Using an experiment built into a longitudinal survey, we demonstrate that the low stability of consumers'
brand-attribute associations [see Rungie, C., Laurent, G., Dall'Olmo Riley, F., Morrison, D.G., & Roy, T. (2005).
Measuring and modeling the (limited) reliability of free choice attitude questions. International Journal of
Research in Marketing, 22(3), 309-318.] can be partly explained by the prevailing methods used in market
research, which can often lead consumers to construct temporary associations. To increase the proportion of
stable brand-attribute associations, we recommend the following improvements in market research
methods: use of a shorter, brand-prompted attribute association task; inclusion of an don't know this brand
option to isolate ratings of brands unknown to the individual; omission of the standard instruction to guess
when uncertain; and, in cross-cultural studies, translation of instructions and attribute descriptions into
appropriate first languages. Even with these improvements, however, the maximal stability of associations
that brands can achieve is less than 100% after correcting for methodological influences. This imperfect
stability may mean that consumers learn brand-specific attribute associations that are temporary but stable
enough to lead them to try or re-try the brand, after which consumers replace the specific brand associations
with a summary brand attitude.