Formal vs Informal: The influence of address pronouns in market research questionnaires on consumer responses.
In many languages such as German and Dutch, individuals have the choice between formal (V) and informal (T) address pronouns. These pronouns can have a significant influence on an individual’s behaviour. Especially, in the marketing context, address pronouns have been shown to influence consumer attitudes, engagement, and responses. Nevertheless, previous studies have neglected the potential influence of second-person pronouns in market research questionnaires on consumer responses. Given that market research is a crucial tool for companies worldwide to gain valuable insights into their customers mind, organisations must have a comprehensive understanding on how linguistic aspects, such as pronouns can potentially influence questionnaire results. Therefore, using an online questionnaire, the present study investigates the influence of pronoun choice in market research surveys on Dutch and German consumer responses to hedonic products. Contradictory to predictions, the study found no significant effect of pronoun choice on product attitude, consumer involvement, and purchase intention.
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