Culture & Consumer Behaviour Thursday, Nov 27 2008 

CULTURE :

The study of culture is the study of all aspects of a society. It is the language, knowledge, laws, and customs that give that society its distinctive character and personality. In the context of consumer behaviour, culture is defined as the sum total of learned behaviours, beliefs, values, customs that serve to regulate the consumer behaviour of members of a particular society. 

Beliefs and Values are guiding principles while customs are the usual and accepted norms of behaviour.

The impact of the culture on the society is so natural and so ingrained that its influence on behaviours is rarely noted. It is like fish distinguishing water.

Culture offers orders, direction and guidance to members of society in all phases of human problem solving.

Culture is dynamic and gradually and continually evolves to meet the needs of the society.

Culture is learned as a part of the social experience. Children acquire a set of beliefs, values and customs, which constitutes the culture,from the environment. These beliefs, values and customs are acquired through formal learning, informal learning and technical learning.

Advertising enhances formal learning by reinforcing desired modes of behavior and expectations; it enhances informal learning by providing models for behaviour.

Culture is communicated to members of society through a common language and through commonly shared symbols. Because the human mind has the ability to absorb and to process symbolic communication, marketers can successfully promote both tangible and intangible products and product concepts to consumers through mass media.

All the elements in the marketing mix serve to communicate symbolically with the audience, Products project an image of their own, so does promotion. Price and Retail outlets symbolically convey messages concerning the quality of the product.

The elements of culture are transmitted by 3 pervasive social institutions; the family, the schools and the church. A fourth social institution that plays a major role in the transmission of culture is  the mass media, both through editorial content and through advertising.

A wide range of measurement techniques is used to study culture. The range includes Projective Techniques,attitude measurement methods, field observation,participant observation, content analysis and value measurement  survey techniques.

What are you Consumer Groups? What are their Cultures?  How are you understanding and leveraging that for your business development and client engagement?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com;  manojonkar@gmail.com; 919375970812

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Social Class and Consumer Behaviour Thursday, Nov 27 2008 

SOCIAL CLASSES & CONSUMER BEHAVIOURS:

Social Stratification, the divison of memebrs of a society into a hierarchy of distinct social classes, exists in all societies and cultures.

Social class usually is defined by the amount of status that members of a specific class possess in relation to members of other classes. Social-class membership often serves as a frame of reference for the development of consumer attitudes and behaviour.

The measurement of social class is concerned with classifying individuals into social class groupings. These groupings are of particular value to marketers, who use social classification as an effective means of identifying and segmenting target markets.

There are 3 basic methods for measuring social class:

  1. Subjective Measurement
  2. Reputational Measurement
  3. Objective Measurement

Subjective Measures rely on an individual’s self perception.

Reputational Measures rely on an individual’s perceptions of others and 

Objective Measures use specific socioeconomic mesures, either alone or in combination with others.

Composite variable indexes sucha s the index of status characteristics and the socio economic status score, cominbe a no. of socio economic factors to form one overall measure of social class standing.

Class strucutres range from two class to nine class systems. A frequently used classification system consists of 6 classes: Upper upper, lower Upper, upper middle, lower middle, upper lower, and lower lower classes.

Profiles of these clases are reflected in differences in attitudes, in leisure activities, and in consumption habits. That is why, for the marketers, social class based market segmentation is of high importance.

Geodemographic clustering is a technique that combines geogrpahic and socio economic factors to locate concentrations of consumers with particular characteristics. Particular attention currently is being directed to affluent consumers, who represent the fastest growing segment in our population; however, some marketers are finding it extremely profitable to cater to the needs of non affluent consumers.

Research has revealed social class differences in clothing habits, home decoration, leisure activities, as well as saving, spending and credit habits.

Thus, smart marketeres tailor specific product and promotional strategies to each social-class target segment.

Which Social classes are your customers from? How are their behaviours impacted by these various factors?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com; manojonkar@gmail.com; 919375970812

Consumer Behaviour Influencers Thursday, Nov 27 2008 

Consumer Behaviour & Purchase Decisions Influenced by Reference Groups and Families

Almost all individuals regularly interact with other people who directly or indirectly influence their purchase decisions. Therefore, the study of groups and their impacts on the individual is of great importance,specially for the marketers who want to influence the consumer behaviours in favour of their products and services.

Consumer Reference Groups are groups that serve as frames of reference for individuals in their purchase decisions. Reference groups include:

  1. Friends
  2. Work Groups
  3. Shopping Groups
  4. Virtual Groups & Communities
  5. Consumer Action Groups.

Normative Reference Groups are those groups that influence general values or behaviour.

Comparative Reference Groups are those that influence Specific Attitudes.

Consumer Reference Groups include groups with which consumers have no direct face to face contact such as film stars, sportspersons, other celebrities and social classes.

The credibility, attractiveness and power of the reference group affect the degree of influence it has. Reference group appeals are used very effectively by some advertisers in promoting their goods and services because they subtly induce the prospective consumer to identify with the pictured user of the product.

The 5 reference group appeals most commonly used in marketing are:

  1. Celebrities
  2. Experts
  3. Common Man
  4. Executive and Employee spokesperson
  5. Trade Spokes Character

Celebrities are used to give testimonials or endorsements as actors or as company spokespersons.

Experts may be recognized experts in the concerned product category or actors playing the part of experts.

The common man approach is designed to show that individuals who are just like the prospective customers are satisfied with the advertised product or service.

Companies are using their top executives as spokespersons because their appearance in company advertisements seems to imply that someone at the top is watching over the customer’s interest.

For many customers, their family is their primary reference group for many attitudes and behaviours.

The family is the primary target for most products and services. As the most basic membership group, families are defined as two or more persons related by blood, marriage or adoption who reside together.

There are 3 types of families: Married Couples, Nuclear Families and Extended Families. 

Socialization is the core function of the family. Other functions being economic and emotional support and the pursuit of a suitable lifestyle for its members.

The members of a family assume specific roles in their everyday functioning: such roles or tasks extend to the realm of consumer purchase decisions. Key consumer related roles of family member include influencers, gatekeepers, deciders, buyers, preparers,users, maintainers and disposers.

A family’s decision making style in influenced by its lifestyle, roles and cultural factors e.g.: husband dominated, wife dominated, joint, autonomic decisions etc.,

Classification of the families by the various stages in the family life cycle (FLC) provides valuable insights into family consumption related behaviour.

The traditional FLC begins with bachelorhood, moves on to marriage, then to an expanding family, to a contracting family and to an end with the death of a spouse.

Various other situations also exists like childless couples, live in couples, single parents or single person households.

Who are the influencers for your Customers? How does this show up in Corporate Purchase decisions?

How are you leveraging the various influencers?

MANAGMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com; manojonkar@gmail.com; 919375970812

Consumer Learning Tuesday, Nov 25 2008 

What is Consumer Learning?

Consumer Learning is the process by which individuals acquire the purchase and consumption knowledge and experience they apply to future related behaviour.

Most of the learning is incidental. Some of it is intentional. Basic elements that contribute to an understanding of learning are:

 

  1. Motivation
  2. Cues
  3. Response
  4. Reinforcement

 

There are 2 theories on how Individuals learn:

 

  1. Behavioural Theory
  2. Cognitive Theory

 

Both contribute to an understanding of consumer behaviour.

Behavioural Theorists view learning as observable responses to stimuli, whereas Cognitive Theorists believe that learning is a function of mental processing.

3 Major Behavioural Learning Theories are :

 

  1. Classical Conditioning : Includes Repetition, Stimulus generalization and Stimulus discrimination.                                          
  2. Instrumental Conditioning: Instrumental Learning theorists believe that learning occurs through a trial and error process in which the positive outcomes in the form of results or desired outcomes lead to repeat behaviour like Repeat Purchase or Repeat Positive Word of Mouth.                                        Both positive and negative reinforcement can be used to encourage the desired behaviour. The timing of repetitions influences how long the learned material is retained. Learning usually persists longer with distributed re-inforcement schedule, while mass repetitions produce more initial learnings.                                             
  3. Observational Conditioning or Vicarious Learning:

Cognitive learning theory holds that the kind of learning most characteristics of humans is PROBLEM SOLVING. Cognitive theorists are concerned with how information is processes by the human mind: how it is stored, retained, and retrieved.

Involvement theory proposes that people engage in limited information processing in situations of low relevance to them and people engage in extensive information processing in situations of high relevance.

TV is a low involvement medium for learning and print and interactive media encourage more cognitive information processing.

Measures of consumer learning include recall and recognition tests, cognitive responses to advertising, and attitudinal and behavioural measures of brand loyalty.

A basic issue among researchers is whether to define brand loyalty in terms of consumer’s behaviours or the consumer’s attitude towards the brand. Brand Equity refers to the inherent value a brand name has in the marketplace.

Brand Loyalty consists of both attitudes and actual behaviours toward a brand and both must be measured. For marketers, the major reasons for understanding how consumers learn are to teach them that their brand is best and to develop brand loyalty.

What does your brand mean to your customers? Are they really loyal to your brand? How do you increase their loyalty?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com; manojonkar@gmail.com; 919375970812

Consumer Research – Personality & Consumer Behaviour Monday, Nov 24 2008 

Personality can be described as the psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to his or her environment. Although mostly the personality tends to remain consistent and enduring, it may change abruptly in response to a major life events. Personality also change gradually over time.

Theories:

3 theories of personality are prominent in the study of consume behaviour:

 

  1. Psychoanalytic Theory
  2. Neo-Freudian Theory and 
  3. Trait Theory

 

Freud’s psychoanalytic theory provides the foundation for the study of motivational research, which operates on the premise that human drives are largely unconscious in nature and serve to motivate many consumer actions.

Non- freudian theory tends to emphasize th fundamental role of social relationships in the formation and development of the personality.

Alfred Adler viewed human beings as seeking to overcome feelings of inferiorty.

Harry Stack Sullivan believed  that people attempt to establish significant and rewarding relationships with others.

Karen Horney saw inidividuals as trying to overcome feelings of anxiery and categorized them as compliant, aggresive or detached.

Trait Theory is a major departure from the qualitative or subjective approach to personality measurement. It postulates that individuals possess innate pyschological traits to a greater or lesser degree, and that traits can be measured by specifically designed scales or inventories.

Because they are simple to use and to score and  can be self-administered, personality inventories are the preferred mehtod for many researchers in the assessment of consumer personality.

Product and brand personalities represent real opportunities for marketers to take advantage of consumers’ connections to various brands they offer.

Brands often have personalities- some include “humanlike” traits and even gender. These brand personalities help shape consumer responses, preferences and loyalities.

Each individual has a perceived self image or images as a certain kind of person with certain traits, possessions, relationships, habits, behaviours etc., Consumers frequently attempt to preserve, enhance, alter or extend their self images by purchasing products or services and shopping at stores they percieve as consistent with their relevant self image and by avoiding products and stores they percieve as not consistent to their self image.

What are the personalities of your target consumers?

What is your company’s brand image? What is your product/services image?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com;  manojonkar@gmail.com; 91-9375970812

Customer and Consumer Behaviour Friday, Nov 21 2008 

The study of consumer behaviour enables the marketers to fully understand and be able to predict the consumer behaviours. It deals with not only with what the customer buy, but also with why, when, where, how, and how often they buy it.

Consumer Research is the Methodology that is used to study Customer and Consumer behaviour and it takes place at every stage/phase of the consumption process: before, during, and after the purchase.

The foundation fo the consumer behaviour is the Marketing Concept. Marketing Concept is the business orientation that evolved in the second half of the last century and is picking up more and more in the current environment. Marketing Concept was the evolution of the industry over the earlier concepts of production and product.

The 3 major strategies tools fo marketing are Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.

The Marketing Mix consists of a company’s products and services offering(S) to customers and the pricing, promotion and distribution methods needed to accomplish the deal.

The Professional Marketers make the customers the core of the company’s culture and ensure that all employees view any interaction with the customers as a part of a Customer Relationship and not just a Transaction. The Top 3 drivers of successful relationships between marketers and customers are customer value, high levels of customer satisfaction, and building a  structure for customer retention.

Consumer behaviour is multi disciplinary, i.e it is based on various theories and concepts about people that have been developed by scientists in such diverse disciplines as economics, cultural anthropology, social psychology, sociology and psychology.

Consumer behaviour has to be an integral part of strategic market planning. 

Contact for further inputs:

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com;   manojonkar@gmail.com;  91-9375970812