Abstract

Five experiments document that the mere circularity and angularity of a brand logo is powerful enough to affect perceptions of the attributes of a product or company. It is theorized and shown that circular- versus angular-logo shapes activate softness and hardness associations, respectively, and these concepts subsequently influence product/company attribute judgments through a resource-demanding imagery-generation process that utilizes the visuospatial sketchpad component of working memory. There are no logo shape effects on attribute judgments when the visuospatial sketchpad component of working memory is constrained by irrelevant visual imagery, when people have a lower disposition to generate imagery when processing product information, and when the headline of the ad highlights a product attribute that differs from the inference drawn from the logo shape. Further, there are shape effects even when the shape is incidentally exposed beforehand using a priming technique rather than being a part of the logo itself, demonstrating the generalizability of our findings. When taken together, the results have implications for working memory, consumer imagery, and visual marketing.

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