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CONSUMER

PERCEPTION
Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Outline

Consumer Perception
The Elements of Perception
1. The Selection of Stimuli
2. The Organization of Stimuli
3. The Interpretation of Stimuli

Consumer Perception

Perception is the process by which individuals


select, organize, interpret stimuli into a
meaningful and coherent picture of the world.
It can be described as how we see the world
around us.
Two individuals may be exposed to the same
stimuli, but how each person recognizes, select,
organizes, and interprets these stimuli is a
highly individual process based on each
persons own needs, values, and expectations.

Consumer Perception

Consumers act and react based on their perceptions


and not on the objective reality.
For each person, reality is a completely personal
thing, based on that persons needs, wants, values,
and personal experiences.
To marketers, consumers perceptions are a lot more
important than their knowledge of objective reality.
Because consumers make decisions and take
actions based on what they perceive to be reality, it
is important that marketers understand the idea of
perception and its related concepts to determine more
clearly what factors influence consumers to buy.

The Elements of Perception

Perception is all about consumers subjective


understanding, and not objective realities.
Changing subjective wisdom is difficult, or
even impossible.
Nevertheless, changing a brand image, or
repositioning, is necessary.
For example: for many years, Chevrolet was
positioned as an American icon, with such
slogans as See the USA in Your Chevrolet
and Heartbeat of America.

The Elements of Perception

As GM, the maker of Chevrolet began to


sell the brand globally, it needed a
new slogan that would create a united
global perception of the brand.
GM began to advertise Chevrolet under
the slogan Find New Roads which the
company believes to be exciting,
flexible, and also easily translated into
other languages, the Chevrolet brand
name is not included in the new tagline.

The Elements of Perception

Individuals are very selective as which


stimuli they recognize.
Individuals subconsciously organize
the stimuli that they recognize according
to widely held psychological principles,
and they give meaning to the stimuli
subjectively in accordance with their
personal needs, expectations, and
experiences.

The Elements of Perception

The three aspects of perception are:

1. The selection of
stimuli
2. The organization of
stimuli
3. The interpretation of
stimuli

1. The Selection of Stimuli

Subconsciously, consumers are very selective


when exposed to stimuli.
A person may look at some things, ignore others,
and turn away from still others.
In reality, people perceive a small fraction of
the stimuli to which they are exposed to.
For example: A woman shopping at a
supermarket may be exposed to more than
30,000 products of different colors, sizes, and
shapes, 300 people, different sounds within the
store, and many other stimuli.

1. The Selection of Stimuli

Yet she manages to regularly visit the


store, select the items she needs, pay
for them, and leave within a pretty short
time without losing her personal
orientation to the world around her.
This is because she exercises
selectivity in perception.

1. The Selection of Stimuli

Which stimuli gets selected by individuals


depends on two key factors in addition to the
type of stimuli itself.
The two factors are:
1. Consumers previous experiences as it affects
their expectations (what they are prepared to
see)
2. Their motives at the time (their needs,
desires, interests, and so on).
Lets begin with the stimulus itself and then
discuss the two other factors.

1. The Selection of Stimuli

The Stimulus:
Physical stimuli affect consumers'
perceptions of products and evoke
attention include the product itself, its
attributes, package, design, brand name,
advertisements, and commercials and
placement of promotional messages
within the advertisements space.
Advertisements that contrast with their
environment are likely to be noticed.

1. The Selection of Stimuli

Example: The use of a dramatic image


of the product against a white
background in print advertisement, the
absence of sound in a commercials
opening scene, an ad appearing where
consumers do not expectall offer
enough contrast from their
environment to achieve contrast and
deserve the consumers' attention.

Examples of Contrast in Advertisement

Examples of Contrast in Advertisement

Examples of Contrast in Advertisement

1. The Selection of Stimuli

The two factors that affect which stimuli


gets selected are:
1. Expectations: People usually see
what they expect to see, and what the
expect to see is usually based on
familiarity, previous experiences, or a
set of expectations.
In a marketing context, a person tends
to perceive products, and product
attributes according to his or her own
expectations.

1. The Selection of Stimuli

For example: a teenager who attends a horror


movie that has been billed as terrifying will
most likely find it so.
Sometimes, stimuli that conflict greatly with
expectations receives more attention than
those match expectations.
For example: One study found that people
who believed that they had prepared the dishes
they tasted rated the food almost twice as high
as others who tasted the same food but did not
prepare it.

1. The Selection of Stimuli

2. Motives: People usually perceive the


things that they need or want.
The stronger the need, the greater the
tendency to ignore unrelated stimuli in
the environment.
For example: a student who is looking
to buy an new mobile phone to replace
his current phone is more likely to notice
and read carefully ads for deals and
special offers regarding phones than his
friend who is satisfied with his current

1. The Selection of Stimuli

The consumers selection of stimuli from


the environment is based on the
interaction of expectations and motives
with the stimulus itself.
Selective exposure occurs when
consumers tune into message that they
find pleasant or which they are
sympathetic, and they actively avoid
painful ones.
Consumers exercise a great deal of
selectivity in terms of the attention they

1. The Selection of Stimuli

Selective attention is consumers


heightened awareness of stimuli that
meet their needs or interests and
minimal awareness of stimuli that is not
related to their needs.
For example: consumers are likely to
pay attention to ads for product that
would satisfy their needs and ignore ads
in which they have no interest.

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

People do not experience the many


stimuli they select from the environment
as separate and discrete sensations.
People tend to organize them into
groups and perceive them as unified
wholes.
This method of perpetual organization
simplifies life considerably for the
individual.

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

Three of the basic principles of


perceptual organization are:
1. Figure and ground
2. Grouping
3. Closure

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

1. Figure and Ground: refers to the


interrelationship between the stimulus
itself (i.e., figure) and the environment
within which it appears (i.e., ground).
As we discussed earlier, stimuli that
contrast with their environment are more
likely to be noticed.
The figure is perceived more because,
in contrast to its ground, it appears to be
well defined, solid and in the forefront.

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

The ground is usually perceived as indefinite and


hazy.
For example: consider the stimulus of music.
People either bathe in music or listen to music.
In the first case, music is simply background to
other activities.
In the second case, music is the figure.
Figure is more clearly perceived because it
appears to be dominant, in contrast, ground
appears to be subordinate and, therefore, less
important.

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

Advertisers have to put advertisements


together carefully to make sure that the
stimulus they want is seen as figure not
as ground.
For example: the musical background
must not overwhelm the jingle.
The background of an advertisement
must not take away from the product.

Examples of Figure and


Ground

Examples of Figure and


Ground

Examples of Figure and


Ground

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

2. Grouping: refers to peoples instinctive


tendency to group stimuli together so that they
become a unified picture or impression.
The perception of stimuli as groups or chunks of
information instead of discrete bits of
information facilitates memory and recall.
Marketers use grouping to suggest certain
desired meanings in connection with their
products.
Groupings has implications for placing products
in supermarkets.

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

For example: the placement of Coca-Cola


products in supermarkets is a good example of
grouping.
The company creates interaction points by
placing different-size Coca Cola bottles and its
bottled water next to foods with which they are
connected.
For example: bottled water is placed near salad
bars and family-size bottles of Coke next to
takeout counters containing large portions of
prepared foods.

2. The Organization of
Stimuli

3. Closure: is peoples instinct to organize pieces of


sensory input into a complete image or feeling.
People need closure, which means that if they
perceive a stimulus as incomplete, they are
compelled to figure out its complete meaning.
The need for closure has interesting implications for
marketers.
Promotional messages in which viewers are required
to fill in information request for completion by
consumers and the very act of completion serves to
involve consumers more deeply in the message.

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

The interpretation of stimuli is also


uniquely individual, because it is based
on:
What individuals expect to see in light
of other previous experiences
The number of credible explanations
they can imagine
Their motives and interests at the time
of perception.

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

Individuals carry biased pictures in their


minds of the meanings of different
stimuli, which are termed stereotypes.
Sometimes when presented with sensory
stimuli, people add these biases to
what they see or hear and therefore
form distorted impressions.
Marketers must be aware of possible
stereotypes because these images
reflect people expectations and
influence how stimuli are then

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

For example: Saab, the Swedish


carmaker discovered that many
consumers perceived its cars as similar
to luxury cars made in Germany.
Saab eliminated this stereotype by
creating an ad with the following tagline:
Nicht German, which means Not
German

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

There are many reasons behind stereotyping but the


main reason people stereotype is to make the
processing of sensory input quicker and easier.
For example: many children have been educated to
offer their seats on a bus to older people, because
presumably, older people are physically weak.
However, an athletic older person may refuse the
offer, or even be insulted by it because he or she feels
that stereotyping all older people as weak is an insult.
Stereotyping involves oversimplifying an image
either positively or negatively

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli
The triggers of
stereotyping are:
1. Physical appearance
2. Descriptive terms
3. First impression
4. The halo effect

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

1. Physical appearance: People usually attribute


the qualities they associate with certain types of
people to others who resemble them, whether or
not they consciously recognize the similarity.
For this reason, the selection of models for print
advertisements and for television commercials can
be a key element in their persuasiveness.
Culturally, attractive models are likely to be more
persuasive and have a more positive influence
on consumer attitudes and behavior that averagelooking models.

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

However, using attractive models without any


considerations does not increase ads
effectiveness.
Advertisers must have a rational match between
the product advertised and the physical attributes
of the model used to promote it.
Example: attractive models are likely to be
perceived a having more expertise regarding
enhancement products (e.g., jewelry, lipstick,
perfume) but not problem-solving products (e.g.,
products that correct beauty flaws such as acne or
dandruff).

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

Products physical appearance often


influence consumers judgments.
For example: ice cream packages are
round because this shape was found to
communicate abundance.

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

2. Descriptive terms: Stereotypes are


often reflected in verbal messages.
For example: consumers who eat foods
with elaborate names such as succulent
Italian seafood filet are very likely to
rate those foods as tastier than those
who eat the same foods with such
ordinary names as seafood filet.

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

3. First impressions: First impressions


usually can be lasting, shown by the
saying that Youll never have a second
chance to make a first impression.
Because first impressions can be lasting,
introducing a new product before it has
been perfected may prove to be very
damaging to its ultimate success.

3. The Interpretation of
Stimuli

4. Halo effect: refers to the overall evaluation


of an object that is based on the evaluation of
just one or a few dimensions.
In marketing, the term refers to a prestigious
image of a product rubbing off on other
products marketed under the same brand
name.
For example: consumers who admire Porsche
cars will be willing to spend a lot of money on
sunglasses and other accessories sold under
the same brand name.

Reference

Schiffman L. G., Wisenblit J. L. (2015)


Consumer Behavior, 11th Edition,
Pearson , Global Edition.

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