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Otherwise we can say -"The just noticeable difference (JND) is the smallest difference in intensity between two stimuli that a person can detect." Psychological concept applied to consumers' purchasing patterns that holds that consumers are more likely to purchase products based on the perceived differences between products than they are to purchase based on the attributes of one product or another. In marketing there are two valuable concepts to follow. However, they sometimes use indiscernible stimuli that are just below a consumer’s threshold so as to influence him. This is called subliminal message. Of all the stimuli a consumer comes into contact with, he pays attention to only a few and interprets the messages that he remembers. This is called the process of perception and has the three steps: 1) exposure, 2) attention, and 3) interpretation. How well the consumer pays attention will depend on the stimulus, and also the consumer’s interest and need for that product. The consumer interprets the information in two ways: 1) the literal meaning or the semantic meaning and
2) the psychological meaning. A consumer also interprets the symbols and other physical features of the product on the basis of his experience and cultural beliefs which are important in Indian market and cannot be ignored. Marketers make use of perception to formulate marketing strategies. The marketers use a perceptual map, wherein they find out the attributes or the characteristics that the consumer associates with the product and they create the product accordingly. Thus, development of a brand or the logo of the product, packaging of the product, etc., have to be made keeping the consumer’s perception in mind. It is important to make a just noticeable difference and to seize opportunities. A ‘just noticeable difference’ would be a contribution and ‘opportunities’ might be the possible implications. Perception is the process through which a person forms an opinion about the various stimuli he receives from his sensory organs. In marketing, perception is concerned with understanding how the consumer views a product or service. The five senses of a person help him in this process. The marketer uses various props to stimulate the consumer, that is, through the use of colors, sound, touch, taste, or smell, to observe the
product. The marketer must distinguish his message from the competitor’s message. This is the concept of Just Noticeable difference (JND) comes to their aid. It helps the consumer to distinguish changes in prices among purchase alternatives. Marketers thus use stimuli to grab customers’ attention and most often these efforts are clearly visible and known to the customer. Indian producers are also using the JND tool extensively for winning the market competition. Though the Indian market is the toughest place to compete because of various successful brands adapted by different regions of people of India where the JND technique plays a great role for existence among others. One of the basic questions regarding the effect of marketing stimuli. The ability to discriminate among stimuli is learned. Generally, frequent users of a product are better able to notice small difference in product characteristic between brands. The ability of consumer to detect the various in sensory elements is determined by their threshold level. Some consumers are more sensitive to these stimuli than others. This will be quite clear from the fact tea and coffee companies employ persons called tea or coffee ‘tasters’. Just Noticeable difference is based on the differential threshold of a consumer. A consumer will not be able to detect any change in stimulus below his threshold.
For e.g. If an unbranded detergent cost 5 percent less that consumer is regular brand, the consumer ma not notice the difference. However, if the same unbranded product costs less than 30 percent less than he is definitely going to notice the difference. Weber’s Law states that the stronger the stimulus, the greater the change required for the stimulus to be seen as different. The most important application of this law is in price. One critical implication is that the higher the original price of an item, the greater the markdown required to increase sales. For e.g. If price of a Mercedes Benz S class is reduced by 25000/-, it will not have any impact on sales because the basic price is in several Lakhs that a difference of Rs25000/- may not be noticeable for consumers. On the other hand a price reduction of even Rs5000/- for a Maruti 800 is seen to push sales substantially because of its low original price. Another example, if the price of a car is increased by Rs.1000/-/- it would probably not be noticed i.e., the increment would fall below the J.N.D. it may take an increase of Rs.5000/-/- or more before a differential in price would be noticed. However even an one rupee increase in oil price would be noticed very quickly because it is a significant percentage of the initial amount So an additional level of stimuli equivalent to the J.N.D. must be added for the majority of people to
perceive a difference between resulting stimulus and the initial stimulus. Absolute Threshold is stimulus below which consumers cannot detect the stimulus at all. It is also referred to as subliminal perception .i.e. perception of stimulus below the conscious level. One of the major controversies regarding consumer perceptions is whether consumers can actually perceive marketing stimuli below their absolute level. The level at which consumer’s no longer notice a frequently repeated stimulus. An individual walking into an air-conditioned room, kitchen full of fragrance, or a noisy party will notice the stimuli after a period of time. Consumer differs in their level of adaptation. Some tune out more quickly then others. Novelty, humour, contrast, and movement are all stimulus effects that may gain consumer’s attention and reduce their attention and reduce their adaptation. Price perceptions directly influence consumer’s perceptions of brand quality and determine their purchasing behaviour. For e.g. Parker pens were positioned as expensive, hand finished pens. In order to achieve large volume of growth and to share a pie of the explosive growing ballpoints, Parker entered this market for cheap pens moving away from its traditional positioning. The results were disastrous because company’s image was not consistent with its price. In the late eighties, it
moved back to its strength, high priced fountain pens, with an ad campaign featuring style and luxury. This shift made the company profitable again. Raising prices of products and services in a country like India may result in adverse reactions from consumers, especially the mass consumers. It may even alienate consumers from a brand. One important factor to consider while raising prices is how much to raise it by. Is it possible to raise prices to an extent where consumers fail to notice the price rise ? Yes, it is. To do that, the price must be raised to just below the JND, or the Just noticeable difference. 'Price' is a stimulus. If price is raised to an extent where it is within the differential threshold, then the 'raise' would not be noticed. Now that is something HUL (Hindustan Unilever Limited) has raised the price of its soaps, skin creams and detergents as costs of raw materials like palm oil, an ingredient used in the manufacture of soaps, and linear alkyl benzene, a key input for detergents, have increased. Hindustan Lever raised the price for a 1.5-kilogram, or 3.3-pound, package of its Surf Excel Blue detergent pack to 120 rupees from 117 rupees. The price of a 45gram pack of Lux soap was raised to 6 rupees from 5 rupees. A 9-gram pack of Fair & Lovely cream was raised to 6 rupees from 5 rupees. The consumer perception has changed but brand
positioning of HUL (Hindustan Unilever Limited) is excellent which has improved the market share in India. In Telecom sector of India-“Brand morphism in telecom is a quick process. An SMS on day one can change the name in nanoseconds.” Brand buyouts are essentially cruel events. A brand is created from scratch, nurtured with care, galvanized into activity and made to happen. Consumers gravitate towards the brand, involvement deepens, value creation is at work and the brand buzzes. And then, all of a sudden, in comes a buyer, buys into its equity and all things physical, non-physical (and meta-physical alike) that surround a brand name. And the buyer has a call to take. Change the name? Or retain it the way it is? The brand is a name, a slogan, a logo, a colour, a differentiation and 43 other things altogether. But is it a name alone? Not really. The Hutch name, for instance, is not a name alone. It is much more. It is the collective equity that is represented by the name, the service, the dependability, the experience at large, the colour, the logo, the fonts that speak of Hutch and everything else that lies in the amorphous space of other attendant attributes. As the early statutory issues are cleared, one can expect intelligence in the transition. The tool of 'Just noticeable difference (JND) can be used to advantage. Brand identity changes
can happen for many reasons. In most recent cases, particularly Axis Bank and Vodafone, the identity change was all about a need for a new name to replace the old. In the first case, it was a statutory imperative and in the second, it was due to a change of ownership pattern. The key need is, however, to convey that the change is but a name change alone. Nothing else has changed. We are the same. Our reliability continues. The key points one needs to focus on in such changes are the link elements in terms of visual, aural and experiential imagery that the old brand enjoys in the minds and hearts of consumers. It is important to audit these points carefully and emerge with bridge elements that will continue in the new communication exercise. In such an audit that is consumer-centric, you could emerge with as many as 1,200-1,600 points that spell the meaning of the old brand to the consumer. You need to short-list from this by giving specific weightage to those points that must remain inalienable from the new identity you are about to convey and build. After having gone through this laborious exercise, brands need to ensure that the old imagery balances itself with the new. It is important for the new elements in the brand communication exercise to have the right weightage. For instance, the Vodafone logo and its dominance. Brand-name morphs are sensitive
exercises. One deals with them through a series of executions. At times one execution is not enough. For instance, Vodafone will need to have a very quick second-generation campaign following the pug in the new kennel. This campaign needs to be new-identity-specific. ‘Just Noticeable Difference’ format where its presence is slowly phased to a smaller degree of significance visually. Application of JND for marketing strategy: Product Pricing: Producers apply this concept of differential threshold in pricing of two or more brands of the same company. For example different brands of fruit juices of same company with different price range. Product Packaging: This concept is applied for the products for maintaining a uniform or stable identity of product. So, that consumer can identify easily about the product and its categories. Packaging also reflects the name of company. For example- snacks packaging, different snacks of same company. Product Extension: This concept is applicable for extending the different variety of product under the same brand name for retaining the market share effectively by using the different modes of publicity. The main idea behind it is to strengthen the core brand of the product.
Identity Retention: Subpart of advertising concept applied for a product to be more identified infront of consumers and the frequent actions and stable frequency of product picture through different modes creates a unforgettable object in consumers mind. Product Comparison: it’s a subpart of product positioning. Producers apply this concept of differential threshold comparisons for proving that there is significant difference in their products as compared to other products prevailing in the market. For example in case of soft drinks marketing in India. Product Perception: Producers apply this concept for introducing their same type of products near different segment of consumers. Distribution Channels: Producers apply this concept in distribution of product through different channels for the same product group. For example dairy products through different cannels. Product Promotion: Producers apply this concept in promoting the sales of product to maintain the similarity and cost reduction. Just noticeable difference Why is it a 10% off sale fails to get your attention while a 50% off sale brings in consumers from the surrounding counties? The explanation can be found in the concept of just noticeable difference
(JND) (also sometimes called the differential threshold). The just noticeable difference is the minimum change necessary for a person to detect it. This concept is typically applied to the five senses but it is equally valid when applied to marketing concepts such as price and quality. The importance of JND to marketers is the challenge in determining the amount of change necessary for it to be noticed by the consumers. Any change less than the JND is wasted because it is not perceived. But jus as importantly, any change significantly larger then the JND can also be considered wasteful because you end up spending more than is necessary to elicit the necessary response (e.g., the customer’s attention). This also may end up with you irritating the customer (in the case or increasing volume to get their attention or visual excitement and color scheme). An example of the JND can be seen in the example at the beginning of this column. The reason the 10% sale does not excite is that it is below the JND. Research has proven that the JND for price tends to be between 20 to 25%. Any sale below that will tend not to get much attention because the consumer does not believe it makes large enough difference for him/her to spend the effort
to purchase. However much the 50% off sale price may attract the consumers, you will end up giving up money since it was more than enough to get their attention. In fact, going beyond the JND can actually hurt you in the long run. How can this be? Weber’s Law indicates that the stronger the initial sensation, the greater the additional intensity that is needed to be perceived as different. If you turn your stereo system to nearly a whisper, it does not take much for you to know when the volume has been turned up. However, turn it up until the walls start shaking and it will require considerable increase in volume for the near-deaf to realize the already loud volume has become louder. Why then might 50% actually be detrimental to your business? A retailer that earns the reputation for constantly having sales will find they must continually increase the discount to receive the same attention as before. The situation is analogous to an addict: to continue to get high, the addict must continue to increase the dosage since the body has gotten used to the previously high level and the addict must increase the dosage to create a JND and a new high. If customers start to expect 20 and 25% sales (or discounted price regularly), this become the level from which they will gauge actual sales.
You must discount the from the newly established price point (which was the 20 to 25% off ). So now you have to discount 20 to 25% off the previous 20 or 25% discount or 35% or more to achieve the same level of attention as you did before. If you start from a higher base (say the 50%), and that base becomes the norm, you will have to discount from that base to get their attention. During the last few years, automotive companies have fallen into this trap: to keep sales going they have had to increase the level of rebates. What is the moral of the story? Customers do not change their intentions unless the promotional discount is above the JND threshold. This threshold also differs from brand to brand: the threshold for name brands is lower than for store brands. Stores therefore can attract customers by offering a smaller discount on name brands than they can on store brands or private brands. A marketer is therefore wise to reframe from offering discounts that are below the differential threshold or too much above. He would also be wise in not being too predictable in offering the discounts or more than occasionally as it could affect the baseline necessary to get the consumer’s difference.
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