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Erik Kloeker is an Undergraduate student at Northern Kentucky University majoring in Marketing. His research interest include consumer behavior and branding, focusing on environmentally sustainable firms. Kloeker intends work in the advertising or sports and entertainment marketing field upon graduation.
Figure 3:Interest In Rock Climbing Interested In Rock Climbing Not Interested In Rock Climbing
Did you know that 110,000 pesticide poisonings are reported in the US every year? %50 of lifetime pesticide exposure occurs during the first 5 years of life according to the National Academy of Sciences. Can you say big problem? “The US is the second largest cotton producer and by far the largest exporter in the world and regularly ships 40 to 60% of its yield abroad”(1) according to the Organic Consumer’s Association. “Of the total amount of cotton pesticides used worldwide, it is estimated that 35 percent are applied to cotton fields in the United States... Close to $3 billion worth of pesticides are used on cotton worldwide each year”(2) according to the World Wildlife foundation. But there is a solution, cotton CAN be grown without pesticides. A company in California named prAna has made it their mission to be an environmentally sustainable company and produce stylish clothing made from %100 organic cotton, grown with the use of no pesticides. We have made it our mission to find out what is it that would make consumers want to buy organic clothing from prAna at the premium which organic cotton clothing is currently priced at. In the next section you will find out about our marketing research problem and objectives.
Figure 2: Owners of Organic Cotton or Recycled Fiber Clothing
Representativeness and Generalizability of Results
In pursuit of addressing out marketing research objectives, we used a referral sample, which was conducted by undergraduate students who recruited participants to take part in the survey. Of those who took part in the survey (%51) were females, (%76) were 30 years old or younger, (%68.5) were single, (%58) has an annual yearly income of less than $19,000, (%55) reported they at least somewhat agreed they environmentally concerned individuals. In (Figure 2) you can easily see that the majority of those surveyed do not own organic or recycled fiber clothing, suggesting that there is a large untapped market for the sale of environmentally friendly clothing. In (Figure 3) you can see that about one quarter of those surveyed are interested in the sport of rock climbing, a demographic that prAna currently markets to, yet only (1.7%) of those surveyed currently own any clothing from prAna. Given this information our sample is likely representative of American consumers based on the comparison we made with the results Bluezzoon Survey (4) conducted by Dr. Raska and National Geographic’s Greendex(5). We would like to note that although it is representative on a number of aspects, aspects such as income and age were not on par with average Americans, because of this I suggest that the results of our research be interpreted cautiously. We would also like to not that the sample size we used was small and because of the nature of the way the survey was given we had little control over the environment in which the survey was taken, and little control over who participated in the survey. Therefore the results of the survey may have limited generalizabilty to our target population as well as other target populations. In the next section we
Own Organic or Recycled
Marketing Research Problem and Objectives
Our marketing research problem is finding out how to get American consumers to purchase organic clothing that is generally more expensive. We must find a way to persuade skeptics into believers and convince them they should buy organically produced clothing. We intend to do that by using social identity signaling, a process in which consumers are exposed to a signal in which they can identify with, with the assumption that the consumer will want to conform to the goal of the advertisement. According to Berger a researcher on the subject “Decisions are based not only on the associated risks and benefits but also on the identity that a given choice communicates to others.”(3) 1. To conduct an online experiment with NKU students to test whether students will be more likely to purchase eco-friendly clothing after being exposed to a brand advertisement connecting the prAna with social identities that customers wish to be associated with than an advertisement without such identities and to measure their environmentally sustainable consumption habits. 2. To determine whether NKU students purchase intentions of eco-friendly clothing is correlated with customers attitudes towards environmental attitudes, skepticism towards eco-friendly marketing, and advertisement credibility using an associative analysis. 3. To summarize the results of the first two objectives and provide specific, practical recommendations to prAna on how they can improve the success of their promotional tools such as their website, product labeling, in-store advertisements, and other advertising efforts. In the following section, I describe the research design, methodology, and sampling techniques used in collecting data needed for addressing our marketing research objectives.
Do Not Own Organic or Recycled
will report whether identity symbols affect consumer behavior.
Research Design Method and Sampling
In the pursuit of answering our marketing research objectives, we conducted an online experiment using a causal research design. Taking into account our target population of American skeptical consumers, we used a referral sample in which Undergraduate Marketing students at Northern Kentucky University recruited those whom they thought would be representative of our target population to participate in the survey. Our sample included 61 total respondents. In the following section we will describe the experimental design that we used to collect the information needed for exploring our objectives
In order to determine if the Identity Symbol we created had an impact on consumer behavior we first ran a frequency analysis on our data in order to determine the mean purchase intentions of those that saw ad B, with the Identity Symbol and ad A, without the Identity Symbol. Our analysis showed that consumers were more likely to purchase organic cotton products after seeing the ad with the Identity Symbol than the one without the Symbol. This is evidenced by the bar graph to the right (Figure 4.) Now that we have determined there is a difference we decided that we must find out if that difference is significant. In order to do this we ran an independent samples T-test for Equality of Means. The results of the test (DF=59 P=.086 Mean Difference= .46) yielded that at a %10 level of significance the results WERE significant. The results were not significant at the standard %5 level, however we find it very likely that if we increased the sample size of our experiment that the results would become significant at the %5 level and therefore will assume a significant result and conclude that the identity signal DOES have an affect on consumer behavior.
Do Attitudes Towards Environmental sustainability and Advertising Matter?
To determine whether or not purchase intentions of organic clothing are correlated with students attitudes towards environmental sustainability and advertising we did an associative analysis using a Pearson Correlation. In the analysis we compared Purchase Intentions, Skepticism Towards Marketing, Environmental Attitudes, and Advertisement Credibility. We found that all four categories were correlated to at least one other category in a significant way. Environmental attitudes was significantly correlated with Skepticism Towards Marketing (R=.44, P=.01) as well as Advertisement Credibility (R=43, P=.01.) When we examine the correlation between Skepticism and Attitudes it would make sense that those with low environmental attitudes would also be skeptical about advertising. It also comes with no surprise that those with low environmental attitudes would be more likely to give less credibility to our advertisement. So it seems that the analysis was useful in determining that our target populations attitudes towards the environment do matter. In the last section, we will report our findings and provide recommendations to our client, prAna.
In designing our experiment necessary to discern our objectives , we created a questionnaire which was integrated into an online survey administered on Qualtrics. In the computer-assisted online survey the participants were first introduced to the survey by telling them a little about why the survey was being conducted and what benefits they would receive by participating in the survey. Following the introduction the participants were then asked for their consent to take part in the survey. After this the relevant part of the survey followed and participants were shown one of two advertisements. Approximately half of the participants were exposed to what we will call the control advertisement, that is the ad that did not include an identity signal and simply showed the stock photo of our product the Milo SS shirt. This can be seen in the advertisement to the right. (Figure 1:A) The other half of participants were exposed to a similar advertisement which was identical to advertisement A in every way, except in place of the stock image of the product we substituted an image which included an identity signal. The identity signal we chose was one that we believe our target audience can relate to; Phil, Stu, and Alan from the movie “The Hangover.” (See Figure1:B on right) Phil, Stu, and Alan are all wearing the Milo SS shirt since we believe the target audience will want to emulate the movie characters style and want to buy and wear the shirt themselves. After seeing the advertisement, participants in the survey were asking a series of questions. Measuring their purchase intentions. We used a seven-point semantic differential scale (The Likert Scale) in which 1 indicated they strongly disagreed that they would consider buying organic cotton or prAna products and 7 indicated that they strongly agreed. The survey then used similar scales to measure environmental advertising skepticism, attitudes towards environmental problems, and credibility of the advertisement. We then asked a series of demographics questions measuring age, income, marital status, education, and employment status. Following this the participants were dismissed from the survey and thanked for their time. In the next section we will describe the representativeness and generalizability of our results.
In order to address our third and final objective it is necessary to give a summary of our research and recommendations to our client prAna. We feel that our experiment was a success, it showed that there is a positive difference to using an identity signal in an advertisement. We feel that the signal we chose was a good one for our target population, and one that creates a good feeling for the branding of the company. Though the Hangover characters are not consistent with previous signals such as Chris Sharma, we feel that when prAna markets to a larger audience it will be a good choice with broad appeal. We would recommend that upon some more testing that prAna does use an ad similar to ours with some changes to make it more appealing. We feel that there were some limitations to our experiment with the number one being sample size, we believe that if the sample size was larger we would have had a stronger significance in our comparison. Another being that our advertisement could have been better in integrating the Hangover image while still keeping with the message of the advertisement that consumer need to purchase organic cotton clothing. Overall we feel the experiment was a great success and gives a lot of insight into what further research needs to be conducted.
Works Cited 1."Fact Sheet on U.S. Cotton Subsidies and Cotton Production." Organic Consumer Association, n.d. Web. 6 May 2011. <http://www.organicconsumers.org/clothes/224subsidies.cfm>. 2."What Does WWF Work On." WWF Canada News Room. World Wildlife Foundation, n.d. Web. 6 May 2011. <http://www.wwf.ca/news-room/genews.htm>. 3. Berger, Jonah, and Lindsey Rand. "Shifting Signals to Help Health: Using Identity Signaling to Reduce Risky Health Behaviors." Journal of Consumer Research Inc., n.d. Web. 6 May 2011. <http://www.bluezzoon.com/download/Readings/Berger%20(2008)%20-%20Identity%20Signaling.pdf>. 4. Raska, Dr. David. "Bluezzon Survey." N.p., n.d. Web. 6 May 2011. <http://bluezzoon.com>. 5. Greendex:Survey of Sustainable Consumption. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 6 May 2011. <http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/greendex/>.
Average Likelihood to Purchase Scale of 1-7
Does the Identity Symbol Affect Consumer Behavior? In order
Figure 4: Intentions to Purchase Eco-Friendly Clothing
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