Consumer Attitudes and Changes in Attitude23/02/2020
Consumer attitudes is a composite of three elements: cognitive information, affective information, and information concerning a consumer’s past behavior and future intentions. In other words, attitude consists of thoughts or beliefs, feelings, and behaviors or intentions towards a particular thing, which in this case is usually a good or service. For example, you may have a very positive view of a particular sports car (for example, you believe it performs better than most), it makes you feel good, and you intend to buy it.
Marketers need to know what are consumers likes and dislikes. In simple explanation, these likes and dislikes or we can say favourable or unfavourable attitudes. Attitudes can also be defined as “learned predispositions to respond to an object or class of objects in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way”.
This means attitudes towards brands are consumers learned tendencies to evaluate brands in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way. More formally, an overall evaluation done by consumers for choosing a particular product.
Attitudes help us understanding, why consumers do or do not buy a particular product or shop from a certain store etc. They are used for judging the effectiveness of marketing activities, for evaluating marketing actions ever before they are implemented within the market place.
Changes in Consumer Attitude
Companies may focus on changing consumer attitudes for a variety of reasons. Dropping sales, increased product or service complaints and new, or renewed, competition in the marketplace can all necessitate a hard look at the reasons behind trends related to consumer perceptions and attitudes. Deciphering the cause of negative perceptions requires appropriate planning and the commitment to make the necessary changes to ensure success. For small businesses, analyzing consumer behavior becomes an essential part of developing a targeted marketing and promotional campaign.
- Identify consumer perceptions
In order to develop an action plan for changing consumer attitudes, you need to understand current perceptions of products and services. Evaluate captured feedback, such as customer service contact statistics regarding complaints and concerns. Service businesses can leave comment cards for customers to complete and mail back. Utilize surveys, paper and electronic, and focus groups to receive an accurate representation of problems or concerns that may exist.
- Compile data for interpretation
Interpretations derived from statistical data can provide immediate feedback related to possible product or service defects. Evaluate survey responses for information related to consumer views and perceptions of the business’s products or services. Focus on repeated or habitual problems experienced by customers. Find the common thread among complaints and negative perceptions. Determine if a negative consumer attitude is the result of employee neglect or product deficiencies.
- Create a plan of action
Once you have identified consumer perceptions, develop a plan to improve areas where consumer perceptions reflect a negative attitude toward the company, product or service. This can include improved employee training to handle concerns and help cultivate customer loyalty. Involve product development on needed product improvements. Enlist the help of the marketing department to develop campaigns focused on increasing brand awareness and resolving common concerns.
- Share vital information with affected employees
Educate the appropriate personnel on the goals of any new campaigns and promotions. Ensure customer service representatives understand the impact of creating a positive customer environment. Changing consumer attitudes is essential to ensuring future loyalty and creating a secure job environment.
- Measure success
Use customer service metrics as one way to measure success. This can include keeping track of incident reports, positive feedback and complaints. Signs of a shift in consumer attitudes include reduced complaints and increased sales.
Components of Attitudes
A person’s knowledge and beliefs about some attitude object reside within the cognitive component. Through marketing research, marketers develop a vocabulary of product at- tributes and benefits.
The affective component represents a person’s likes or dislikes of the attitude object. Beliefs about them are multidimensional because they represent the brand attributes consumers perceive but this component is one dimensional. Consumer’s over all evaluation of a brand can be measured by rating the brand from “poor” to “excellent” or from “least preferred” to “most preferred”.
Brand evaluation is central to the study of attitudes because it summarizes consumer’s predisposition to be favourable or unfavourable to the brand. Brand beliefs are relevant only to the extent that they influence brand evaluations which in turn leads to behaviour.
The conative component refers to the person’s action or behavouioral tendencies toward the attitude object. This is measured in terms of intention to buy. For developing marketing strategy, this measured buying intent is important. To avoid failures in the market, marketers frequently test the elements of the marketing mix like – ads, packages, alternative product concepts or brand names. All this is done to know what is most likely to influence purchase behaviour.
There are important predicting and diagnostic differences among three components and measures when prediction is of prime concern then behavioural intention measures are most appropriate, since they offer the greatest predictive power as shown in Fig. But are limited in their diagnostic power.
This is basically because of their inability to reveal why consumers intend or don’t intend to perform a behaviour. For example – consumer doesn’t want to shop from a particular store for a number of reasons. Intention measures do not reveal these reasons like convenient shopping hours. Therefore, reasons for consumers attitudes and intention can be known by measuring beliefs.
Properties of Attitudes
Attitudes can vary along a number of dimensions or properties. They are:
A person may like Coke or Pepsi and dislike others like Fanta, Mirinda, Canada Dry etc.
This means, the strength of liking or disliking. For example, consumer may be liking two brands at a time but he/she may be more positive towards one.
This means, attitude is the confidence with which they are held. Intercity and confidence differ slightly. For example, a person may be equally confident that he/she really likes Pepsi but may be slightly favourable toward Coke.