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Halo Effect

What is the 'Halo Effect'

The halo effect is a term used in marketing to explain the bias shown by customers toward certain products because of a favorable experience with other products made by the same manufacturer or maker. The halo effect is a concept driven by brand equity. The opposite of the halo effect is cannibalization.

Explaining 'Halo Effect'

A classic example of the halo effect is the relationship between Mac notebooks and iPods. When the iPod was released, there was speculation in the marketplace that the sales of Apple's Mac laptops would increase because of the success of the iPod. This phenomenon is referred to as the halo effect.

The Halo Effect: An Acceptable Loss

The halo effect is often used to justify business segments that are a drag on earnings. If the business segment provides a lift in customer traffic, it may translate into additional sales for other segments or business units available to the customer. Managers are okay with taking a loss on business segment profitability as long as it increases customer transactions in other parts of the store. For example, many convenience stores and gas stations sell cigarettes even though cigarettes are known to have a low margin. The gas station owner makes no profit from the cigarette sale, but it gives customers a reason to select his gas station over another. Another example is a free service offered by company, such as a grocery store that offers a free carry-out service for senior citizens or a retail shop that offers free shipping on sales over $50. These products and services are not free for the company, but they are offered to the customer as incentive to purchase a product over the competitor. The halo effect of free delivery translates into the purchase of additional items.

Effectiveness and Usage

The halo effect is effective for companies with high brand equity and in industries that rely heavily on brand equity to grow demand. It is also effective for companies in competitive monopolies where there are many companies offering the same service with marginal differences. Companies also use the halo effect to establish themselves in a particular industry. If one product can become a leader in a given industry, the brand equity from that product may spread, like a halo, to other products. This reasoning allows companies to accept a certain level of loss with the understanding the loss is really an investment in brand equity with a payoff across all future products and services sold by the company. In this way, the halo effect has the potential to not only increase customer traffic but also pricing, which are the two main levers of revenue growth.


Further Reading


Crime, punishment and the halo effect of corporate social responsibility
www.nber.org [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

Examining the 'Halo Effect'in lotto gamesExamining the 'Halo Effect'in lotto games
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

Crafting an effective customer retention strategy: a review of halo effect on customer satisfaction in online auctionsCrafting an effective customer retention strategy: a review of halo effect on customer satisfaction in online auctions
www.inderscienceonline.com [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

Contextual explanations of radical right-wing support in Sweden: socioeconomic marginalization, group threat, and the halo effectContextual explanations of radical right-wing support in Sweden: socioeconomic marginalization, group threat, and the halo effect
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a halo effect in issue management: public response to negative news about pro-social local private companiesCorporate social responsibility (CSR) as a halo effect in issue management: public response to negative news about pro-social local private companies
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

The economic status of trauma centers on the eve of health care reform.The economic status of trauma centers on the eve of health care reform.
europepmc.org [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

The relative impact of corporate reputation on consumer choice: beyond a halo effectThe relative impact of corporate reputation on consumer choice: beyond a halo effect
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

Professor age affects student ratings: Halo effect for younger teachersProfessor age affects student ratings: Halo effect for younger teachers
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …

The halo effect: violent crime and foreign direct investmentThe halo effect: violent crime and foreign direct investment
www.emerald.com [PDF]
… Inessa Liskovich Department of Economics Princeton University Fisher Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 iliskovi … courtrooms are exactly the type of setting in which the halo effect is likely to … The earliest psychology studies of halo effects focused on the classroom and judicial affairs …



Q&A About Halo Effect


Is cannibalization part of the halo effect?

Cannibalization is not part of the halo effect, but rather its opposite.

How does the horn effect differ from the halo effect?

The halo effect refers to a positive trait while the horn effect refers to a negative trait.

What are some examples of businesses using the Halo Effect for their benefit?

Some examples include convenience stores and gas stations that sell cigarettes even though they have low margins, grocery stores that offer free services such as carry-out service for senior citizens or retail shops that offer free shipping on sales over 5. These products and services are not free for companies, but they are offered to customers as incentive to purchase a product over another competitor's product. The Halo Effect translates into additional purchases from customers who receive these incentives.

What is the halo effect?

The halo effect is a term used in marketing to explain the bias shown by customers toward certain products because of a favorable experience with other products made by the same manufacturer or maker.

What industries rely heavily on brand equity to grow demand?

Industries that rely heavily on brand equity include those with competitive monopolies where there are many companies offering similar services with marginal differences, and industries where there is high brand equity among competitors such as airlines or hotels. Companies also use this strategy when entering new markets or business segments where they want to establish themselves quickly without having to spend too much money advertising their name recognition and reputation in order to compete effectively against established brands already in place within a particular industry.

What is the horn effect?

The horn effect is closely related to the halo effect, and it causes one's perception of another to be unduly influenced by a single negative trait.

What can you do if you want to avoid being affected by this bias?

You can try not thinking about generalities when evaluating someone else's character.

Why do we have this bias?

We have this bias because we tend to think about others in general as either good or bad rather than focusing on specific traits.

How does brand equity drive the halo effect?

Brand equity drives the halo effect because it has an impact on customer behavior.

What are some examples of how people may be affected by this bias?

People may think that an unattractive person is morally inferior to an attractive person even though there is no relationship between morality and physical appearance.

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