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Consumer Behavior

Information Processing

Learning Objectives
Factors influencing
Processing Model
Stages of
Sensory Thresholds

Factors Influencing
Types of Consumer
Impact of Vision,
Color, Taste & Touch
Subliminal Perception

Information . . .
. . .is the content of
what is exchanged with
the outer world as we
adjust to it and make
our adjustment felt upon
. . . allows us to adapt
to and even influence
the world around us.

Information Processing . . .
. . . is the process through which consumers
are exposed to information, attend to it,
comprehend it, place it in memory, and
retrieve it for later use.

Three Important Factors

Influence Information

Consumer Information Processing




Perception . . .
. . . is the process through which individuals
are exposed to information, attend to the
information, and comprehend the

Three Stages of Perception

Exposure stage - consumers receive
information through their senses.
Attention stage - consumers allocate
processing capacity to a stimulus.
Comprehension stage - consumers
organize and interpret the information to
obtain meaning from it.

Consumer Involvement . . .
. . . is the perceived personal importance
and/or interest attached to the acquisition,
consumption, and disposition of a good,
service, or idea.
As involvement increases, the consumer has
greater motivation to comprehend and
elaborate on information.

Several factors influence

the level of the consumers

Type of product being considered;

Characteristics of the communication
received by the consumer;
Characteristics of the situation within
which the consumers is operating;
Personality of the consumer.






Involvement has Multiple


Hedonic importance

Practical relevance
Purchase risk

Factors that Increase Involvement

Self expressive Importance: Products that
help people express their self concept
Hedonic importance: Products that are
pleasurable, interesting, fun, fascinating,
and exciting
Practical relevance: Essential or beneficial
Purchase risk

Two Main Types of

Consumer Involvement
Situational - Occurs over a short time
period and is associated with a specific
situation, such as a need to replace a
product that has broken.
Enduring - Occurs when consumers show
a consistent high-level of interest in a
product and frequently spend time thinking
about the product.

As Involvement Levels
Consumers tend to process more in-depth
General increase in arousal levels
Consumers are likely to give more diligent
consideration to information relevant to the
particular decision
More likely to be an extended decisionmaking process

Bottom Line on Involvement

You must know the level of involvement
of your customers.
Measure the level of enduring
May identify multiple consumer
segments: high involvement versus
low involvement segments.
High involvement segments may be
early adopters.

Refers to the immediate
response of our sensory
receptors (eyes, ears,
nose, mouth, fingers) to
such basic stimuli as
light, color, sound, odors,
and textures.

External stimuli, or sensory inputs, can be received

on a number of channels (e.g. see a billboard, hear
a jingle, taste a drink , smell a perfume, feel the
warmth of a cashmere sweater)
1). The inputs picked up by our five senses constitute
the raw data that begin the perceptual process.
2). External stimuli can trigger memories from the
past. The resulting responses are an important
part of hedonic consumption (the multi-sensory,
fantasy, and emotional aspects of consumers
interactions with products) e.g. Lipton bringing back
their old jingle

The unique sensory quality of a product can play an important role in
helping it to stand out from the competition, especially if the brand
creates a unique association with the sensation
Meanings are communicated on the visual channel through a
products size, styling, brightness, distinctiveness vis a vis competitors
Have symbolic and cultural meaning, and more powerful meanings
make color a central aspect to marketing strategies.
Color is a key issue in package design.
Saturated colors such as green, yellow, purple, and orange are
considered the best hues to capture attention.
Decisions on color help to color our expectations of whats inside the

Some color combinations come to be so

strongly associated with a corporation that
they become known as the companys trade
dress, and the company may even be
granted exclusive use of these colors.
Usually, trade dress protection is granted only
when consumers might be confused about
what they are buying because of similar
coloration of a competitors packaging.

Color impact
Lower-income consumers prefer bright, gaudy colors (bright
shades of red, purple etc.);
Higher-income people like complex colors (gray-green with
a hint of blue);
Wealthiest 3 percent like forest green and burgundy.
A recent color preference survey of 5000 adults found red,
blue, and black to be the favorite colors for clothing.
Beige was favored for big-ticket home products such as
carpets and upholstered furniture.
Older people are more likely to prefer beiges and browns,
while younger respondents prefer black
The color red is generally considered arousing

Rich use of color

Color as the brand name

Many aspects of sound affect peoples feelings and
Jingles maintain brand awareness, background music
creates desired moods.
The Muzak Corporation estimates that 80 million
people hear their background music everyday.
Functional music - for relaxing or stimulating.
Research has shown that workers tend to slow down
during mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
Muzak uses upbeat tempo music during these times to
stimulate activity. This is called stimulus progression.
( shopping - slow beat, fast food - fast beat)

Though much research needs to be done in
this area, moods are stimulated or relaxed on
the basis of sensations of the skin.
Touch has been shown to be a factor in sales
1) People associate the textures of fabrics and
other surfaces with product qualities (e.g.,
smooth, rough, silky, et cetera).
2) Men often prefer roughness, whereas
females prefer smoothness and softness.

This Caress Ad Uses

Tactile Stimulation
as a Selling Point

Our taste receptors contribute to our experience of
many products and people form strong preferences
for certain flavors.
1) Specialized companies (called flavor houses) try to
develop new concoctions to please the ever changing
and demanding palates of consumers.
2) New fads with respect to taste include products that
taste hotter( spicy, or stronger mint) and those that
avoid harmful additives ( natural, organic)

This Ad Uses
Taste to
People to Buy
Their Product

"Plain" vanilla has become a flavorful marketing
Vanilla flavored or scented products, from
perfumes and colognes to cake frosting,
coffees, and ice cream, are currently big sellers
for the flavor industry.
Coty Inc. introduced Vanilla Fields cologne
spray in 1994, and reported $25 million in retail
sales over a four-month period.
One industry executive explains that the flavor's
popularity is because vanilla "evokes memories
of home and hearth, warmth and cuddling."

Chocolate brings up notions of love,
romance and sex
According to some nutrition experts,
eating chocolate activates the same kind
of chemical reactions in the body (though
to a lesser extent) that one experiences
when falling in love!


Its the degree to which
people notice a stimulus
that is within range of their
sensory receptors
An initial stage of
Consumers concentrate
on some stimuli, are
aware of others, and even
go out of their way to
ignore some messages.

Zapping, or
channel surfing, with
the television
remote control is a
problem for

Methods to reduce problems of

audience erosion

1. Format Change
Place important material early in commercials.
2. Spread Commercials
Place ads on different cable channels
3. Strategic Timings
Try to obtain first position in series of
4. Budget more for print and other media

Sensory Thresholds
The science that focuses on how the physical environment
is integrated into our personal, subjective world is known as
When we define the lowest intensity of a stimulus that can
be registered on a sensory channel, we speak of a
threshold for that receptor.
The absolute threshold refers to the minimum amount of
stimulation that can be detected on a sensory channel.

Absolute Threshold
The lowest level at which a
stimulus can be detected 50
percent of the time
As the intensity of stimulus
increases, the likelihood that it will
be sensed also increases


Subliminal Perception . . .
A. Refers to presenting a
stimulus below the level of
conscious awareness in an
attempt to influence behavior
and feelings.
B.Does it work?

Subliminal Advertising
In 1957, market researcher James Vicary claimed
that quickly flashing messages on a movie
screen, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, had influenced
people to purchase more food and drinks. Vicary
coined the term subliminal advertising and formed
the Subliminal Projection Company based on a
six-week test.
Vicary claimed that during the presentation of the
movie Picnic he used a tachistoscope to project
the words "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Hungry? Eat
popcorn" for 1/3000 of a second at five-second
intervals. Vicary asserted that during the test,
sales of popcorn and Coke in that New Jersey
theater increased 57.8% and 18.1% respectively.

Theories to explain subliminal



Incremental effects theory

Over many presentations of a stimulus, a stimulus
representation is gradually built into consumers
nervous system. At some point this representation
reaches behavioral threshold level and causes
changes in the persons action
Psychodynamic theory of arousal:
Assumes that unconscious wishes to engage in some
behavior can be activated by unconsciously presented

Is Subliminal Persuasion
Extensive research has shown no
conclusive evidence that subliminal
advertising can cause behavior changes
There is, however, arguable data to infer
that subliminal stimuli may influence

Devilishly Innocent