Attitudes Consumer Behavior
Consumer Behavior Assignment 1| Attitudes As consumers, each of us has a vast number of attitudes toward products, services, advertisements, direct mail, the Internet, and retail stores. Whenever we are asked whether we like or dislike a product, a service, a particular retailer, a specific direct marketer, or an advertising theme, we are being asked to express our attitudes. Within the context of consumer behavior, an appreciation of prevailing attitudes has considerable strategic merit.
For instance, there has been very rapid growth in the sales of natural ingredient bath, body, and cosmetic products throughout the world. This trend seem linked to the currently popular attitude that things “natural” are good and things “synthetic” are bad. Yet, n reality, the positive attitude favoring things natural is not based on any systematic evidence that natural cosmetic products are any safer or better for consumers. To get at the heart of what is driving consumer’ behavior, attitude research has been used to study a wide range of strategic marketing questions.
For example, attitude research is frequently undertaken to determine whether consumers will accept a proposed new-product idea, to gauge why a firm’s target audience has not reacted more favorably to its new promotional theme, or to learn how target customers are lily to react to a proposed change in the firm’s packaging design. To illustrate, major athletic shoe marketers such as Nike or Reebok frequently conduct research among target consumers of the different types of athletic footwear products that they market.
They seek attitudes of target consumers with respect to size, fit, comfort, and fashion elements of their footwear, as well as test reactions to potential new designs or functional features. They also regularly gauge reactions to their latest advertising and other marketing messages designed to form and change consumer attitudes. All these marketing activities are related to the important task of impacting consumers’ attitudes. Consumer researchers assess attitudes by asking questions or making inferences from behavior.
For example, if a researcher determines from questioning a consumer that she consistently buys Secret deodorant and even recommends the product to friends, the researcher is likely to infer that the consumer possesses a positive attitude toward this brand of deodorant. This example illustrates that attitudes are not directly observable but must be inferred from what people say or what they do. Moreover, the illustration suggests that a whole universe of consumer behaviors consistency of purchases, recommendations to others, top rankings, beliefs, evaluations, and intentions are related to attitudes.
What then are attitudes? In a consumer behavior context, an attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favorable or unfavorable way with respect to a given object. Each part of this definition describes an important property of an attitude and is critical to understanding the role of attitudes in consumer behavior . According to the tricomponent attitude model, attitudes consist of three major components: a cognitive component, an affective component, and a conative component.
The Cognitive Component The first part of the tricomponent attitude model consists of a person’s cognitions, that is the knowledge and perceptions that are acquired by a combination of direct experience with the attitude object and related information from various sources. This knowledge and resulting perceptions commonly take the form of beliefs that is the consumer believes that the attitude object possesses various attributes and that specific behavior will lead to specific outcomes.
Steve’s belief system for both types of connections consists of the same basic four attributes: speed, availability, reliability, and other feature. However Steve has somewhat different beliefs about the two broadband alternatives with respect to these attributes. For instance he knows from friends that the local cable company’s broadband connection is much faster than DSL but he does not like the fact that he will also have to begin subscribing to cable TV if he does not want to pay an extra $20 a month for the broadband internet connection.
Steve Is thinking of asking a few of his friends about the differences between cable and DSL broadband Internet service and will also go online to a number of websites that discuss this topic. The Affective Component A consumer’s emotions or feelings about a particular product or brand constitute the affective component of an attitude. These emotions and feelings are frequently treated by consumer researchers as primarily evaluative in nature; that is, they capture an individual’s direct or global assessment of the attitude object.
Affect laden experiences also manifest themselves as emotionally charged states (eg happiness, sadness, shame, disgust, anger, distress, guilt, or surprise). Research indicated that such emotional states may enhance or amplify positive or negative experiences and that later recollections of such experiences may impact what comes to mind and how the individual acts. For instance a person visiting a shopping center is likely to be influenced by his or her emotional state at the time. If the shopper is feeling particularly joyous at the moment a positive response to the shopping center may be amplified.
The emotionally enhanced response to the shopping center may lead the shopper to recall with great pleasure the time spent at the shopping center. It also may influence the individual shopper to persuade friends and acquaintances to visit the same shopping center and to make the personal decision to revisit the center. In addition to using direct or global evaluative measures of an attitude object, consumer researchers can also use a battery of affective response scales to construct a picture of consumer’ overall feelings about a product, service or ad.
The Conative Component Conation the final component of the tricomponent attitude model is concerned with the likelihood or tendency that an individual will undertake a specific action or behave in a particular way with regard to the attitude object. According to some interpretations the conative component may include the actual behavior itself. In marketing and consumer research, the conative component is frequently treated as an expression of the consumer’s intention to buy.
Buyer intention scales are used to assess the likelihood of a consumer purchasing a product or behaving a certain way. Interestingly, consumers who are asked to respond to an intention to buy question appear to be more likely to actually make a brand purchase for positively evaluated brands as contrasted to consumers who are not asked to respond to an intention question. This suggests that a positive brand commitment in the form of a positive answer to an attitude intention question impacts in a positive way on the actual brand purchase.
Multiattribute attitude model Multiattribute attitude models portray consumer’ attitudes with regard to an attitude object as a function of consumers’ perception and assessment of the key attributes or beliefs held with regard to the particular attitude object. Although there are many variations of this type of attitude model, we have selected the following three models to briefly consider here: Attitude-toward-object model The attitude-toward-object model is especially suitable for measuring attitudes toward a product (or service) category or specific brands.
According to this model the consumer’s attitude toward a product or specific brands of product is a function of the presence or absence and evaluation of certain product specific beliefs and or attributes. In other words, consumers generally have favorable attitudes toward those brands that they believe have an adequate level of attributes that they evaluate as positive, and they have unfavorable attitudes toward those brands they feel do not have an adequate level of desired attributes or have too many negative or undesired attributes.
Conducting consumer attitude research with children, especially gauging their attitudes toward products and brands is an ongoing challenge. What is needed are new and effective measurement approaches that allow children to express their attitudes toward brands. To this end researchers have labored to develop an especially simple and short attitude measurement instrument for questioning children between 8 and 12 years of age. Attitude-toward-behavior model The attitude-toward-behavior model is designed to capture the individual’s attitude toward behaving or acting with respect to an object rather than the attitude toward the object itself.
The appeal of the attitude-toward-behavior model is that it seems to correspond somewhat more closely to actual behavior than does the attitude-toward-object model. For instance knowing Sam’s attitude about the act of purchasing a Rolex wrist watch reveals more about the potential act of purchasing than does simply knowing his attitude toward expensive watches or specifically Rolex watches. This seems logical, for a consumer might have a positive attitude toward an expensive Rolex wristwatch but a negative attitude as to his prospects for purchasing such an expensive watch.
A recent study conducted in Taiwan examined the relationship between consumer characteristics and attitude toward the behavior of online shopping. The researcher found that attitudes toward online shopping are significantly different based on various consumer behavior factors. For example, the research identified the following nine benefits of online shopping: 1 – effectiveness and modern 2 – purchase convenience 3- information abundance 4 – multiform and safety 5 – service quality 6 – delivery speed 7 – homepage design 8 – selection freedom 9 – company name familiarity.
These nine attributes were selected because they tend to reflect consumers’ attitude toward online shopping. Theory-of-reason-action model The theory-of-reason-action model represents a comprehensive integration of attitude components into a structure that is designed to lead to both better explanation and better predictions of behavior. Like the basic tricomponent attitude model the theory incorporates a cognitive component, an affective omponent and a conative component; however, these are arranged in a pattern of different from that of the tricomponent model. In accordance with this expanded model, to understand intention we also need to measure the subjective norms that influence an individual’s intention to act. A subjective norm can be measured directly by assessing a consumer’s feelings as to what relevant others (family, friends, roommates, coworkers) would think of the action being contemplated; that is would they look favorably or unfavorably on the anticipate action?
For example if an undergraduate student was considering cutting her hair shorter and dying it red and stopped to ask herself what her parents or boyfriend would think of such behavior such a reflection would constitute her subjective norm. Consumer researcher can get behind the subjective norm to the underlying factors that are likely to produce it. They accomplish this by assessing the normative beliefs that the individual attributes to relevant others, as well as the individual’s motivation to comply with each of the relevant others. For instance, consider the undergraduate student contemplating cutting her hair shorter and dying it red.
To understand her subjective norm about the desired purchase, we would have to identify her relevant others Parents and boyfriend; her beliefs about how each would respond to her short red hair and finally her motivation to comply with her parents and or boyfriend. Theory of trying-to-consumer model There has been an effort underway to extend attitude models so that they might better accommodate consumers’ goals as expressed by their “trying” to consume. The theory of trying to consume is designed to account for the many cases in which the action or outcome is not certain but instead reflects the consumer’s attempts to consume.
In trying to consume, there are often personal impediments a consumer trying to find just the right shoes to go with a newly purchased dress for under $100 or trying to lose weight but loves chocolate bars and or environmental impediment only the first 50 in line will be able to purchase this $200 MP3 player for the special Saturday 8. 00 AM to 9. 00 AM price $99, that might present the desired action or outcome from occurring. Again the key point is that in these cases of trying, the outcome ex purchase, possession, use or action is not and cannot be assumed to be certain.
Researchers have recently extend this inquiry by examining those situations in which consumers do not try to consume – that is fail to try to consume. In this case, consumers appear to 1 – fail to see or are ignorant of their options and 2 – make a conscious effort not to consume; that is they might seek to self-sacrifice or defer gratification to some future time. In an effort to understand the impact of advertising or some other promotional vehicle ex a catalog on a consumer attitudes toward particular products or brands, considerable attention has been paid to developing what has been referred to as attitude-toward-the-ad models.
Research among Asian Indian USD immigrants have explored attitudes toward 12 advertisements and purchase intention of six different products that the ads feature. The study found a positive relationship between attitude toward the advertisement and purchase intention for each of the advertised products; that is if consumer “like” the ad, they are more likely to purchase the product. Finally consumer socialization has also shown itself to be an important determinant of a consumer’s attitudes toward advertising.
One study for sample found that parental communication, peer communication, social utility of advertising amount of television watched, gender, and race were all associated with attitude toward advertising. African Americans and women were found to have more positive attitudes toward advertising. How do people especially young people form their initial general attitudes toward things? Consider their attitudes toward clothing they wear for example underwear, casual wear and business attire.
One more specific level how do they form attitudes toward Calvin Klein underwear of Gap casual wear or Anne Klein? Also what about where such clothing is purchase? Would they buy their underwear, casual wear and business clothing at Wal Mart, Sears or Macy’s? How do family members and friends, admired celebrities, mass media advertisements, even cultural memberships influence the formation of their attitudes concerning consuming or not consuming each of these types of apparel items? Why do some attitudes seem to persist indefinitely while others change fairly often?
The answers to such questions are of vital importance to marketers for without knowing how attitudes are formed they are unable to understand or to influence consumer attitudes or behavior. How attitudes are formed? The formation of an attitude is when we refer to the shift from having no attitude toward a given object to having some attitude toward it. The shift from no attitude to an attitude is a result of learning. Consumers often purchase new products that are associated with a favorably viewed brand name.
Their favorable attitude toward the brand name is frequently the result o f repeated satisfaction with other products produced by the same company. In terms of classical conditioning, an established brands and the new extension and 2 – the fit or match between the images of the parent brand name is an unconditioned stimulus that through past positive reinforcement resulted in a favorable brand attitude. A new product yet to be linked to the established brand would be the conditioned stimulus.
To illustrate by giving its Secret Platinum and Olay conditioners the benefit of two well known and respected family names , P&G is expecting on a transfer of the favorable attitude already associated with these two brand names to the new product. They are counting on stimulus generalization from the two brand names to the new product. Research suggests that the fit between a parent brand and a brand extension is a function of two factors: 1 – the similarity between the preexisting product categories already associated with the parent brands and the new extension. Sometimes attitudes follow the purchase and consumption of a product.
For example a consumer may purchase a brand-name product without having a prior attitude toward it because it is the only product of its kind available. Consumers also make trial purchases of new brands from product categories in which they have little personal involvement. If they find the purchased brand to be satisfactory, then they are likely to develop a favorable attitude toward it. In situations in which consumers seek to solve a problem or satisfy a need, they are likely to form attitudes about products on the basis of information exposure and their own cognition.
In general the more information consumers have about a product or service; the more likely they are to form attitudes about it either positive or negative. However regardless of available information, consumers are not always ready of willing to process product related information. Furthermore, consumers often use only a limited amount of the information available to them. Specifically only two or three important beliefs about a product are likely to dominate in the formation of attitudes and that less important beliefs provide little additional input.
This suggests that marketers should fight off the impulse to include all the features of their products and services in their ads; rather they should focus on the few key points that are at the heart of what distinguishes their product from the competition. Sources of influence on attitude formation The formation of consumer attitudes is strongly influenced by personal experience, the influence of family and friends, direct marketing, mass media and the Internet.
A primary means by which attitudes toward goods and services are formed is through the consumer’s direct experience, marketers frequently attempt to stimulate trial of new products by offering cents-off coupons or even free samples. As we come in contact with others, especially family, close friends, and admired individuals we form attitudes that influence our lives. The family is an extremely important source of influence on the formation of attitudes, for it is the family that provides us with many of our basic values and a wide range of less central beliefs.
For instance young children who are rewarded for good behavior with sweet foods and candy often retain a taste for sweets as adults. Marketers are increasingly using highly focused direct-marketing programs to target small consumer niches with products and services that fit their interests and lifestyles. Marketers very carefully target customers on the basis of their demographic, psychographic or geo-demographic profiles with highly personalized product offerings and messages that show they understand their special needs and desires.
Direct-marketing efforts have an excellent chance of favorably influencing target consumers’ attitudes, because the products and services offered and the promotional messages conveyed are very carefully designed to address the individual segment’s needs and concerns and thus are able to achieve a higher “hit rate” than mass marketing. In countries where people have easy access to newspapers and variety of general and special-interest magazines and television channels consumers are constantly exposed to new ideas, products, opinions and advertisement.
These mass-media communications provide an important source of information that influences the formation of consumer attitudes. Other research indicates that for consumer who lack direct experience with a product, exposure to an emotionally appealing advertising message is more likely to create an attitude toward the product than for consumers who have beforehand secured direct experience with the product category. The new implications of these findings appear to be that emotional appeals are most effective with consumers who lack product experience.