When two wrongs make a right: using conjunctive enablers to enhance evaluations for extremely incongruent new products

Theodore J. Noseworthy, Kyle B. Murray, Fabrizio Di Muro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The success of new incongruent products hinges largely on whether consumers can efficiently make sense of the product. One of the most efficient ways that people make sense of new objects is through feature-based association. Such associations often incorporate an enabler (e.g., the color green) to help make sense of a semantically related feature (e.g., vitamin enriched). Evidence from three studies suggests that marketers can strategically incorporate enablers in product design to help consumers make sense of an extremely incongruent feature. As a result, consumers tend to reflect more favorably on the product. Furthermore, the authors find that even if the enabler itself is incongruent and leads to lower evaluations on its own, when combined with an atypical feature the effect can still be positive. Thus, a small but semantically meaningful adjustment in design can help marketers successfully introduce extremely incongruent innovations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-1396
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Conjunctive inferences
  • Feature-based inferences
  • Product design
  • Schema congruity

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