“Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments”
Counting Carefully – The Base Rate Fallacy
The Prosecutor’s Fallacy
Humans are inherently social animals, and individuals greatly influence each other.
A useful framework of analysis of group influence on the individual is the so called reference group—the term comes about because an individual uses a relevant group as a standard of reference against which oneself is compared. Reference groups come in several different forms.
- The aspirational reference group refers to those others against whom one would like to compare oneself. For example, many firms use athletes as spokespeople, and these represent what many people would ideally like to be.
- Associative reference groups include people who more realistically represent the individuals’ current equals or near-equals—e.g., coworkers, neighbors, or members of churches, clubs, and organizations. Paco Underhill, a former anthropologist turned retail consultant and author of the book Why We Buy has performed research suggesting that among many teenagers, the process of clothes buying is a two stage process. In the first stage, the teenagers go on a “reconnaissance” mission with their friends to find out what is available and what is “cool.” This is often a lengthy process. In the later phase, parents—who will need to pay for the purchases—are brought. This stage is typically much briefer.
- Finally, the dissociative reference group includes people that the individual would not like to be like. For example, the store literally named The Gap came about because many younger people wanted to actively dissociate from parents and other older and “uncool” people. The Quality Paperback Book Club specifically suggests in its advertising that its members are “a breed apart” from conventional readers of popular books.
Reference groups come with various degrees of influence. Primary reference groups come with a great deal of influence—e.g., members of a fraternity/sorority. Secondary reference groups tend to have somewhat less influence—e.g., members of a boating club that one encounters only during week-ends are likely to have their influence limited to consumption during that time period.
Another typology divides reference groups into the informational kind (influence is based almost entirely on members’ knowledge), normative (members influence what is perceived to be “right,” “proper,” “responsible,” or “cool”), or identification. The difference between the latter two categories involves the individual’s motivation for compliance. In case of the normative reference group, the individual tends to comply largely for utilitarian reasons—dressing according to company standards is likely to help your career, but there is no real motivation to dress that way outside the job. In contrast, people comply with identification groups’ standards for the sake of belonging—for example, a member of a religious group may wear a symbol even outside the house of worship because the religion is a part of the person’s identity.
Background. Our perception is an approximation of reality. Our brain attempts to make sense out of the stimuli to which we are exposed. This works well, for example, when we “see” a friend three hundred feet away at his or her correct height; however, our perception is sometimes “off”—for example, certain shapes of ice cream containers look like they contain more than rectangular ones with the same volume.
Factors in percpetion. Several sequential factors influence our perception. Exposure involves the extent to which we encounter a stimulus. For example, we are exposed to numerous commercial messages while driving on the freeway: bill boards, radio advertisements, bumper-stickers on cars, and signs and banners placed at shopping malls that we pass. Most of this exposure is random—we don’t plan to seek it out. However, if we are shopping for a car, we may deliberately seek out advertisements and “tune in” when dealer advertisements come on the radio.
Exposure is not enough to significantly impact the individual—at least not based on a single trial (certain advertisements, or commercial exposures such as the “Swoosh” logo, are based on extensive repetition rather than much conscious attention). In order for stimuli to be consciously processed, attention is needed. Attention is actually a matter of degree—our attention may be quite high when we read directions for getting an income tax refund, but low when commercials come on during a television program. Note, however, that even when attention is low, it may be instantly escalated—for example, if an advertisement for a product in which we are interested comes on.
Interpretation involves making sense out of the stimulus. For example, when we see a red can, we may categorize it as a CokeÒ.
Weber’s Law suggests that consumers’ ability to detect changes in stimulus intensity appear to be strongly related to the intensity of that stimulus to begin with. That is, if you hold an object weighing one pound in your hand, you are likely to notice it when that weight is doubled to two pounds. However, if you are holding twenty pounds, you are unlikely to detect the addition of one pound—a change that you easily detected when the initial weight was one pound. You may be able to eliminate one ounce from a ten ounce container, but you cannot as easily get away with reducing a three ounce container to two (instead, you must accomplish that gradually—e.g., 3.0 –> 2.7 –> 2.5 –> 2.3 –> 2.15 –> 2.00).
Several factors influence the extent to which stimuli will be noticed. One obvious issue is relevance. Consumers, when they have a choice, are also more likely to attend to pleasant stimuli (but when the consumer can’t escape, very unpleasant stimuli are also likely to get attention—thus, many very irritating advertisements are remarkably effective). One of the most important factors, however, is repetition. Consumers often do not give much attention to a stimuli—particularly a low priority one such as an advertisement—at any one time, but if it is seen over and over again, the cumulative impact will be greater.
Surprising stimuli are likely to get more attention—survival instinct requires us to give more attention to something unknown that may require action. A greater contrast (difference between the stimulus and its surroundings) as well as greater prominence (e.g., greater size, center placement) also tend to increase likelihood of processing.
Subliminal stimuli. Back in the 1960s, it was reported that on selected evenings, movie goers in a theater had been exposed to isolated frames with the words “Drink Coca Cola” and “Eat Popcorn” imbedded into the movie. These frames went by so fast that people did not consciously notice them, but it was reported that on nights with frames present, Coke and popcorn sales were significantly higher than on days they were left off. This led Congress to ban the use of subliminal advertising. First of all, there is a question as to whether this experiment ever took place or whether this information was simply made up. Secondly, no one has been able to replicate these findings. There is research to show that people will start to giggle with embarrassment when they are briefly exposed to “dirty” words in an experimental machine. Here, again, the exposure is so brief that the subjects are not aware of the actual words they saw, but it is evident that something has been recognized by the embarrassment displayed.
Learning and Memory
Background. Learning involves “a change in the content or organization of long term memory and/or behavior.” The first part of the definition focuses on what we know (and can thus put to use) while the second focuses on concrete behavior. For example, many people will avoid foods that they consumed shortly before becoming ill. Learning is not all knowledge based. For example, we may experience the sales people in one store being nicer to us than those in the other. We thus may develop a preference for the one store over the other; however, if pressed, we may not be able to give a conscious explanation as to the reason for our preference.
Much early work on learning was actually done on rats and other animals (and much of this research was unjustifiably cruel, but that is another matter).
Classical conditioning. Pavlov’s early work on dogs was known as classical conditioning. Pavlov discovered that when dogs were fed meat powder they salivated. Pavlov then discovered that if a bell were rung before the dogs were fed, the dogs would begin salivating in anticipation of being fed (this was efficient, since they could then begin digesting the meat powder immediately). Pavlov then found that after the meat had been “paired” with the meat powder enough times, Pavlov could ring the bell without feeding the dogs and they would still salivate.
In the jargon of classical conditioning, the meat powder was an unconditioned stimulus (US) and the salivation was, when preceded by the meat powder, an unconditioned response (UR). That is, it is a biologically “hard-wired” response to salivate when you are fed. By pairing the bell with the unconditioned stimulus, the bell became a conditioned stimulus (CS) and salivation in response to the bell (with no meat powder) became a conditioned response (CR).
Many modern day advertisers use classical conditioning in some way. Consider this sequence:
Operant conditioning. Instrumental, or operant, conditioning, involves a different series of events, and this what we usually think of as learning. The general pattern is:
There are three major forms of operant learning. In positivereinforcement, an individual does something and is rewarded. He or she is then more likely to repeat the behavior. For example, you eat a candy bar (behavior), it tastes good (consequence), and you are thus more likely to eat a similar candy bar in the future (behavioral change).
Punishment is the opposite. You eat what looks like a piece of candy (behavior), only to discover that it is a piece of soap with a foul taste (consequences), and subsequently you are less likely to eat anything that looks remotely like that thing ever again (changed behavior).
It should be noted that negative reinforcement is very different from punishment. An example of negative reinforcement is an obnoxious sales person who calls you up on the phone, pressuring you into buying something you don’t want to do (aversive stimulus). You eventually agree to buy it (changed behavior), and the sales person leaves you alone (the aversive stimulus is terminated as a result of consequences of your behavior).
In general, marketers usually have relatively little power to use punishment or negative reinforcement. However, parking meters are often used to discourage consumers from taking up valuable parking space, and manufacturers may void warranties if the consumers take their product to non-authorized repair facilities.
Several factors influence the effectiveness of operant learning. In general, the closer in time the consequences are to the behavior, the more effective the learning. That is, electric utilities would be more likely to influence consumers to use less electricity at peak hours if the consumers actually had to pay when they used electricity (e.g., through a coin-slot) rather than at the end of the month. Learning is also more likely to occur when the individual can understand a relationship between behavior and consequences (but learning may occur even if this relationship is not understood consciously).
Another issue is schedules of reinforcement and extinction. Extinction occurs when behavior stops having consequences and the behavior then eventually stops occurring. For example, if a passenger learns that yelling at check-in personnel no longer gets her upgraded to first class, she will probably stop that behavior. Sometimes, an individual is rewarded every time a behavior is performed (e.g., a consumer gets a soft drink every time coins are put into a vending machine). However, it is not necessary to reward a behavior every time for learning to occur. Even if a behavior is only rewarded some of the time, the behavior may be learned. Several different schedules of reinforcement are possible:
- Fixed interval: The consumer is given a free dessert on every Tuesday when he or she eats in a particular restaurant.
- Fixed ratio: Behavior is rewarded (or punished) on every nth occasion that it is performed. (E.g., every tenth time a frequent shopper card is presented, a free product is provided).
- Variable ratio: Every time an action is performed, there is a certain percentage chance that a reward will be given. For example, every time the consumer enters the store, he or she is given a lottery ticket. With each ticket, there is a 20% chance of getting a free hamburger. The consumer may get a free hamburger twice in a row, or he or she may go ten times without getting a hamburger even once.
Variable ratio reinforcement is least vulnerable to extinction.
Sometimes, shaping may be necessary to teach the consumer the desired behavior. That is, it may be impossible to teach the consumer to directly perform the desired behavior. For example, a consumer may first get a good product for free (the product itself, if good, is a reward), then buy it with a large cents off coupon, and finally buy it at full price. Thus, we reinforce approximations of the desired behavior. Rather than introducing Coca Cola directly in Indonesia, fruit flavored soft drinks were first introduced, since these were more similar to beverages already consumed.
Vicarious learning. The consumer does not always need to go through the learning process himself or herself—sometimes it is possible to learn from observing the consequences of others. For example, stores may make a big deal out of prosecuting shop lifters not so much because they want to stop that behavior in the those caught, but rather to deter the behavior in others. Similarly, viewers may empathize with characters in advertisements who experience (usually positive) results from using a product. The Head ‘n’ Shoulders advertisement, where a poor man is rejected by women until he treats his dandruff with an effective cure, is a good example of vicarious learning.
Memory ranges in duration on a continuum from extremely short to very long term. Sensory memory includes storage of stimuli that one might not actually notice (e.g., the color of an advertisement some distance away). For slightly longer duration, when you see an ad on TV for a mail order product you might like to buy, you only keep the phone number in memory until you have dialed it. This is known as short term memory. In order for something to enter into long term memory, which is more permanent, you must usually “rehearse” it several times. For example, when you move and get a new phone number, you will probably repeat it to yourself many times. Alternatively, you get to learn your driver’s license or social security numbers with time, not because you deliberately memorize them, but instead because you encounter them numerous times as you look them up.
Several techniques can be used to enhance the memorability of information. “Chunking” involves rearranging information so that fewer parts need to be remembered. For example, consider the phone number (800) 444-1000. The eight digits can be more economically remembered as an 800 number (1 piece), four repeated 3 times (2 pieces), and 1000 (1-2 pieces). “Rehearsal” involves the consumer repeating the information over and over so that it can be remembered; this is often done so that a phone number can be remembered while the “memoree” moves to the phone to dial it. “Recirculation” involves repeated exposure to the same information; the information is not learned deliberately, but is gradually absorbed through repetition. Thus, it is to the advantage to a marketer to have an advertisement repeated extensively—especially the brand name. “Elaboration” involves the consumer thinking about the object—e.g., the product in an advertisement—and thinking about as many related issues as possible. For example, when seeing an ad for Dole bananas, the person may think of the color yellow, going to the zoo seeing a monkey eating a banana, and her grandmother’s banana-but bread. The Dole brand name may then be activated when any of those stimuli are encountered.
Memories are not always easily retrievable. This could be because the information was given lower priority than something else—e.g., we have done a lot of things since last buying a replacement furnace filter and cannot remember where this was bought last. Other times, the information can be retrieved but is not readily “available”—e.g., we will be able to remember the location of a restaurant we tried last time we were in Paris, but it may take some thinking before the information emerges.
“Spreading activation” involves the idea of one memory “triggering” another one. For example, one might think of Coke every time one remembers a favorite (and very wise) professor who frequently brought one to class. Coke might also be tied a particular supermarket that always stacked a lot of these beverages by the entrance, and to baseball where this beverage was consumed after the game. It is useful for firms to have their product be activated by as many other stimuli as possible.
There are numerous reasons why retrieval can fail or, in less fancy terms, how we come to forget. One is decay. Here, information that is not accessed frequently essentially “rusts” away. For example, we may not remember the phone number of a friend to whom we have not spoken for several months and may forget what brand of bullets an aunt prefers if we have not gone ammunition shopping with her lately. Other times, the problem may rest in interference. Proactive interference involves something we have learned interfering with what we will late later. Thus, if we remember that everyone in our family always used Tide, we may have more difficulty later remembering what other brands are available. You may be unable to remember what a new, and less important, friend’s last name is if that person shares a first name with an old friend. For example, if your best friend for many years has been Jennifer Smith, you may have difficulty remembering that your new friend Jennifer’s last name is Silverman. In retroactive interference, the problem is the reverse—learning something new blocks out something old. For example, if you once used WordPerfect than then switched to Microsoft Word, you may have trouble remembering how to use WordPerfect at a friend’s house—more so than if you had merely not used any word processing program for some time.
Memorability can be enhanced under certain conditions. One is more likely to remember favorable—or likable stimuli (all other things being equal). Salience—or the extent to which something is highly emphasized or very clearly evident—facilitates memory. Thus, a product which is very visible in an ad, and handled and given attention by the actors, will more likely be remembered. Prototypicality involves the extent to which a stimulus is a “perfect” example of a category. Therefore, people will more likely remember Coke or Kleenex than competing brands. Congruence involves the “fit” with a situation. Since memory is often reconstructed based on what seems plausible, something featured in an appropriate setting—e.g., charcoal on a porch next to a grill rather than in a garage or kitchen—is more likely to be remembered (unless the incongruence triggers an elaboration—life is complicated!) Redundancies involve showing the stimulus several times. Thus, if a given product is shown several places in a house—and if the brand name is repeated—it is more likely to be remembered.
Priming involves tying a stimulus with something so that if “that something” is encountered, the stimulus is more likely to be retrieved. Thus, for example, when one thinks of anniversaries, the Hallmark brand name is more likely to be activated. (This is a special case of spreading activation discussed earlier).
A special issue in memory are so called “scripts,” or procedures we remember for doing things. Scripts involve a series of steps for doing various things (e.g., how to send a package). In general, it is useful for firms to have their brand names incorporated into scripts (e.g., to have the consumer reflexively ask the pharmacist for Bayer rather than an unspecified brand of aspirin).
Positioning involves implementing our targeting. For example, Apple Computer has chosen to position itself as a maker of user-friendly computers. Thus, Apple has done a lot through its advertising to promote itself, through its unintimidating icons, as a computer for “non-geeks.” The Visual C software programming language, in contrast, is aimed a “techies.”
Repositioning involves an attempt to change consumer perceptions of a brand, usually because the existing position that the brand holds has become less attractive. Sears, for example, attempted to reposition itself from a place that offered great sales but unattractive prices the rest of the time to a store that consistently offered “everyday low prices.” Repositioning in practice is very difficult to accomplish. A great deal of money is often needed for advertising and other promotional efforts, and in many cases, the repositioning fails.
Diffusion of Innovation
Products tend to go through a life cycle. Initially, a product is introduced. Since the product is not well known and is usually expensive (e.g., as microwave ovens were in the late 1970s), sales are usually limited. Eventually, however, many products reach a growth phase—sales increase dramatically. More firms enter with their models of the product. Frequently, unfortunately, the product will reach a maturity stage where little growth will be seen. For example, in the United States, almost every household has at least one color TV set. Some products may also reach a decline stage, usually because the product category is being replaced by something better. For example, typewriters experienced declining sales as more consumers switched to computers or other word processing equipment. The product life cycle is tied to the phenomenon of diffusion of innovation. When a new product comes out, it is likely to first be adopted by consumers who are more innovative than others—they are willing to pay a premium price for the new product and take a risk on unproven technology. It is important to be on the good side of innovators since many other later adopters will tend to rely for advice on the innovators who are thought to be more knowledgeable about new products for advice.
At later phases of the PLC, the firm may need to modify its market strategy. For example, facing a saturated market for baking soda in its traditional use, Arm ü Hammer launched a major campaign to get consumers to use the product to deodorize refrigerators. Deodorizing powders to be used before vacuuming were also created.
It is sometimes useful to think of products as being either new or existing.
Many firms today rely increasingly on new products for a large part of their sales. New products can be new in several ways. They can be new to the market—noone else ever made a product like this before. For example, Chrysler invented the minivan. Products can also be new to the firm—another firm invented the product, but the firm is now making its own version. For example, IBM did not invent the personal computer, but entered after other firms showed the market to have a high potential. Products can be new to the segment—e.g., cellular phones and pagers were first aimed at physicians and other price-insensitive segments. Later, firms decided to target the more price-sensitive mass market. A product can be new for legal purposes. Because consumers tend to be attracted to “new and improved” products, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) only allows firms to put that label on reformulated products for six months after a significant change has been made.The diffusion of innovation refers to the tendency of new products, practices, or ideas to spread among people. Usually, when new products or ideas come about, they are only adopted by a small group of people initially; later, many innovations spread to other people.
The bell shaped curve frequently illustrates the rate of adoption of a new product. Cumulative adoptions are reflected by the S-shaped curve. The saturation point is the maximum proportion of consumers likely to adopt a product.
In the case of refrigerators in the U.S., the saturation level is nearly one hundred percent of households; it well below that for video games that, even when spread out to a large part of the population, will be of interest to far from everyone.
Several specific product categories have case histories that illustrate important issues in adoption. Until some time in the 1800s, few physicians bothered to scrub prior to surgery, even though new scientific theories predicted that small microbes not visible to the naked eye could cause infection. Younger and more progressive physicians began scrubbing early on, but they lacked the stature to make their older colleagues follow.
ATM cards spread relatively quickly. Since the cards were used in public, others who did not yet hold the cards could see how convenient they were. Although some people were concerned about security, the convenience factors seemed to be a decisive factor in the “tug-of-war” for and against adoption.
The case of credit cards was a bit more complicated and involved a “chicken-and-egg” paradox. Accepting credit cards was not a particularly attractive option for retailers until they were carried by a large enough number of consumers. Consumers, in contrast, were not particularly interested in cards that were not accepted by a large number of retailers. Thus, it was necessary to “jump start” the process, signing up large corporate accounts, under favorable terms, early in the cycle, after which the cards became worthwhile for retailers to accept.
Rap music initially spread quickly among urban youths in large part because of the low costs of recording. Later, rap music became popular among a very different segment, suburban youths, because of its apparently authentic depiction of an exotic urban lifestyle.
Hybrid corn was adopted only slowly among many farmers. Although hybrid corn provided yields of about 20% more than traditional corn, many farmers had difficulty believing that this smaller seed could provide a superior harvest. They were usually reluctant to try it because a failed harvest could have serious economic consequences, including a possible loss of the farm. Agricultural extension agents then sought out the most progressive farmers to try hybrid corn, also aiming for farmers who were most respected and most likely to be imitated by others. Few farmers switched to hybrid corn outright from year to year. Instead, many started out with a fraction of their land, and gradually switched to 100% hybrid corn when this innovation had proven itself useful.
Several forces often work against innovation. One is risk, which can be either social or financial. For example, early buyers of the CD player risked that few CDs would be recorded before the CD player went the way of the 8 track player. Another risk is being perceived by others as being weird for trying a “fringe” product or idea. For example, Barbara Mandrell sings the song “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.” Other sources of resistance include the initial effort needed to learn to use new products (e.g., it takes time to learn to meditate or to learn how to use a computer) and concerns about compatibility with the existing culture or technology. For example, birth control is incompatible with strong religious influences in countries heavily influenced by Islam or Catholicism, and a computer database is incompatible with a large, established card file.
Innovations come in different degrees. A continuous innovation includes slight improvements over time. Very little usually changes from year to year in automobiles, and even automobiles of the 1990s are driven much the same way that automobiles of the 1950 were driven. A dynamically continuous innovation involves some change in technology, although the product is used much the same way that its predecessors were used—e.g., jet vs. propeller aircraft. A discontinous innovation involves a product that fundamentally changes the way that things are done—e.g., the fax and photocopiers. In general, discontinuous innovations are more difficult to market since greater changes are required in the way things are done, but the rewards are also often significant.
Several factors influence the speed with which an innovation spreads. One issue is relative advantage (i.e., the ratio of risk or cost to benefits). Some products, such as cellular phones, fax machines, and ATM cards, have a strong relative advantage. Other products, such as automobile satellite navigation systems, entail some advantages, but the cost ratio is high. Lower priced products often spread more quickly, and the extent to which the product is trialable (farmers did not have to plant all their land with hybrid corn at once, while one usually has to buy a cellular phone to try it out) influence the speed of diffusion. Finally, the extent of switching difficulties influences speed—many offices were slow to adopt computers because users had to learn how to use them.
Some cultures tend to adopt new products more quickly than others, based on several factors:
- Modernity: The extent to which the culture is receptive to new things. In some countries, such as Britain and Saudi Arabia, tradition is greatly valued—thus, new products often don’t fare too well. The United States, in contrast, tends to value progress.
- Homophily: The more similar to each other that members of a culture are, the more likely an innovation is to spread—people are more likely to imitate similar than different models. The two most rapidly adopting countries in the World are the U.S. and Japan. While the U.S. interestingly scores very low, Japan scores high.
- Physical distance: The greater the distance between people, the less likely innovation is to spread.
- Opinion leadership: The more opinion leaders are valued and respected, the more likely an innovation is to spread. The style of opinion leaders moderates this influence, however. In less innovative countries, opinion leaders tend to be more conservative, i.e., to reflect the local norms of resistance.
It should be noted that innovation is not always an unqualifiedly good thing. Some innovations, such as infant formula adopted in developing countries, may do more harm than good. Individuals may also become dependent on the innovations. For example, travel agents who get used to booking online may be unable to process manual reservations.
Sometimes innovations are disadopted. For example, many individuals disadopt cellular phones if they find out that they don’t end up using them much.
Introduction. Consumer attitudes are a composite of a consumer’s (1) beliefs about, (2) feelings about, (3) and behavioral intentions toward some object–within the context of marketing, usually a brand or retail store. These components are viewed together since they are highly interdependent and together represent forces that influence how the consumer will react to the object.
Beliefs. The first component is beliefs. A consumer may hold both positive beliefs toward an object (e.g., coffee tastes good) as well as negative beliefs (e.g., coffee is easily spilled and stains papers). In addition, some beliefs may be neutral (coffee is black), and some may be differ in valance depending on the person or the situation (e.g., coffee is hot and stimulates–good on a cold morning, but not good on a hot summer evening when one wants to sleep). Note also that the beliefs that consumers hold need not be accurate (e.g., that pork contains little fat), and some beliefs may, upon closer examination, be contradictory (e.g., that a historical figure was a good person but also owned slaves).
Since a consumer holds many beliefs, it may often be difficult to get down to a “bottom line” overall belief about whether an object such as McDonald’s is overall good or bad. The Multiattribute (also sometimes known as the Fishbein) Model attempts to summarize overall attitudes into one score using the equation:
That is, for each belief, we take the weight or importance (Wi) of that belief and multiply it with its evaluation (Xib). For example, a consumer believes that the taste of a beverage is moderately important, or a 4 on a scale from 1 to 7. He or she believes that coffee tastes very good, or a 6 on a scale from 1 to 7. Thus, the product here is 4(6)=24. On the other hand, he or she believes that the potential of a drink to stain is extremely important (7), and coffee fares moderately badly, at a score -4, on this attribute (since this is a negative belief, we now take negative numbers from -1 to -7, with -7 being worst). Thus, we now have 7(-4)=-28. Had these two beliefs been the only beliefs the consumer held, his or her total, or aggregated, attitude would have been 24+(-28)=-4. In practice, of course, consumers tend to have many more beliefs that must each be added to obtain an accurate measurement.
Affect. Consumers also hold certain feelings toward brands or other objects. Sometimes these feelings are based on the beliefs (e.g., a person feels nauseated when thinking about a hamburger because of the tremendous amount of fat it contains), but there may also be feelings which are relatively independent of beliefs. For example, an extreme environmentalist may believe that cutting down trees is morally wrong, but may have positive affect toward Christmas trees because he or she unconsciously associates these trees with the experience that he or she had at Christmas as a child.
Behavioral Intention. The behavioral intention is what the consumer plans to do with respect to the object (e.g., buy or not buy the brand). As with affect, this is sometimes a logical consequence of beliefs (or affect), but may sometimes reflect other circumstances–e.g., although a consumer does not really like a restaurant, he or she will go there because it is a hangout for his or her friends.
Attitude-Behavior Consistency. Consumers often do not behave consistently with their attitudes for several reasons:
- Ability. He or she may be unable to do so. Although junior high school student likes pick-up trucks and would like to buy one, she may lack a driver’s license.
- Competing demands for resources. Although the above student would like to buy a pickup truck on her sixteenth birthday, she would rather have a computer, and has money for only one of the two.
- Social influence. A student thinks that smoking is really cool, but since his friends think it’s disgusting, he does not smoke.
- Measurement problems. Measuring attitudes is difficult. In many situations, consumers do not consciously set out to enumerate how positively or negatively they feel about mopeds, and when a market researcher asks them about their beliefs about mopeds, how important these beliefs are, and their evaluation of the performance of mopeds with respect to these beliefs, consumers often do not give very reliable answers. Thus, the consumers may act consistently with their true attitudes, which were never uncovered because an erroneous measurement was made.
Attitude Change Strategies. Changing attitudes is generally very difficult, particularly when consumers suspect that the marketer has a self-serving agenda in bringing about this change (e.g., to get the consumer to buy more or to switch brands).
Changing affect. One approach is to try to change affect, which may or may not involve getting consumers to change their beliefs. One strategy uses the approach of classical conditioning try to “pair” the product with a liked stimulus. For example, we “pair” a car with a beautiful woman. Alternatively, we can try to get people to like the advertisement and hope that this liking will “spill over” into the purchase of a product. For example, the Pillsbury Doughboy does not really emphasize the conveyance of much information to the consumer; instead, it attempts to create a warm, fuzzy image. Although Energizer Bunny ads try to get people to believe that their batteries last longer, the main emphasis is on the likeable bunny. Finally, products which are better known, through the mere exposure effect, tend to be better liked–that is, the more a product is advertised and seen in stores, the more it will generally be liked, even if consumers to do not develop any specific beliefs about the product.
Changing behavior. People like to believe that their behavior is rational; thus, once they use our products, chances are that they will continue unless someone is able to get them to switch. One way to get people to switch to our brand is to use temporary price discounts and coupons; however, when consumers buy a product on deal, they may justify the purchase based on that deal (i.e., the low price) and may then switch to other brands on deal later. A better way to get people to switch to our brand is to at least temporarily obtain better shelf space so that the product is more convenient. Consumers are less likely to use this availability as a rationale for their purchase and may continue to buy the product even when the product is less conveniently located. (Notice, by the way, that this represents a case of shaping).
Changing beliefs. Although attempting to change beliefs is the obvious way to attempt attitude change, particularly when consumers hold unfavorable or inaccurate ones, this is often difficult to achieve because consumers tend to resist. Several approaches to belief change exist:
- Change currently held beliefs. It is generally very difficult to attempt to change beliefs that people hold, particularly those that are strongly held, even if they are inaccurate. For example, the petroleum industry advertised for a long time that its profits were lower than were commonly believed, and provided extensive factual evidence in its advertising to support this reality. Consumers were suspicious and rejected this information, however.
- Change the importance of beliefs. Although the sugar manufacturers would undoubtedly like to decrease the importance of healthy teeth, it is usually not feasible to make beliefs less important–consumers are likely to reason, why, then, would you bother bringing them up in the first place? However, it may be possible to strengthen beliefs that favor us–e.g., a vitamin supplement manufacturer may advertise that it is extremely important for women to replace iron lost through menstruation. Most consumers already agree with this, but the belief can be made stronger.
- Add beliefs. Consumers are less likely to resist the addition of beliefs so long as they do not conflict with existing beliefs. Thus, the beef industry has added beliefs that beef (1) is convenient and (2) can be used to make a number of creative dishes. Vitamin manufacturers attempt to add the belief that stress causes vitamin depletion, which sounds quite plausible to most people.
- Change ideal. It usually difficult, and very risky, to attempt to change ideals, and only few firms succeed. For example, Hard Candy may have attempted to change the ideal away from traditional beauty toward more unique self expression.
One-sided vs. two-sided appeals. Attitude research has shown that consumers often tend to react more favorably to advertisements which either (1) admit something negative about the sponsoring brand (e.g., the Volvo is a clumsy car, but very safe) or (2) admits something positive about a competing brand (e.g., a competing supermarket has slightly lower prices, but offers less service and selection). Two-sided appeals must, contain overriding arguments why the sponsoring brand is ultimately superior–that is, in the above examples, the “but” part must be emphasized.
The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) and Celebrity Endorsements. The ELM suggests that consumers will scrutinize claims more in important situations than in unimportant ones. For example, we found that in the study of people trying to get ahead of others in a line to use photo copiers, the compliance rate was about fifty percent when people just asked to get ahead. However, when the justification “… because I have to make copies” was added, compliance increased to 80%. Since the reason offered really did not add substantive information, we conclude that it was not extensively analyzed–in the jargon of the theory, “elaboration” was low.
The ELM suggests that for “unimportant” products, elaboration will be low, and thus Bill Cosby is able to endorse Coke and Jell-O without having any special credentials to do so. However, for products which are either expensive or important for some other reason (e.g., a pain reliever given to a child that could be harmed by using dangerous substances), elaboration is likely to be more extensive, and the endorser is expected to be “congruent,” or compatible, with the product. For example, a basket ball player is likely to be effective in endorsing athletic shoes, but not in endorsing automobiles. On the other hand, a nationally syndicated auto columnist would be successful in endorsing cars, but not athletic shoes. All of them, however, could endorse fast food restaurants effectively.
Appeal Approaches. Several approaches to appeal may be used. The use of affect to induce empathy with advertising characters may increase attraction to a product, but may backfire if consumers believe that people’s feelings are being exploited. Fear appeals appear to work only if (1) an optimal level of fear is evoked–not so much that people tune it out, but enough to scare people into action and (2) a way to avoid the feared stimulus is explicitly indicated–e.g., gingivitis and tooth loss can be avoided by using this mouth wash. Humor appears to be effective in gaining attention, but does not appear to increase persuasion in practice. In addition, a more favorable attitude toward the advertisement may be created by humorous advertising, which may in turn result in increased sales. Comparative advertising, which is illegal in many countries, often increases sales for the sponsoring brand, but may backfire in certain cultures.
you attack me.. because you can only attack a stranger…
and when you sustain it.. its called hate…
you think… i am a crackhead/methhead/smackhead/mollyhead/acidhead/pothead/pillhead/chemhead(or insert other derogatory drug user label here) or dealer cause you obviously know nothing… about… “drugs” the drug war…
where were you in 2012 when i got out of jail… after being “abused” by my step father”….
my stepfather and the community at large… hated me… for… “telling on” the drug culture out there”..
and now you are all “getting in on the “credit of the game”
i “associated” with drug users and dealers… in Kansas city mo… from 2009 to 2012( that association is divided and interment because i believe in “rests”)… personal.. in there lives.. and in there daily lives… meaning some of them i lived with daily.. while they used or dealt…
associated means connected or amalgamated with another company or companies.
to collect “data” on how… “relationships” actually “develop”
Randomized Controlled Trials
there are no…. “receipts” from drug use or sales… no product development accounting and procedural checklists… etc.. no quality control data….
no business transaction logs… or complaint logs etc..
because drugs are “illegal” there is no data… just… “lies” “shadow and flames”… running and hiding”… called “deny, deny, deny”
the data reveals that “relationships” do not “develop” but… are “setup” by “richer peoples”….
similar to a farmer farming fish… one organism “sets.. up” the other… for there “advantage”
i have not seen you do any of that… and you all “judge” a stranger you have never meet… or are going to relate with .. yet you are willing to sell them…
are you judging from outside… the “game”… from a “high chair” … a reference group….
now i am not… “unlearned” i have gone thru the “research” from “the drug war” and find no.. “data” on .. actual “drug business”…
they do not grow the drugs themselves… they all buy it… its a market…
yet they do not… “the investors” hide it.. and the investors are actually “big money” from all over the world…
it should have data… of which to extract facts from… to build “interpretations” or understandings… yet there is not… “common ones”
all the common ones… “from my experience” are “media” hacks or “distractions”.. you know all the popular get money get drugs get the girl.. media hype… thru “mass marketing”…
its all hype… “market hype”.. and so is the war on it.. the drug war is “market hype”… to get people to bandwagon either way… to divid and conqueor not “unify”,”diversity” and “equity”… etc..
mental shortcuts that avoid “heavy thinking”
Heuristics – Availability, Representativeness, Anchoring, Hindsight and more
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.