Consumer behaviour

attitudes and learning theory
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  Consumer Behaviour Assignment 2 Student No: 21149061 Essay 1 For one or more of our clients evaluate  how consumers might form attitudes towards their product/services . Identify  any relevant attitude trends and/or specific attitudes  held by consumer in this sector and make recommendations of ways in which negative attitudes might be changed and positive attitudes reinforced.  INTRODUCTION: This essay is being prepared to advise one of the clients being Asda, on how consumer might form attitudes towards their products/services with recommendations on ways in which both positive and negative attitudes can be reinforced.  Attitudes represent our covert or overt feelings of like or dislike toward an object, person, issue, or behaviour through our thinking and feelings about and actions towards some feature of our surroundings such as food, clothing, a car, a retail shop and any object. ATTITUDE DEFINATION: Formally (Kotler and Wong et al., 2005, p. 275) describes   an attitude as a person’s relatively consistent evaluations, feelings and tendencies towards an object or idea.    Attitude hence denote beliefs and feelings linked to a person and the ensuing behaviour.  Altogether, positive or negative responses whether displayed in beliefs or feelings turn to express a person’s attitude to something (Olson and Zanna, 1993). Emphasising this relationship of knowing, feeling and doing is the ABC model of attitudes comprising of affects, behaviour and cognition which explains how a person feels about an object (Affect); what they intend to do about it (Behaviour); and what they believe about the object (Cognition). Though various theorist such as (Fishbein 1970); (Bagozzi and Bunkrant, 1979); (Katz and Stotland, 1959) offer various opinion as to which of these components form an attitude, the important consideration is how these components combine to affect consumer behaviour. Despite this inter-relationship, a consumer’s behaviour,  being their intention to respond to an attitude object, does not always result in an actual purchasing behaviour. For example, a consumer may know the health benefits provided by a product, however their awareness may not sway how they feel about the product in terms of it being good or bad and, equally, it may not prompt them to do anything about that knowledge i.e. whether to buy or not to buy the product (Solomon and Bamossy et al., 2010).  For consumers, attitudes towards objects will include specific consumption or marketing relating concepts such as product use, brand, service, possessions, price and more are learned with different learning theories providing insights into how attitudes are initially formed. To marketers attitudes play an important as they help to direct consumers to  products/services that they see a favourable light without going through the time consuming process of weighing the pros and cons of a an object. ATTITUDE FORMATION: Whiles attitudes vary from consumer to consumer, it is said to be facilitated by direct personal experienced and influenced by the ideas of friends, family and exposure to advertising. In addition ones personality is seen to play a major role in attitude formation . For instance according to Katz 1960 functional theory, attitudes exist because they are a means to goals and they can protect people ’ s self- esteem . Thus a consumer may for example develop various attitudes towards a product if they are pleasurable/ painful or conveys a certain image about them    Also to other schools of taught, attitudes are simply object appraisals and assist in saving on cognitive energy  (Jansson-Boyd, 2010). In addition attitudes can also be learned in a variety of ways such as through mere exposure, associative learning (which refers to classical and instrumental conditioning) and observational learning (Douglas, 1977).  For instance mere exposure theorises that consumers eventually tend to develop a likening for an object if repeatedly exposed to it whiles with observational theory, attitudes are formed under our everyday interactions with others and from the reinforcements that their behaviour and expressions provide, people are more likely to develop similar beliefs. Furthermore (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2010)  postulates that whereas under classical condition an attitude object is paired with an unconditional stimulus which evokes an emotional response, instrumental conditioning enables attitudes to be formed in which consumption of the object is reinforced by reward or punishment . Moreover on a cognitive foundation, attitudes are deemed to form on the basis of facts, thus the suggestion by this principle is that consumers possess certain knowledge about the products which they will use in aiding their evaluation of products /services. For instance, one identifiable current trend where consumers have developed various attitudes towards is functional foods and drinks. Revealing this trend is a research by Mintel 2013 using as shown below; From the Mintel research, it can be seen that consumer attitudes vary regarding the product ranging from beliefs on the benefits the product provides, brands, price and  packing. In addition the research indicates that age also seems to have an impact on how attitudes form towards products/services. Figure 1: Consumer attitudes towards functional food and drinks Any agree Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Any disagree Disagree Strongly disagree %   %   %   %   %   %   %   Health-promoting benefits of natural foods (eg fruit and vegetables) are preferable to the added benefits of functional foods 66 22 43 31 4 3 - Many products make functional claims without scientific proof 64 14 51 30 5 5 - Most claims made on functional products are exaggerated/misleading 58 12 46 36 6 5 1 Functional benefits are just an excuse for companies to charge a higher price 58 12 46 33 10 9 1 The labelling on functional food products is often unclear about what the benefits are 57 10 47 35 9 8 1 I am more prepared to buy functional food and drink products as I get older 37 5 32 39 25 18 7 I find the current range of functional food and drink flavours unexciting/ boring 32 6 26 52 16 15 1 There aren’t enough popular products (eg cereals, yoghurts) with functional benefits 30 4 26 44 25 22 4 Functional products from well-known brands are more credible than products from less known brands 28 4 24 46 26 22 4 Most functional food and drink products are unsuitable for children 24 5 19 58 18 16 2 Functional food and drink are worth paying more for 22 3 19 34 43 33 10 Source: Mintel 2012
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