This issue features five articles on new challenges to expand Regulatory Focus Theory (RFT) for marketing management, of which some articles treat consumers’ regulatory focuses, while others treat firms’ regulatory focuses. They cover a wide range of topics, such as the effects of regulatory focuses on product, promotion, distribution, and electronic word-of-mouth. As highly advanced research, they are expected to laid the foundation of the RFT research in Japan. In addition to the invited peer-reviewed articles regarding RFT, this issue contains four other articles—an invited review article, an ordinary peer-reviewed article, a marketing case, and a book review.
In marketing channels, retailers sometimes develop close, long-term relationships with wholesalers. However, while some wholesalers accept such relationship offer from retailers, others do not. Literature on relationships in a marketing channel has examined mechanisms by which relationships are maintained, but has not focused on the reason that the relationships start. This paper explains why such differences of acceptance emerge among wholesalers. The framework presented herein suggests that asset specificity, which is requested from the retailer decreases the wholesalers’ willingness to accept the relationship offered by the retailer. Furthermore, the relationship between asset specificity and willingness to accept is moderated by the wholesalers’ regulatory focus. An experiment, in which the subjects were managers for wholesalers, demonstrated that the wholesalers’ willingness to accept the relationship offered by retailers was influenced by both relation-specific investments and regulatory foci.
Although many researchers and practitioners refer to the importance of packages at the point of purchase in marketing communications, there is limited research on the optimal amount of information that marketers should depict on packages. This study focuses on the consumer response to different packaging with various amounts of information and the moderating effect of the regulatory focus, which is an individual trait associated with product attributes. The results of Experiment 1, which used an eye-tracking method, showed that prevention-focused participants had a greater number of eye-fixations on the package than promotion-focused participants. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that participants tended to perceive information excess more strongly with an increase in the number of elements on a package. In addition, perceived information excess negatively affected the evaluations and comprehension by promotion-focused participants’. The results of Experiment 4 indicated that the high-need-for-cognition participants evaluated a package with excessive information negatively when exposed to promotion-focused advertising copy.
Advertising avoidance is considered one of the most serious concerns for advertisers and advertising agencies because consumers are likely to avoid advertisements. Previous studies on advertising avoidance have implied that consumers may choose between complete advertising viewing, incomplete advertising avoidance, and complete advertising avoidance after exposure to an advertisement. However, these studies have not answered the question why consumers choose a particular option. This study aims to solve the problem by using regulatory focus theory. We hypothesize that the consumer choice between the three actions depends on both the regulatory focus and the advertisement information. The results show that consumers with a promotion focus are more likely to choose a complete advertising viewing (/incomplete advertising avoidance) option if the advertisement provides information about the presence of positive outcomes (/the absence of negative outcomes). The results also show that consumers with a prevention focus are more likely to choose an incomplete advertising avoidance (/complete advertising viewing) option if the advertisement provides information about the presence of positive outcomes (/the absence of negative outcomes) in the situation that their regulatory reference is the presence or absence of negative outcomes. On the other hand, in cases in which the regulatory reference is the presence or absence of effort, they are more likely to choose a complete advertising avoidance option.
Today, the number of multichannel shoppers, consumers who shop at both physical and online stores, has increased. Previous research has implied that multichannel shoppers’ regulatory focus may affect the store choice. However, there remain two limitations: (1) prior studies have not considered online shopping experience, which influences perceived channel attributes; and (2) they have failed to examine consumers’ recommendation behaviors. To address these limitations, we investigate the effects of multichannel shoppers’ regulatory focus on the store choice and recommendation, and the moderating effects of online shopping experience on the causal relationships. A survey using the scenario method was conducted and a dataset was collected from 241 participants. The results of regression analyses showed that a prevention focus has negative impacts on online store (vs. physical store) choice and recommendation. In contrast, when online shopping experience is high, a promotion focus has positive impacts on the online store (vs. physical store) choice and recommendation. By providing these findings, this study contributes to advancing research on channel choice, word-of-mouth, and regulatory focus theory.
The original form of the regulatory focus theory has proposed that persons with a promotional focus regard the existence of positive outcomes as important, whereas persons with a prevention focus regard the absence of negative outcomes as important. However, more recently, the theory has been extended to claim that the former group of persons s outcomes cognitively, whereas the latter evaluates the same outcomes more emotionally. Employing the extended version of regulatory focus theory, this study hypothesized that eWOM receivers with the promotional focus would be likely to avoid recommended products, eWOM receivers with the prevention focus would be more likely to adopt them, in contrast with previous research that has hypothesized that all eWOM receivers would avoid recommended products. To test this hypothesis, ANOVA was conducted using a dataset from a consumer experiment. Consequently, our hypothesis was supported.
While it is not an overstatement to say that the “Internationalization of restaurant chains” had been led by American restaurant chains over many years, it has entered a new phase in the 21st century, as the internationalization of Asian restaurant chains has expanded, being led by Japanese restaurant chains.
To date, however, the phenomenon of this internationalization has been discussed only within the scopes of globalization and the spread of food culture, and only extremely limited discussions premised on corporate behaviors have been reported. Moreover, such research has mostly focused on grasping the current status of particular restaurant companies. These investigations used a diverse range of perspective in assessing the current status, with most of them providing only superficial analyses. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to review the studies accumulated in this field so far.
In this study, we present four subjects for future investigations of these issues, referring to the perspectives employed in the research on the internationalization of retail, which is similar to the behavior of the internationalization of restaurant chains in many aspects.
Consumer information processing, and the expressiveness in an advertising format and its effect have been discussed in past studies. These studies have focused on informational advertising that logically presents information about a product or brand, and narrative advertising that depicts the problem-solving process of the characters involved. However, these studies have not elucidated the association between the informational features of expressiveness in an informational advertising format, and the narrative features of expressiveness in a narrative advertising format. Accordingly, in this study, we translated a narrative structure code into Japanese and developed a scale for expressiveness in advertising formats. It was found that the narrative and informational features have different dimensions of expressiveness. Moreover, it was found that narrative-informational advertising, where both, narrative and informational features are prominent, do in fact exist; and that the effect of informational features on attitudes toward advertising with prominent narrative features, is weak. These results suggest that arranging the findings from past studies on advertising effect and consumer information processing in each of the advertising formats may provide a logical basis to study the factors affecting consumer information processing.
Many researchers and practitioners have discussed the marketing orientation in various organizations. Although marketing orientation in public organizations is a popular theme, only a limited Japanese city offices have given importance to marketing activities. In this article, we focus on Nagareyama City, which has a marketing division and implements many marketing activities. The results of interview surveys indicated that their marketing efforts have contributed to an increase in the population. Our paper indicates the challenges faced by public organizations when implementing marketing activities, the effect of the mayor’s emphasis on marketing orientation, and the diffusion of this orientation among public organizations.