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Chapter 3. Consumer Perception. Consumer Perception. Snapshot from the Marketplace. The U.S. auto industry, for years, has suffered a low-quality image perception. In 2007, domestic automakers took steps to adopt new technologies and innovations.

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chapter 3

Chapter 3

Consumer Perception

Consumer Perception

snapshot from the marketplace
Snapshot from the Marketplace
  • The U.S. auto industry, for years, has suffered a low-quality image perception.
  • In 2007, domestic automakers took steps to adopt new technologies and innovations.
  • Among these steps was the development of hybrid and electric cars.
  • In the battle of American brands against imports, GM and Ford performed remarkably.
  • In view of rising oil prices, success speculation for hybrid/electric cars is certain.
what is perception
What Is Perception?
  • The process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting sensation into a meaningful whole
what is perception cont d
What is Perception? (cont’d)
  • Although our senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) play a major role in our comprehension of an event, our interpretation of the sensation may distort the intended message.
  • Our frame of reference affects how we interpret a message.
three concepts related to perception
Three Concepts Related to Perception
  • Exposure
    • The act of deliberately or accidentally coming into contact with stimuli
  • Attention
    • The allocation of mental capacity to a stimulus
      • Planned, involuntary, and spontaneous attention
  • Sensation
    • Responses of the sensory receptors to a stimulus and transmission of this information to the brain
sensory systems











Exposure toRaw Data

Processingof Inputs

Interpretationof Inputs

Sensory Systems
  • 80 percent of what we receive from our environment is gained from vision.
  • Visual perception is a multi-dimensional process involving observation of many product aspects such as its color, size, shape, and movement.
  • Scents can stir emotions, elicit memories, produce hunger, induce relaxation, or even repel us.
  • Responses to scents are culturally programmed, based on prior association between the aroma and the occasion/emotion that surrounded the smell.
  • Receptors residing on the tongue and palate combine with smell to produce the familiar taste sensations.
  • Acceptance of new or unfamiliar taste sensations can be learned through familiarity.
  • The new electronic tongue innovation is being used by the food and beverage industry to monitor product flavors.
  • Speech and music are two important weapons in the marketer’s arsenal.
  • Speech is a cognitive process that involves the use of words, syntax, and mode of delivery to communicate meaning.
  • Music, on the other hand, evokes feelings, stirs relevant emotions, or sets a desired mood to facilitate message reception.
  • Touch is part of the exploratory nature of human beings.
  • Physical contact with products provides consumers with vital information.
  • Electronic or catalog shopping neglects the importance of product exploration and active touching that many consumers desire.
input variation effect on sensation
Input Variation: Effect on Sensation
  • Sensation depends on input variation
  • As sensory input decreases, our ability to detect change increases
  • Implications for advertising:
    • Perceptual Overloading: the inability to perceive all stimuli competing for one’s attention
    • Perceptual Vigilance: the ability to disregard much of the stimulation one receives
stimulus individual factors of perception
Stimulus & Individual Factors of Perception

In the traditional view, two factors combine to produce perception:

  • Stimulus Factors
    • The physical characteristics of an object such as its size, color, and shape that produce a physiological impulse in an individual
  • Individual Factors
    • Qualities of individuals such as their needs, interests, and experiences that influence their interpretation of the impulse
top down and bottom up processing
Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processing
  • Two different pathways sensory inputs take before perception is formulated:
    • Bottom-up processing—information processing proceeds from the stimulus factors to construct the resulting recognition
    • Top-down processing—information processing proceeds from the individual factors to construct the resulting recognition
bottom up and top down processing
Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processing

Consumer Recognition


Consumer Recognition Pattern







Stimulus Properties


Stimulus Properties

threshold levels
Threshold Levels
  • Absolute Threshold
    • Lowest intensity level at which one can detect a stimulus
  • Terminal Threshold
    • A point beyond which intensity increases of a stimulus produce no greater sensation
  • Differential Threshold (JND)
    • The smallest increment in the intensity of a stimulus that one can detect
applications of the jnd to marketing
Applications of the JND to Marketing
  • Price changes: to be effective, price discounts have to exceed the JND, whereas price increases should be below the JND
  • Changes in product/package sizes: companies often use a strategy of downsizing (unnoticeable decrease in package size or contents while maintaining the same price) to combat rising costs of ingredients
  • Weber’s Law: the JND is a function of the initial intensity
consumer chronicles 8 4 some approximate detection threshold values
Sense Detection

Modality Threshold

Light A candle flame seen at 30 miles or a dark clear night.

Sound The tick of a watch under quiet conditions at 20 feet.

Taste One teaspoon of sugar in two gallons of water.

Smell One drop of perfume diffused into the entire volume of a three-room apartment.

Touch The wing of a bee falling on your back from a distance of one centimeter.

Consumer Chronicles 8.4Some Approximate Detection Threshold Values


Source: Donald H. McBurney and Virginia B. Collings, Introduction to Sensation/Perception (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1977), p. 7.

perceptual process 1 of 2
Perceptual Process (1 of 2)
  • Preattentive Processing
    • Exposure
    • Attention
    • Sensation
  • Perceptual Selection
    • Motives
    • Nature of the Stimulus
perceptual process 2 of 2
Perceptual Process (2 of 2)
  • Perceptual Organization (Gestalt Psychology)
    • Grouping
    • Figure and ground
    • Closure
    • Proximity
    • Context
  • Perceptual Interpretation and Elaboration
    • Perceptual inference
    • Elaboration
the perceptual process
The Perceptual Process
  • Preattentive Processing
    • the simultaneous preconscious monitoring of all sensory channels for events that will require a shift in attention
  • Perceptual Selection
    • that portion of stimuli selected for conscious processing or focal attention
  • Perceptual Organization
    • how consumers classify perceptions into categories and apply prior knowledge about the categories to organize them.
  • Perceptual Interpretation and Elaboration
    • how consumers derive meaning from the totality of the perceptual information they receive at a given moment.
three concepts related to perception1
Three Concepts Related to Perception
  • Exposure
    • The act of deliberately or accidentally coming into contact with stimuli
  • Attention
    • The allocation of mental capacity to a stimulus
      • Planned, involuntary, and spontaneous attention
  • Sensation
    • Responses of the sensory receptors to a stimulus and transmission of this information to the brain
perceptual selectivity
Perceptual Selectivity
  • Selective Exposure and Attention
    • A tendency of consumers to ignore stimuli that are unimportant to them
    • A tendency to heed information of interest as well as to avoid irrelevant or threatening information
      • Perceptual defense
      • Selective sensitization





perceptual selectivity cont d
Perceptual Selectivity (cont’d)
  • Selective Interpretation
    • Combining perceived stimuli with our prior learning, experience, expectations, and intentions to derive their meaning
  • Attention Stimulation
    • Placement, timing, and presentation of stimuli so that target consumers are most likely exposed to them
  • Adaptation Levels
    • Indifference to a stimulus to which one has become accustomed
perceptual organization
Perceptual Organization
  • Consumers classify perceptions into categories
  • Consumers apply prior knowledge about categories to organize them
  • Categories are shaped by goals, values, or the need to respond
  • Categories are socially and culturally constructed and learned
  • Categorization involves comparison between a perceived target and categorical knowledge.
gestalt psychology
Gestalt Psychology
  • A modern view that we perceive cohesive wholes and formulate total impressions rather than note solitary stimuli
  • Some Gestalt principles:
    • Closure
    • Grouping
    • Proximity
    • Context
    • Figure and ground
gestalt principles
Gestalt Principles
  • Closure: our tendency to perceive a complete object even thought some parts are missing
  • Grouping: our tendency to perceive large data chunks rather than small units
  • Proximity: objects close together seem to relate
  • Context: refers to the setting (e.g., the medium type) in which a stimulus (e.g., an ad) is presented
  • Figure and ground: objects or figures are perceived in relationship to background
perceptual organization1
Perceptual Organization
  • Grouping
    • Individuals assume that options found in proximity to one another go together.
  • Figure and ground
    • Individuals determine what aspects of stimuli they should focus on.
  • Closure
    • Individuals use partial cues to complete an image.
perceptual inferences
Perceptual Inferences
  • Beliefs we consciously or unconsciously assign to products, brands, stores, or firms based on previously acquired information and our own experiences
    • Halo effect: generalized impressions we form about products, brands, or stores to simply shopping
perceptual inference
Perceptual Inference
  • Perceptual Inferences
    • Interpretations that go beyond the information given.
  • Inferences are influenced by:
    • Context, goals, prior knowledge, personal experiences
  • Marketing Implications
    • brand extensions
    • priming

What flavor is this ice cream cone?

  • Elaboration: the extent to which perceptual stimuli are integrated with prior knowledge structure
    • High levels of elaboration lead to counterarguing, problem-solving, day-dreaming, and fantasizing
    • Low levels of elaboration involve simple recognition
  • A boomerang effect occurs when the attitude change is opposite to that advocated in the persuasive message.
schema and scripts
Schema and Scripts
  • Consumers store in their memory categorized information about objects
  • Schema: a set of expectations maintained by consumers that provides a structure for evaluating and interpreting incoming information
  • Scripts: appropriate behaviors or steps that we expect to go through in order to perform a familiar task
perception and images
Perception and Images
  • Image: the functional and psychological portrait that a stimulus paints in consumers’ minds
  • Imagery: the process by which we visualize sensory information in our working memory
    • Imagery plays a vital role in promotion
    • In advertising, imagery is created largely through illustrations
    • Imagery enhances comprehension and increases recall
    • Image protection, restoration, and enhancement are necessary strategies in today’s marketplace
  • Brand equity: the added value that a brand name brings to a product beyond the item’s functional value
perceptions of quality
Perceptions of Quality
  • Intrinsic Cues of Product Quality
  • Extrinsic Cues of Product Quality:
      • Brand name
      • Price
      • Store image
      • Manufacturer’s image
      • Country of origin image
product country image effects
Product-Country Image Effects
  • Product-Country image effects reflect consumers’ use of country of origin or country of manufacture as a cue to infer beliefs about product attributes.
  • Product-Country image (PCI) is a schematic mental representation of a country’s people, products, culture, and national symbols.
  • Consumer voting captures the normative dimension of product-country images. By deciding to purchase or avoid a country’s products, consumers “vote” for or against the policies of its government.
perception video
Perception Video
  • Selective Attention Test of Perception
situational influences on perception
Situational Influences on Perception
  • Situational variables are environmental circumstances that constitute the context within which purchases occur
  • They include:
    • Physical surroundings
    • Social surroundings
    • Task definition
    • Time perspective
    • Antecedent state
price perception
Price Perception
  • Reference Price/Standard Price
  • Acceptable price range
  • Reservation price
  • Expected price range
  • The assignment of meaning to sensations.
  • Cognitive
  • Affective
risk perception
Risk Perception
  • Any task we perform involves risk
  • Five types of perceived risk:
    • Functional risk
    • Financial risk
    • Physical risk
    • Social risk
    • Psychological risk
perception videos
Perception Videos
  • Perception of Reality
  • Perception of Beauty