Abstract: Previous research has shown that prior brand exposure (e.g., through advertising) can positively influence brand consideration, brand attitudes, and brand choice. In the present studies, the authors argue that the effects of prior brand exposure depend on the communication modality (visual vs. aural) in which exposure (i.e., advertising) takes place and the modality in which evaluations and choices are made. It was hypothesized and found that congruence in communication modalities has a positive effect on brand evaluation and brand choice, compared to incongruence in modalities. Perceptual fluency is proposed to be the underlying mechanism explaining these effects. Moreover, the results demonstrated that the effects of modality congruence are moderated by individuals’ processing style in such a way that the impact is stronger under conditions of data-driven as opposed to conceptually driven, processing.These results indicate that consumer responses depend on the interaction between the modality in which consumers are exposed to the brand in advertising and the modality in which consumers encounter the brand in a purchase situation.
Keywords: modality, processing fluency, brand exposure, brand evaluation