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2: MEASURING THE COGNITIVE RESPONSE

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MEASURING THE COGNITIVE RESPONSE
The content of this supplementary note links with the following chapters: 9 (page 211), 16 (page 374)
A few definitions Cognitive response relates to knowledge, i.e. the totality of information and beliefs held by an individual or a group. Individuals store this information, which influences their interpretation of the stimuli to which they are exposed. The quantity and nature of the information retained varies according to cognitive styles (Pinson et al, 1988) and perceptual capacities. Perception can be defined as: The process by which an individual selects, organises and interprets the information inputs to create a meaningful picture of the world. (Berelson and Steiner, 1964, p.88) Individuals will, in general, have different perceptions of the same situation, because of selective attention. Perception has a regulating function since it filters information. Some elements of information are retained either because they meet the needs of the moment, or because they come as a surprise: this is selective perception and retention. Other elements are perceived as altered when they contradict the specific framework of interest: this is perceptual bias.

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Finally, other elements are rejected because they are worrying or disturbing: this is perceptual defence. For example, a study done in the USA reveals that only 32% of smokers have read newspaper articles suggesting a link between cigarette smoking and the development of cancer of the larynx, as opposed to 60% of non-smokers. But whats all this got to do with marketing ? Clearly, the first objective of producers must be to overcome perceptual resistance and to propagate knowledge about their products and about their claimed distinctive features. This first stage conditions the development of any market demand. Several measures of the cognitive response have been developed. They can be grouped into three categories: Brand awareness Advertising recall Perceived similarity.

Brand awareness The simplest level of cognitive response is the knowledge of the existence of a product or a brand. Is the potential buyer aware of the brand existence within a given product category? Brand awareness can be defined as follows: The ability of a potential buyer to identify (recall or recognise) the brand with sufficient detail to propose, recommend, choose or use the brand to meet the need of a certain product category. So brand awareness establishes a link between the brand name and a product class. Information about brand awareness can be easily obtained by questioning potential buyers about the brands they know in the class of products under consideration. Three types of brand awareness can be distinguished: Brand recognition implies that the brand recognition precedes and leads to the need (I recognise brand A and I realise that I need such product category). Recognition is a minimal level of awareness, which will be particularly important at the point of purchase when choosing a brand. Brand recall implies that the need for a product category precedes and leads to the brand (I need that product category, I will buy brand A). Recall is a much more demanding test. Top of the mind awareness refers to the first-named brand in a recall test. The brand is ahead of all the other competing brands in a person's mind.

Brand recall is measured by unaided awareness; brand recognition is measured by aided or qualified awareness: Unaided (or spontaneous) awareness refers to the case where the respondent is questioned about a brand where the question makes no reference to any brand.

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Aided (or prompted) awareness refers to a set of brand names from a given product class which are presented to respondents, who are asked to note the ones they have heard of before. Respondents may also be asked to specify their level of familiarity with the brand on a scale of three or five positions, (as illustrated in Table Web 2.1). We then have a measure of qualified awareness. Table Web 2.1 Measuring Brand Awareness

Unaided awareness Which brands of laptop computers do you know?

Aided/qualified awareness Among the following brands of laptop computers, indicate the brand(s) you: Know very well:.................................................... Know by name only: ....................................... Don't know: ....................................................

...........................................................................

.................................................................... ....................................................................

The responses to these simple questions provide useful information to allow the evaluation of the capital of goodwill (Nerlove and Arrow, 1962) or brand equity (Aaker, 1991) enjoyed by the brand or by the firm. The information provided by a brand awareness analysis is used as follows: To determine the brand's share of mind. (This is the percentage of potential buyers who name the brand or the company as the first brand or company that comes to mind in the product category.) To identify the triplet of best-known brands which are in direct competition in the minds of potential customers (i.e. the number of times a brand is mentioned in an unaided recall test in first, second or third position) To compare the observed changes in the recall versus recognition scores in an unaided versus an aided recall test. (Some brands or companies have a weak evocative power; a product may be easily recognised due to its obvious link with the product class, but in an unaided recall test the product scores low see Krugman, 1972.) To compare the correlation between the awareness score and market share of each brand with regard to the market average performance. (Some brands enhance their awareness better than others and are situated above the market average see Assael and Day, 1968.) To construct a one-dimensional interval scale, based on the Law of Comparative Judgements (Thurstone, 1959). (This method is used to obtain a ranking as well as measures of distance between brands in terms of awareness.) To compare awareness scores (aided and unaided) between different groups of buyers. (This is used to identify zones of weakest awareness where remedial action should be taken.)

It is worth remembering that a high awareness score is a key brand asset to the firm, which takes years to build and which requires significant and repetitive advertising investments. Brand

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awareness is a key component of brand equity, even if it alone cannot create sales. For further information on the concept of brand equity, see Aaker (1991). As well as the identification of the brand itself, measures brand awareness and knowledge may also relate to the identification of some of its characteristics, such as: Usual places of sale Current advertising themes Price levels.

Advertising recall Advertising recall scores are commonly used as intermediate measures of advertising effectiveness. They are also used with different variations to measure new products acceptance. Various impact scores are available which measure the percentage of readers or viewers who correctly identify the advertisement or the message after an advertising campaign. There are a large number of variants of impact scores (see Franzen and others, 1999). The following three measures of print advertising effectiveness, obtained from interviews, recur regularly: Noted score: the percentage of readers who say they previously saw the advertisement in the magazine (ad recognition). Saw-associated or Proved Name Registration (PNR) score: the percentage of individuals who correctly identify the product and advertiser with the advertisement. Read most: the percentage who says they read more than half of the written material in the advertisement.

These impact scores are collected after several exposures and are cumulative scores. Another useful impact score, called the beta () score (Morgensztern, 1983) or day-after score, is a more revealing measure. It is defined as: The percentage of individuals who, when exposed for the first time to a new message, memorise the brand and at least one of the visual or textual elements of the advertisement. Comparisons of Beta scores from different advertising campaigns show enormous fluctuations between campaigns with the same intensity within a medium as well as between advertising media (see Table Web 2.2). Companies specialising in this kind of analysis, such as Daniel Starch in the USA, also provide adnorms showing the average scores for each product category for the year. This information enables advertisers to compare their advertisement's impact to those of competition.

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Table Web 2.2 Comparing Impact Scores of Media Advertising


Beta Scores Average scores 27% 35% 27% 19% 27%

Media Television (30 seconds) Dailies (1/4 page mono) Dailies (1/2 page mono) Magazines (colour page Magazines (dps colour)

Minimum scores 9% 0% 3% 6% 6%

Maximum scores 70% 75% 69% 46% 46%


Source: Carat, Belgium

Comparison of impact scores obtained from a large number of advertisements shows the following patterns: The prior level of brand awareness has a significant effect on scores of advertising recall; the greater the brand awareness, the higher the impact of the message. Some product categories benefit from a recall above average. Recall measured in terms of saw-associated scores is better among the upper social classes. Creative factors, advertisement formats, use of colour and visualisation of the product in the advertisement are factors that explain the variance of observed scores.

Observed differences in recall scores can be explained by the attractiveness of the message, by the element of surprise, incongruity and originality. The comparison of qualitative scores (agreement, credibility, originality) shows that consumers perceive differences between advertisements by product category. These differences also exist between brands within the same class of products. However, impact scores are only intermediate measures of advertising effectiveness and give no indication about advertising's ultimate effectiveness, which should ultimately help to produce sales. These intermediate measures are nevertheless useful since they enable advertisers to verify whether the advertisement has actually succeeded in breaking the wall of indifference of the target audience. The remembering and forgetting of advertising Studying the dynamics of recall scores provides some knowledge about the evolution of recall over time and allows the determination of optimal advertising scheduling given the communication objective. Experiments done in this domain (Morgensztern, 1983) have established that the proportion of individuals retaining an induced opinion change decrease geometrically over time. The rates of depreciation of recall, however, vary largely with the contents to be retained. Figure Web 2.1 (overleaf) based on an experiment conducted by Watts and McGuire (1964), illustrates this point.

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Figure Web 2.1 Induced Opinion Change as a Function of Time


Rate of memorization (%) 100 90 80 70 60 50 Source 40 30 20 Arguments 10 Thema

General thema Source Arguments

10

Number of weeks since receipt of message

Source: Watts and McGuire, 1964

One can see that recall of the message topic (theme) drops sharply after one week (from 95% to just over 60%), but then stays relatively constant; on the other hand, recall of the arguments used in the message sees a much sharper drop in the first week (from 72% to 28%) and then continues to decay to reach more or less 20% in the sixth week. One observes a similar but less abrupt pattern for recall of the message source. Thus, advertisers have very little time at their disposal to get the value of the investment on communication that they have made. The repetition of the message clearly has an effect on people's ability to remember over time. Many experiments have been carried out, for example by Zielske (1958 and 1980), which have underlined the relation between the change in the recall rate and different advertising schedules. In his study of 1958, Zielske measured the impact on recall of two advertising campaigns of thirteen newspaper advertisements each. The plan of this experiment was to expose one group of women to 13 different advertisements from the same newspaper advertising campaign at four week intervals (staggered action). Every four weeks for a year an advertisement was mailed to women in this group. A second group of women received a total of 13 advertisements, mailed one-week apart (intensive action). Recall of the advertising, aided only by mention of the product class, was obtained by telephone interviews throughout the study, with no single individual being interviewed more than once.

The recall of advertising by both groups, as reported by Zielske, is shown in Figure Web 2.2 (overleaf). The data emphasises the nature of response rather than the interim decay.

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Figure Web 2.2 Dynamic Evolution of Recall as a Function of Time and Number of Exposures
(%) 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 1 exposure per week for 13 weeks.

Recall Rate 13 exposures at four-week intervals.

10

15

20

25

30

35

40 45 50-52 Time (weeks)

Source: Zielske, 1958.

The following observations emerge: After thirteen weekly exposures (intensive action), the rate of recall registered amongst exposed households was 63%; after thirteen monthly exposures, it was only 48% in the other group subjected to the staggered action. During the period of 52 weeks, however, the average percentage of households who could recall the advertising was 29% in the case of the staggered action and only 21% in the other group. In the case of weekly exposures, four weeks after the end of the campaign the rate of recall drops by 50% and six weeks later by 66%. The rate of forgetting decreases as the number of repetitions increases; three weeks after one exposure to the message, the recall rate drops from 14% to 3%, that is a depreciation rate of 79%; after thirteen exposures, the recall rate drops from 48% to 37% in three weeks, which is a depreciation rate of only 23%.

Similar results were obtained with another experiment done in 1980 (Zielske and Henry) with television advertising, again involving actions with the same intensity but different schedules. The forgetting mechanisms are very powerful and memory loss is very rapid, implying the necessity for a sufficient number of repetitions of the message. A television campaign consisting of 6 repetitions in its first wave, and creating a 60% rate of recall, should not be interrupted for more than three months if one doesn't want to see the rate drop below 20%. (Morgensztern, 1983, p.210). Large fluctuations will exist between different campaigns, according to their relevance and to the creative value of their messages. The same phenomenon of rapid forgetting is also observed with other media, the daily presses in particular.

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Overcoming buyers' wall of indifference or perceptual defence is not easy. Yet, if this condition is not met, no change to attitude and behaviours will be achieved. As long as advertising information is not perceived, understood and memorised, it doesn't exist for the potential buyer. Informing is not sufficient; one must also communicate. For a comprehensive review on how advertising affects consumers, see Vakratsas and Ambler (1999).

Perceived similarity analysis Multidimensional scaling of perceived similarity is a method used for understanding how a brand is positioned in the minds of potential buyers in relation to competing brands. This is done through the construction of perceptual maps which give a visual representation of perceived similarities among brands without formulating any prior hypotheses concerning the causes of the perceived similarities or dissimilarities. The method is a non-attribute-based approach because it does not ask respondents to rate the brands on designated attributes, but rather asks them to make some summary judgements about the brands' degree of similarity. For this reason, non-attribute-based perceptual maps can be considered as a form of cognitive response, even though there exists an underlying evaluation in the comparative judgements provided by the respondent. Multidimensional scaling of perceived similarities is based on the following assumptions: Any product or brand (any object) is perceived by the individual as a bundle of characteristics or attributes. These characteristics are used by consumers as criteria for comparing brands, which are part of their evoked set. If each of the characteristics (K) is geometrically represented along one axis, i.e. by one dimension of a K-dimensional space, each brand or object will represent one point in this space and the co-ordinates of this point will be the evaluations of the product according to each characteristic. In practice, it is observed that potential buyers' perceptions of products or brands are based on a small number of dimensions, rarely more than two or three, called macrocharacteristics. These privileged dimensions, or macro-characteristics, are identified and are used to compare the positioning of the different brands.

Multidimensional similarity analysis finally leads to perceptual maps where each point represents a brand and the distance between points measures the approximate degree of similarity perceived by respondents. Exhibit Web 2.1 succinctly describes the estimation procedure followed in such analyses.

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Exhibit Web 2.1 Multidimensional Scaling Analysis: Description of the Estimation Procedure

The objective is to develop a non-attribute-based multidimensional map to characterise the perceived relationships among a set of brands competing within a given market segment. A representative sample of respondents is asked to rank all possible pairs of the studied brands according to their perceived degree of similarity. We thus have a triangular matrix where the entries are simple ranks, or ordered relationships by increasing dissimilarity. For N compared brands, we will have N(N-1)/2 different entries. The objective of the method is to seek a configuration of points of minimum dimensionality that most nearly matches the original order of perceived distances among brands. That is a geometric configuration in which the physical distances between points are monotone (i.e. in the same order) with the original similarity judgements. To find this configuration, generally the computer program operates iteratively. It starts with a given (arbitrary) configuration in N-1 dimensions. It generates an initial solution and then assesses how well the ordering of the actual distances between the brands matches the original ranking of similarity and determines whether the fit can be improved. It then reduces the number of dimensions and repeats the process with the objective of finding the lowest dimensionality for which the monotonicity constraint is closely met. Once the best configuration is identified, the last step is to interpret the retained dimensions and to discover the underlying macro-characteristics used by the respondents to compare the brands.
Source: Adapted from Churchill (1995)

Figure Web 2.3 is an example of a non-attribute-based perceptual map. It depicts the market for jams in Belgium. Figure Web 2.3: An Example of a Non-attribute-based Perceptual Map The Market for Jams in Belgium

1: Materne

3: Bonne maman 8: Du Prieur 4: Hero 2: De Betuwe

7: Sarma 6: Delhaize 5: GB

Source : Brussels, MDS Consulting Group.

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The analysis, based on a random sample of 400 respondents, brings to the fore the existence of two dimensions in respondents' perceived similarity: The first dimension (horizontal) contrasts industrial jam with homemade jams. Price differences are significant between these two types of product. The second dimension contrasts private brands (Sarma, GB and Delhaize) with manufacturer's brands. Note that these two groups of brands have more or less the same ranking on the first dimension, implying that respondents perceive them as similar as far as this characteristic is concerned.

We have a visual representation of perceived similarities between the brands according to two dimensions, which summarise the market perceptions. These results may appear trivial, in that they don't provide any new information to the manufacturer. Nevertheless, they are important because: The analysis makes it possible to identify the two dimensions spontaneously used by consumers when they mentally compare brands, in this example, the perception of industrial versus home-made and the contrast of private brands versus manufacturers brands. The analysis brings to the fore the structure of the market in each subgroup by identifying whether or not the brands is perceived as direct substitutes. The analysis allows each firm to contrast the positioning perceived by the market with the positioning sought for the brand.

The method of multidimensional analysis does, however, have problems, which ought to be underlined: When the number of brands to be evaluated becomes large, the task facing respondents is very tedious. If there are 7 brands to compare, 21 pairs of brands need to be ranked, which might overwhelm the cognitive abilities of respondents. Interpretation of the axes is not always obvious and normally requires additional information.

Despite these difficulties, this method of structuring the market has the following advantages: The method preserves the multidimensional nature of market perceptions. The dimensions, or comparative criteria, are not a priori imposed. Inputs are simple non-metric ranking data, which are in principle easy to obtain from respondents when the number of objects to compare is not large.

In order to be fully operational, multidimensional scaling analysis needs to be complemented with an attribute-based approach, which relies on attribute-by-attribute assessments of the various brands. In general, this approach is the objective of affective response measurements (Green and Rao, 1972).

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Market-Driven Management: Supplementary web resource material

Jean-Jacques Lambin, 2007 Published by Palgrave Macmillan