Publication Date

4-2006

Abstract

Building on prior work (MacInnis and de Mello (2005) 'The concept of hope and its relevance to product evaluation and choice'. Journal of Marketing 69(January), 1-14; de Mello and MacInnis (2005) 'Why and how consumers hope: Motivated reasoning and the marketplace'. Inside Consumption: Consumer Motives, Goals, and Desires, S. Ratneshwar and D. G. Mick (eds.). London/New York: Routledge, pp. 44-66), the authors argue that the concept of hope is highly relevant to consumer behavior and marketing, though its study has not yet appeared in these literatures. Complicating this study is that the definition of hope across literatures is inconsistent. The purpose of this conceptual article is to articulate the concept of hope and elucidate its relevance to consumer behavior. We do so in six sections. The first section explores the conceptual meaning of hope. A definition of hope and the constituent elements that underlie it is articulated. We compare this definition to ones provided elsewhere and differentiate hope from related terms like wishing, expectations, involvement, and faith. The second section focuses on what consumers hope for. The third section considers several important consumer relevant outcomes of hope, including biased processing and self-deception, risk taking behavior, product satisfaction, and life satisfaction and materialism. The fourth section addresses the extent to which marketers are purveyors of hope and what tactics they use to induce hope in consumers. The fifth section uses the conceptualization of hope to both discuss novel ways of measuring hope and their comparisons to existing hope measures. The final section addresses a set of interesting, yet unresolved questions about hope and consumer behavior.

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