Publications

  • Thomas Niemand, Stefan Hoffmann, Robert Mai
    Marketing ZFP - Journal of Research and Management. 09/2014; 36(3):187-202.
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    ABSTRACT: With the steady rise of the adiposity epidemic, there are increasing calls to stimulate healthier food choices. This is difficult, however, because consumers hold the nearly universal belief that healthy foods are less tasty. To increase their attractiveness, optimizing certain health-unrelated food attributes may help compensate for the loss in taste that is caused by the reduction of fat or sugar. The overall objective of this paper is to examine the boundary conditions under which such compensation effects emerge. Using the example of cookies, we examine how compensation effects depend on (i) the consumer segment, (ii) the configuration of the food product, and (iii) the type of evaluation process. This paper empirically tests compensation effects for optimized flavor intensity. We apply a combination of adaptive conjoint analysis and sensory preference tests. Market simulations and sensitivity analyses demonstrate that the intricate interplay among the three contingency variables is far more important than the question of whether compensation effects emerge or not. The analyses uncover four distinct segments and they show that compensation effects depend on which type of health-related attribute is reduced and whether the health-unrelated attribute is improved intrinsically or extrinsically.
    Appetite 05/2014; · 2.54 Impact Factor
  • Katharina Hutter, Stefan Hoffmann
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    ABSTRACT: Ambient media evoke surprise with the aim of gaining the attention of consumers who are overexposed to traditional types of advertising. No study has yet considered the effects of unanticipated ambient media. To bridge this gap, the present article reports a field experiment entailing the manipulation of three types of ambient media that create different levels of surprise. The analysis combines observation data for 2,464 passersby, survey data from 305 respondents, and sales figures for 730 days. The results show that surprising ambient media draw attention, promote positive attitudes toward the ad, and stimulate word of mouth. Most importantly, ambient media increase purchase intention and sales revenue. Robustness checks ensure that the model is stable across several conditions, such as time of day or weather conditions. Follow-up studies further reveal that surprise elicits positive effects via two processes; the amplification of accompanying evaluations and the interplay of attention and incongruence resolution. The paper provides guidance for retailers wishing to design surprising ambient media that improve consumer attitudes and profitability.
    Journal of Retailing 03/2014; 90(1):93-110. · 2.75 Impact Factor
  • Stefan Hoffmann
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    ABSTRACT: In many countries, the number of consumers who participate in boycotts has been increasing during the last decades. Boycotts can have a significant negative impact on firms because they impair sales figures, corporate reputation and stock prices. In this study, we theorise and empirically confirm that national culture determines the likelihood of consumer boycotts. Thus, our paper helps guide firms to international markets where there is less risk of boycott activity. Our analysis reveals that many cultural dimensions strongly co–vary with boycott prevalence. In particular, the risk of consumer boycotts rises with the practical scores of in–group collectivism. The paper outlines avenues for further research and provides multinational companies with guidelines to help predict boycott prevalence in the targeted markets.
    European Journal of International Management. 03/2014; 8(2):141-159.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines how implicit processes shape consumer’s food decision making. A series of three empirical studies combines questionnaire data with the Implicit Association Test to demonstrate that the effect of nutrition self-efficacy on behavioral intentions and eating behavior is moderated by food associations that are activated automatically and unconsciously. The Main Study provides evidence that consumers with a low ability to adopt a healthy diet behave according to their self-efficacy if implicit associations are negatively connoted (e.g., “healthy food products are less tasty”). A mediated moderation model shows that the interaction effect exerts its influence via intentions to adopt a healthy diet. Replication Study A confirms that this interaction effect even shapes the consumption patterns of at-risk consumers who have received nutritional counseling. Study B confirms the moderating role of implicit associations in a different setting and for different implicit associations. The article reveals that solely increasing consumer’s self-efficacy will not result in substantial changes towards a more healthy diet. By addressing implicit processes, food producers and policy makers can improve the effectiveness of their efforts to induce changes in consumers’ food consumption patterns.
    Food Quality and Preference 01/2014; · 2.43 Impact Factor
  • Robert Mai, Stefan Hoffmann
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    ABSTRACT: Today's business interactions are characterized by encounters between people with diverse language backgrounds. This article examines how, why and under what circumstances regional or foreign speech patterns affect consumer judgments and reactions. Building on a synthesis of accent research and theories, including the work of related disciplines such as linguistics and social psychology, this article suggests an integrative model that helps to understand accent effects in business contexts. The model disentangles the effects of social categorization, stereotype activation, and speech processing that jointly influence different business-related outcomes. The model highlights three categories of factors that moderate these accent effects, namely sender, receiver, and communication variables. The paper further identifies several issues which remain unresolved and which require continued research. An agenda for future research sets out several propositions to help researchers approach regional and foreign accents in business environments.
    Journal of Consumer Psychology 01/2014; · 1.71 Impact Factor
  • Food Quality and Preference 01/2014; 31(1):65-68. · 2.43 Impact Factor
  • Stefan Hoffmann, Julia Schlicht
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has mainly focused on consumers' environmental values and attitudes to explain green consumption. However, it has been neglected how situational factors like the way a consumer is affected by the impacts of environmental pollution influence environmental attitudes and the demand for organic food products. To fill this void, we firstly introduce a taxonomy of different types of factual concernment and perceived concern. Factual concernment describes the manner in which a person is affected by the negative consequences of environmental pollution, whereas perceived concern expresses an anxious sense of interest. Building on that taxonomy, an experimental study analyses how four types of factual concernment (direct vs. indirect; material vs. immaterial) influence consumers' perceived concerns (in terms of environmental and health concern) as well as the readiness to gather information, the readiness to make sacrifices, the willingness to pay higher prices and purchase intentions. The study reveals that particularly direct concernment fosters the consumption of organic food. However, the study did not find any differences between the influences of material and immaterial concernment on the organic food purchase decision.
    International IJC 11/2013; 37(6). · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Humor preferences depend on the cultural background of the respondents. Designers of international advertising campaigns thus need to know how to adapt ads to the target market. The present paper runs two studies to test (1) whether marketers actually adapt the type of humor to the culture of the target market and (2) whether different types of humor elicit different effects in different cultures. Both studies use the example of Germany and Spain for cross-cultural comparisons. Study 1 analyzes 418 Spanish and 748 German print advertisements. The results indicate that marketers apply humor in Spain more frequently than in Germany. The type of humor differs across the two countries: Comic wit which builds on incongruent elements is more frequent in Germany (low-context, individualistic, masculine culture) than in Spain (high-context, collectivistic, feminine culture) while Spanish ads contain more sentimental humor. This humor type transports warmly messages without including incongruent messages. Study 2 examines whether the cultural dimensions of individualism and femininity affect attitude towards sentimental humor ads and sentimental comedy ads. The latter type of humor combines warm elements with the principle of incongruity- resolution. The study shows that Spanish respondents rate sentimental humor significantly more positive than German respondents. In contrast, German subjects evaluate sentimental comedy most positive. Implications for managers and future research are derived.
    2nd International Conference on Strategic Innovative Marketing (ICSIM); 09/2013
  • Katharina Hutter, Stefan Hoffmann
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    ABSTRACT: The carrotmob—often defined as an inverse boycott—is a new, fast-diffusing form of pro-environmental consumption focusing on societal issues. Organized by activists, consumers swarm a predefined store and collectively buy its products. In return, the company engages in pro-environmental actions. This is the first study that empirically analyzes consumer attitudes toward carrotmob and participation intention. The article compares the drivers of carrotmob and anticonsumption (e.g., ecological consumer boycotts). Both forms of consumer activism are triggered by ecological concern. However, carrotmobbing differs because participants do not have to sacrifice their preferred consumption patterns. Study 1 (n = 437) demonstrates that willingness to make sacrifices moderates the impact of ecological concern on attitudes toward the carrotmob. Study 2 (n = 153) establishes external validity by modifying the carrotmob target. As expected, the carrotmob is an alternative consumption option attractive for consumers unwilling to make sacrifices in expressing their environmental concerns.
    Journal of Macromarketing 08/2013; 33(3):217-231. · 1.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Unternehmen, die mehrere Ländermärkte bearbeiten, stehen vor der Herausforderung, ihren Marketing-Mix an Kunden mit unterschiedlichen Wertvorstellungen anzupassen. Die interkulturelle Konsumentenforschung soll diesen Anpassungsprozess unterstützen und sucht deshalb nach Erklärungsansätzen zur Kultur(un)gebundenheit des Kaufverhaltens. Dieser Beitrag zielt darauf ab, anhand einer aktuellen Literaturanalyse zu klären, wie sich die Forschungsdisziplin in den Jahren von 2005 bis 2010 weiterentwickelt hat. 92 einschlägige Studien werden hinsichtlich ihres Forschungsansatzes, der Auswahl der Kultureinheiten, der Operationalisierung von Kultur und der betrachteten Form des Konsumentenverhaltens systematisch analysiert. Es zeigt sich, dass Quantität und Breite der interkulturellen Konsumentenforschung zunahmen und dass methodische Probleme teils überwunden werden konnten. Aufbauend auf der Literaturanalyse verdichtet dieser Beitrag die zentralen Erkenntnisse der Forschung im Betrachtungszeitraum und leitet Direktiven für die zukünftige Forschung ab.
    Journal für Betriebswirtschaft 01/2013; 63(1):45-83.
  • Stefan Hoffmann, Robert Mai, Anamaria Cristescu
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    ABSTRACT: Survey data are frequently distorted by answering tendencies, such as acquiescence, disacquiescence, midpoint and extreme response style. Cross-cultural research projects may be particularly vulnerable to misinterpretations. This paper provides empirical insights into the manner and degree to which culture systematically distorts findings from survey data. The study is based on data from 1027 respondents from Austria, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and the United States. The investigation firstly demonstrates that Hofstede's and project GLOBE's cultural dimensions explain variations in response styles across different countries. Secondly, and most importantly, the paper explores the impact of culture-dependent response styles on findings. Remarkably, the extent of distortion in correlation analysis and mean comparisons is less severe than expected. Nonetheless, cross-cultural researchers would be well advised to control at least for (dis-)acquiescence before analyzing and interpreting their data.
    International Business Review 01/2013; 22(5):814-827. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Web designers and providers are keenly interested in determining the ideal range of Web site complexity to facilitate user–Web site interactions. Previous empirical findings have sparked a lively debate about whether Web site complexity inhibits or enhances user responses toward the Web site. This paper develops a theoretical framework that posits that complexity effects shift along a sequence of evaluation criteria depending on the overall intensity and type of Web site complexity. The first experimental study confirms the suggested interaction effect of the overall degree of complexity and the sequence of evaluation criteria: the optimum is lower for upstream criteria (e.g., ease of navigation) and higher for downstream criteria (e.g., attitude toward the Web site). The second experiment distinguishes two dimensions of complexity (structural vs. visual) that evoke the antipodal effects underlying the shift in the optimal range of complexity. The paper also outlines avenues for further research and implications for marketing practitioners.
    Journal of Interactive Marketing 01/2013; · 1.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduction of energy in foods by eliminating sugar, combined with an increase in fiber, frequently results in products with sensory characteristics that cannot be compared with standard counterparts. This study analyzed the response of young educated consumers (n = 704) on standard or reduced-sugar vanilla yogurt enriched with inulin or with inulin combined with a grain mixture, a milled mixture of flakes, or a combination of grains and milled flakes. On a nine-point hedonic scale, mean acceptance was 6.4 and 6.8 for yogurt with 112 g kg−1 and 160 g kg−1 sugar, respectively. It was concluded from acceptance data and from results obtained by just-about-right rating that adapting the flavoring concentration might be an appropriate tool to mask sugar reduction. In yogurt with visible fiber, it is mainly the size of incorporated fiber that should be considered in product optimization. In these products, sugar content significantly affects acceptance.
    International Dairy Journal 01/2013; 28(1):1-7. · 2.33 Impact Factor
  • Stefan Hoffmann
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    ABSTRACT: Previous models of boycott motivation are incomplete because they only consider beliefs and attitudes. This article argues that consumers' proximity to the consequences of the critical actions of a company is the primary trigger of the desire to boycott. As consumers need to justify this desire, they search for supportive arguments. Thus, the arguments consumers give to explain why they are boycotting or not are pre-decisional rationalizations rather than independent rational considerations. Consequently, the paper suggests that scholars need to respecify the antecedents identified in prior studies. These constructs are mediator variables of the indirect influence of proximity on boycott participation. The paper tests the assumptions on the basis of survey data gathered from 544 consumers using the example of a real boycott that was called in response to factory relocation. The model proposed was tested by means of partial least squares regression analysis. The mediation hypotheses were examined using simple and multiple mediation tests. The empirical study confirms that boycott motives are mainly rationalizations of a pre-existing desire to boycott, which is contingent on proximity. Managerial implications and avenues for further research are proposed. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 01/2013; 12(3):214-222.
  • Robert Mai, Stefan Hoffmann
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    ABSTRACT: This article identifies consumer segments that differ in the way they consider health-related and health-unrelated food properties when making food choices. The paper makes two assumptions: first, the level of health consciousness determines the quality of the attributes (health related versus health unrelated) these segments consider important; and second, the degree of nutrition-related self-efficacy subsequently defines the quantity of health-related attributes considered important. Two studies measure preferences for food attributes (Study 1: n = 54, 12 attributes, conjoint analysis; Study 2: n = 162, 25 attributes, constant sum scales). In both studies, cluster analysis identifies two major segments (taste lovers and nutrition fact seekers) that are determined by consumers' level of health consciousness. Study 2 demonstrates that nutrition-related self-efficacy determines how many health-related attributes nutrition fact seekers consider important. Consequently, they can be split into ‘heavy’ and ‘soft’ subsegments. The study also identifies a segment that lacks a clear food choice strategy as a result of incompatible beliefs. The paper guides marketers and producers in developing healthy food products tailored to the needs of different target segments. Considering the enormous health expenditures, the studies' results are also beneficial to policy makers and governmental organizations to design social marketing campaigns. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of Consumer Behaviour 07/2012; 11(4). · 0.75 Impact Factor
  • Katharina Hutter, Stefan Hoffmann
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The carrotmob—often defined as an inverse boycott—is a new, fast-diffusing form of pro-environmental consumption focusing on societal issues. Organized by activists, consumers swarm a predefined store and collectively buy its products. In return, the company engages in pro-environmental actions. This is the first study that empirically analyzes consumer attitudes toward carrotmob and participation intention. The article compares the drivers of carrotmob and anti-consumption (e.g., ecological consumer boycotts). Both forms of consumer activism are triggered by ecological concern. However, carrotmobbing differs because participants do not have to sacrifice their preferred consumption patterns. Study 1 (n = 437) demonstrates that willingness to make sacrifices moderates the impact of ecological concern on attitudes toward the carrotmob. Study 2 (n = 153) establishes external validity by modifying the carrotmob target. As expected, the carrotmob is an alternative consumption option attractive for consumers unwilling to make sacrifices in expressing their environmental concerns.
    ICAR Symposium; 06/2012
  • Uta Schwarz, Stefan Hoffmann, Katharina Hutter
    AMA Winter Marketing Educators' Conference; 02/2012
  • Stefan Hoffmann, Katharina Hutter
    AMA Winter Marketing Educators' Conference; 02/2012
  • Hoffmann, Hutter
    Journal of Consumer Policy 01/2012;

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