Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Less Is More? Two Essays on Consumer Perceptions of Simplicity and Complexity Public Deposited
  • Marketers like simplicity in marketing, and think consumers do too. Trying to get consumers to associate a brand or product with the idea of simplicity is a very popular marketing strategy. However, the effect this strategy might have on consumers' perceptions of those brands and products has never been formally tested. Furthermore, whereas practitioners have touted this simplicity strategy as something approaching a panacea, this dissertation demonstrates that such a strategy comes with hidden pitfalls. Essay 1 argues that when marketing is successful at convincing consumers that a brand is simple, their perceptions of the likelihood of product or service failures is lowered, which leads to significant dissatisfaction and anger in the event of a failure. Essay 2 demonstrates that consumer perceptions of the simplicity or complexity of products can also be manipulated by marketing, and tests whether consumers' believe there is a tradeoff between product reliability and maximum performance, as a function of product complexity. Essay 2 concludes by comparing consumers' default mental models of product complexity against real-world models of complexity (and their associated levels of risk and performance), in order to test the appropriateness of consumers' complexity-to-risk and complexity-to-performance inferences.

Date Issued
  • 2021-07-26
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Last Modified
  • 2022-12-13
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