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LESSON 16:ATTITUDE FORMATION AND CHANGE
How do people, especially young students like you, form yourinitial general attitudes toward “things”? Consider your attitudetoward clothing you wear such as casual wear, and formal wear.On a more specific level, how do you form attitudes towardWoodlands, or Will life style, or Lee casual wear, or Allen Sollyformal clothing? Also, what about where such clothing ispurchased? Would you buy your casual wear, and formalclothing at Shopper’s Stop, Lifestyle, or The Metropolitan? Howdo family members and friends, celebrities admired by you,advertisements, influence the formation of you attitudesconcerning consuming or not consuming each of these types of apparel items? Why do some attitudes seem to persist indefi-nitely, while others change very often? The answer to all thesequestions are of great importance to marketers, since withoutknowing how attitudes are formed, they are unable to under-stand or to influence consumer attitudes or behaviour.The above is also true of attitude change, i.e., attitude changesare learned; they are influenced by personal experience and othersources of information, and personality affects both thereceptivity and the speed with which attitudes are likely to bealtered.
After completing this lesson you should be able to:
Understand the concept of formation of attitudes
Identify the circumstances and reasons for attitude changes
Formulate strategies for changing attitudes
1. How are attitudes formed?
We examine attitude formation by dividing into three areas:how attitudes are learned, the sources of influence on attitudeformation, and the impact of personality on attitude forma-tion.1.How attitudes are learned:1)The shift from having no attitude toward a givenobject to having an attitude is learned. The learningmay come from information exposure, consumers’own cognition (knowledge or belief), or experience.2)Consumers may form an attitude before or after apurchase.2.Sources of influence on attitude formation: personalexperience, friends and family, direct marketing, or massmedia.3.Personality factors: such as high/low need for cognition(information seeking), and social status consciousness
1.1 Learning of Attitudes
By formation of attitude, we mean a situation, where there is ashift from having no attitude towards a given object to havingsome attitude toward it. This shift from no attitude to anattitude or the formation of attitude is a result of learning.Attitudes are generally formed through:
Repeated exposure to novel social objects,
Operant conditioning and
Exposure to live and symbolic models.Consumers generally purchase new products that are associatedwith a favorably viewed brand name. Their favorable attitudetoward the brand name is frequently the result of repeatedsatisfaction with other products produced by the same com-pany. In terms of
, an established brandname is an
that has resulted in a favorablebrand attitude through past positive reinforcement. A newproduct, which is yet to be linked to the established brand,would be the
. For example, by giving a newanti-wrinkle lotion the benefit of its well-known and respectedfamily name, Johnson & Johnson may be counting on anextension of the favorable attitude already associated with thebrand name to the new product. They are counting on stimulusgeneralization from the brand name to the new product. It hasbeen shown by research that the “fit” between a parent brandlike in the case of J&J and a brand extension, for instance, J&J’santi-wrinkle, is a function of two factors: (1) the similaritybetween the pre-existing product categories already associatedwith the parent brand and the new extension, and (2) the “fit”or match between the images of the parent brand and the newextension.At times, attitudes follow the purchase and consumption of aproduct. For example, a consumer may purchase a brand-nameproduct without having a prior attitude towards it, because it isthe only product available like the last bottle of shampoo in ahotel store). Consumers sometimes make trial purchases of new brands from product categories in which they have littlepersonal involvement. If they find the purchased brand to besatisfactory, then they are likely to develop a favorable attitudetoward it.Life is too complicated to predict what attitudes will persist andwhich will change but early socialization experiences do shapeattitudes.
1.2 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,
Attitudes towards goodsand services are primarily formed through the consumer’s directexperience