). This subjective situation represents 9 percent of all the interviews, but 43 percent of battery consumers, 31 percent of dishwashing consumers, 29 percent of pasta consumers, and 28 percent of detergent consumers (Table 5), This last

figure highlights the frequent criticisms made in Europe vis-a-vis the creative style (or lack of it) of detergent advertising. In fact the critics assume that a majority of consumers are no longer involved in the product, hence they are likely to be irritated by the permanent hard sell and lack of humor present in most of these advertisements. Their assumption is not supported by empirical data: only a fourth of the detergent consumers (28 percent) belong to the minimal-involvement type. If advertising copy did not permanently emphasize brand differences, it is likely that this figure would be much higher. In the total-involvement type, consumers are at the highest on all facets. This situation occurred in 16 percent of the interviews. Markets with a high percentage of consumers belonging to this segment are dresses (52 percent), perfumes (44 percent), bras (36 percent), but also champagnes (20 percent) and chocolates (18 percent). The other eight types of involvement present contrasted profiles; each type has high marks on some facets and low marks on other facets. The picture of these types is no longer all white or all black, it is a picture of nuances. They represent 75 percent of the interviews. In the functional-differentiation type, interest, sign value, and pleasure value are extremely low. Consumers should not be expected to pay much attention to advertising. Furthermore, they declare a very limited competence. However, they have high marks 53

Journal of Advertising Research


Table 5 Segmenting Markets by Involvement
[\p<:

Product

caie^ory

Minimal involvement 43 29 19 28 :!i

Functional differentiaiion 24 II 10 12

i:,,dramatized risk l,^

Small pleasure

(_ ontor,nis! Riskle^. purchase mvohcm,,!

I- iinciumcil
i)l\'(>lvV!'IU'l\l

Ple

NvvJ !\ii

Batteries Pasta Mineral water Detergent Dish washing liquid Hose Shampoo Jam Yogurt Vacuum cleaner Television Facial soap Champagne Coffee Chocolate Mattress Perfume Bras Dresses Washing machine

:: 19 10
il -,,

\1 li M
i ^

r1N

il

i i) (.

U)
; f.

12 29 23 13 10 -,

4,' :H
1 (>

:: 48

r
2X 18
i "L

r <
1(1 !?
ii)

r
ntages below 1 0 ' ' him- be

Note: E n t r i e s r e p r e s e n t the p e r c e n t a g e of r e s p o n d e n t s , interviewed on the product class, belonging U) the m v o K e n i c n t Ivpi.- F omitted.

on the risk component (87) and do believe in differences between brands (128). Consumers should prove very responsive to high repetition strategies with mere assertion of the brand's superior effectiveness. This type concerns a fourth of battery purchasers (Table 5). Why was type 5 labeled the conformist purchase? This subjective situation concerns 48 percent of the purchasers of champagne. Here (Table 4), the purchaser has a limited interest in the product (91, less than the mean which is 100). However, she perceives the high sign value of her purchase (130), a high pleasure value of the product (123), and an important risk (120). Moreover, she strongly believes that differences exist among brands (123). Unfortunately, she admits a total lack of competence. She has a very limited knowledge of the product class (57); she does not know how to choose. To cope with this classical situation, the purchaser generally relies on a few well-known brands that guarantee a safe choice. Such an involvement type

also concerns a large number of purchasers of TV sets and of perfumes. The seventh type of involvement is labeled/(/nr/Zrwa/ involvement. In this situation, the purchaser has some interest in the product (121) and perceives that making a poor purchase would have bad consequences (124). She feels competent in the product category (114) and strongly believes in differences among brands (121). However, the products are devoid in her eyes o! any sign value (73) or pleasure value (47). Here involvement is strictly based on high-performance expectations This type of involvement is that of a significant number of purchasers of detergent and dishwashing liquid. This i-at odds with the frequent stereotype according to which detergents are a minimal-involvement product. Ae tually, only a third of detergent purchasers belong to the minimal-involve ment type (Table 5). The ninth type of involvement eoneerns large segments of all the durable goods of our study (washing machines, mattresses, televisions, vacuum

cleaners). In this situation, all facets of involvement are high except the sign value (93). The purchaser is interested in the product (137), perceives a high pleasure value (141), and thinks that a mispurchase would be a real probletii (138). She feels moderately competent to make her choice (97), but does not believe in the differences between brands t59). In this case any brand whose reputation is reassuring enough will fit as the consumer will rely mostiv on the advice provided by the distrib utors and on their services.

Conclusion It is time to stop thinking in terms of consumers' degree of involvement in product categories. Instead, it is both more theoretically and managerially fruitful to inquire about consumer involvement profiles. .At a theoretical level, a eumulative body of empirical research shows that using single indicators of involvement IS a dead end. What counts as impoi

Volttme 25, No. 6, December 1985/January 1986 tant is the antecedents of involvement. Knowledge of them allows a clear specification of the nature of the involvement. It allows also a prediction of the consequences of involvement. On the basis of empirical data, involvement derives from a limited number of antecedents: (1) the interest in the product; (2) the rewarding nature of the product (perceived pleasure value); (3) the sign value of the product (its perceived ability to mirror the purchaser's personality or status); (4) the perceived importance of negative consequences in case of a poor choice; and (5) the subjective probability of making such a poor choice. These last two facets are the classical perceived-risk variable. Involvement theory has been largely oversimplified, A single variable (involvement) was postulated to infiuence a large array of purchase and communication behaviors. Actually, empirical analyses show that knowledge of the antecedents of involvement is necessary to predict its consequences. Some aspects of consumer behavior are influenced by specific antecedents; other aspects depend on other antecedents of involvement. Involvement theory has considered a basic dichotomy: high and low involvement. Actually, an empirical analysis across 20 contrasted markets shows that high and low involvement represent only 25 percent of the purchase situations. There are other types of involvement, more contrasted, more nuanced, representing 75 percent of the purchases. In these situations, the consumers are high on some facets of involvement and low on other facets; and it is precisely the subjective situation created by the interaction of facets which leads to specific purchasing and communication behaviors. In many communication experiments, the experimental manipulations are often defined in broad terms: one speaks of high and low involvement, or of "cognitive" and "affective" involvement. It will now be possible to specify more precisely what facet of involvement is actually being manipulated; for instance "affective involvement" (Park and Young, 1984) may stem from three antecedents: interest, pleasure, or sign value. Comparing two experiments, where subjects are described as "affectively involved" may be misleading as long as one does not check that the subjects are actually similar both in level of involvement and in type of involvement (what facet was being manipulated?). On practical grounds, by using wellknown, clean variables to describe these antecedents, the involvement profile clarifies the issues and provides a better understanding between researchers and marketers. The involvement profile is a clue to understanding the nature of the relationship between a target and a product category. It provides a diagnosis about the roots of targets' involvement or lack of it, and therefore clues as to ways of involving targets. Finally, as shown in this article, the response profile is a basis for segmenting markets and guiding the advertising strategy. The involvement profile is currently being used by major consumer-goods companies in Europe to complement their usual variables. Churchill, G, A, "A Paradigm for Developing Better Measures of Marketing Constructs," Journal of Marketing Research 16, 1 (1979): 64-73, Cohen, J, B, "Involvement: Separating the State from its Causes and Effects," Working Paper No, 33, Center of Consumer Research, University of Florida, 1983, Day, G, S, Buyer Attitudes and Brand Choice Behavior. New York: The Free Press, 1970, Engel, R, and R, D, Blackwell, Consumer Behavior. 4th ed. New York: The Dryden Press, 1982, Festinger, L, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1957, Gardner, M, P, "Does Attitude Toward the Ad Affect Brand Attitude Under a Brand Evaluation Set?" Journal of Marketing Research 22, 2 (1985): 192197, Greenwald, A, G,, and C, Leavitt, "Audience Involvement in Advertising: Four Levels," Journal of Consumer Research 11, 1 (1984): 581-592, Hansen, F, "Involvement of Interest or What?" In Advances in Consumer Research, 12, E, C, Hirschman and M, B, Holbrook, eds. Association for Consumer Research, 1985, Holbrook, M, B,, and E, C, Hirschman, "The Experiential Aspects of Consumption: Consumer Fantasies, Feelings and Fun," Journal of Consumer Research 9 (1982): 132-140, Houston, M, J,, and M. L, Rothschild, "A Paradigm for Research on Consumer Involvement," Working Paper No, 11-77-46, University of WisconsinMadison, 1977, Kapferer, J, N,, and G, Laurent, "Marketing Analysis on the Basis of Consumers' Degree of Involvement," Pro55

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