A qualitative approach to designer as a product cue: proposed conceptual model of consumers perceptions and attitudes

Idemen E., Elmadag A. B., Okan M.

REVIEW OF MANAGERIAL SCIENCE, vol.15, no.5, pp.1281-1309, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11846-020-00381-5
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, ABI/INFORM
  • Page Numbers: pp.1281-1309
  • Keywords: Cognitive and emotional processing, Designer, Product cue, Product design, Signaling
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


'Designer as a product cue', which refers to the information presented about the product regarding the designer of that product, has increasingly been in use by marketers. However, there is a dire need to investigate its effects. Adopting a discovery-oriented grounded theory approach, this study proposes a conceptual model based on the insights gained through 14 semi-structured in-depth interviews about consumers' evaluations of designer cues. Interview results are presented in four categories: product and consumption context-related issues (e.g. self-expressive potential of the product, product design distinctiveness, public vs private consumption), consumer related issues (e.g. need for uniqueness, perceived value), designer related issues (e.g. designer's image, credibility) and firm related issues (e.g. company/brand image). Based on qualitative results, product and consumption related regulators as well as consumer and designer characteristics that regulate the processing routes through which designer cue influences consumer outcomes were integrated into a proposed conceptual model. These routes encompass emotional and cognitive paths to product-specific, self-related and company-related outcomes. Through the emotional route, a designer cue may be associated with more distinct states of consumers, such as privilege and sophistication and may lead to self-related outcomes, such as perceptions of social value and symbolic representation of consumer identity. Through the second route, a designer cue may also be associated with more cognition-based outcomes (e.g. product quality, attitude towards the product) as it unearths the intellectual and professional effort behind the product. This cognitive route may predominantly be related to product-specific (e.g. product quality) and company-related outcomes (e.g. company's design-related image).