With the notion “consumer is king”, marketers and theorist alike have tried for many years to establish, what influences consumer buying behaviour. This is a critical analysis for marketers and businesses alike. Since there main goal is to create repeated purchase and maximise profits. The individual, who can figure out literally, what influence consumer’s behaviour, would have the comparative advantage over competitors. Manipulating the results towards a profitable outcome of their business. However, there is no one determinant factor that influences consumer’s evaluation of brands.
Sometimes consumers purchase brands for no apparent reason, or to satisfy some type of need or want. Many studies have been done in the past, dividing the consumer as an emotional Being having an affective impact, and as a thinker in which the consumer follows a cognitive process. Psychological factors that shape consumer’s Cognitive process The cognitive process is basically psychoanalysis1 of consumer’s evaluation towards a brand. This can be affected by the individual’s perception2, attention, comprehension beliefs3 and attitude4 towards a particular brand.
The consumer seeks information that would help comprehend the positive and negative attributes of a brand. In which they would then interpret to make an informed decision. Consumers compare brands that are offered in which they form evaluation of stimuli an attribute in making decision. Attributes can be both intrinsic where the consumer goals may be to purchase a new car such as a BMW with special features performance, mileage and more. It can be extrinsic in that the consumer must first learn to drive before fulfilling their goals or desires in owning a car.
Motivation5 has long been a psychological factor influencing consumer’s behaviour. The need to satisfy a particular want or desire motivates customers to amend problems recognised. A man may purchase a Rolex watch to tell the time, however he may also be satisfying a subconscious desire. This brings into play Maslow’s theory6 of self-esteem need. The wanting to belong to a particular social class that contributes feels good factors. However each need of the hierarchy must be fulfilled before moving up the pyramid. Satisfying one’s need after the next until reaching self-actualisation.
This shows that consumers evaluate brands on the level that they relate to. There can also be motivational conflict amongst the consumer. For instance a homeless person who is hungry would have to choose between, satisfying his hunger and searching for a place to rest. In the same manner an individual would have to choose between a brand he likes and something that is necessary. Such as an inner conflict with in an individual, should I have the chocolate or the granola bar? Consumers may perceive a situation differently, in which the brain might interpret information.
For instance, at a wine tasting test, where the same wine was served to three individuals, the first person said it was bland, the second person said it went down smooth with a rich aroma; and the third said it had a sweet but bitter taste. The same can be argued about the way consumer perceives the same brand differently. In which different attributes and stimuli of the brand captures their attention. The stimuli and attributes they may be exposed to, may attract the consumer’s attention storing information in memory of what may be important or not.
Consumers may have selective memory where a brand had a favourable impact on a customer. Leaving that impression may reinforce repeated sales of that brand. Forming an evaluation based on the way the consumer perceives that brand to be. In which the consumer may be exposed to strong brand names, such as Nike and its logo that stands out from the consumer environment. Strong brands with in the consumer’s environment may be avoided, at the risk of being perceived as brand conscious.
Other psychological factors7 such as the consumer’s age, gender and income level, social status would capture the attention of consumers. In which they may then make a comprehended decision base on the brand that satisfy those requirements. For instance a woman in her late 40’s may be in the post nesting8 life cycle. She may purchase a pair of Nike running shoes to get into shape or try to recapture her youth. Selective distribution of brands may be influenced by the way a consumer’s neighbour or close friend perceives a particular product.
Whether the out come is negative or positive an interpretation is formed in the consumer’s mind already. Customer’s attitude towards a brand may be evaluated through their lifetime experiences, interacting with people as well comparing different brands. Belief may be based on received wisdom or religion that is strongly held. The same belief towards a brand can be passed on to generations. For instance, a consumer’s grandmother and mother may have believed that, Breeze laundry detergent is the best product for doing laundry.
The relationship may cause the behaviour of the consumer towards that particular brand of detergent. Trying to change the attitude of the customer may be difficult to change, because of the feelings associated towards that brand. Reinforcing consumer’s behaviour and attitude towards repeated sales, as well as customer loyalty towards that brand. The consumer may be tempted to use and compare different brand. If the product does not live up to there expectations, the consumer begins to second-guess their purchasing decision which is known as cognitive dissonance.
As an Emotional Being – Effective All consumers do not make decisions in the same manner; some may browse and compare, or may know exactly what they want and purchase an item on the spot. Plato’s theory shows than consumer’s decisions may be influenced by three factors the Brain, emotion and instincts. Learning Consumers learn when they encounter certain experiences, or when they act towards something personal. This changes the behaviour of a consumer towards that particular action. It occurs when there is interplay among the drive, stimuli, responses and reinforcement.
When purchasing a brand the consumer may be rewarded, as it may perform many functions. The consumer then develops a preference over one brand than the other. Learning may also be enhanced, by the consumer’s ability to retain information, stored in their long-term memory until it is ready to be used10. For instance adverts that may be continuously promoting a brand, such as cosmetics with special attributes durability long lasting, and age defying. A person that is seeking those attributes may pay attention to the next advert when in search of the product.