Department of Management

Uncovering attribute-based determinants of loyalty in cigarette brands

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Athanasios Krystallis Krontalis, Denmark
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of tobacco differentiation attributes (i.e. nicotine and tar content, length, flavor and
thickness) in market performance and loyalty levels of brands.
Design/methodology/approach – The study adopts a stochastic approach to measure brand loyalty at the attribute level using the Dirichlet model as
a benchmark tool. Data based on the Juster Probability Scale were collected from a sample of n ¼ 155 young smokers in Iceland.
Findings – Product differentiation strategies operate differently. Light nicotine and tar content encourages smokers to switch across brands and within
family brands, resulting on improved market performance and loyalty levels. Length and thickness-related differentiation are slightly better than nondifferentiation
in inducing loyalty, but worse in improving performance.
Practical implications – Two types of categorization prevail in the category: first, a family brand-based, mainly relevant for large brands; and second,
an attribute-driven, apparent for small family brands. Two types of switching behaviors can also be considered: first within family brands, switching
among product attributes for the larger brands; and second within product attributes, switching among family brands for smaller brands.
Social implications – These findings have profound implications for the development of anti-smoking policy in terms of the exact functioning of
product differentiation as part of the tobacco industry’s strategy. Public health policy makers can benefit in their fight against nicotine consumption by
taking public policy counter-measures (e.g. completely banning or regulating production of “light” nicotine and tar content brands) that can limit the
anticipated success of differentiation strategies of the tobacco industry.
Originality/value – Not much research has been done on loyalty within the tobacco category, possibly due to the ethical considerations accompanying
managerial suggestions about smoking. The contribution of the present work lies in the provisions of evidence-based insights to help brand managers
and other stakeholders (e.g. public health policy makers) to take informed decisions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Pages (from-to)104–117
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Research areas

  • Attribute loyalty, Dirichlet model, Juster Probability Scale, Brand loyalty, Tobacco brands, Tobacco

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