Speaking to the Head and the Heart To acquire, retain, and grow customers, companies need to know how customers make brand decisions. The brand decision can be primarily cognitive or experiential depending on the product category and situation. Brand decision-making is partly rational and partly emotional, so brands must speak to both the head and the heart. Brand Decision Process
Three factors influence decision-making: Level of involvement (high to low) Customers (retention) versus Prospects (acquisition) Consumers versus Businesses Factors That InfluenceBrand Decisions
Basic Brand Decision-making Steps • Step 1: Problem and Opportunity Recognition • Step 2: Information Search • Step 3: Evaluation of Choices • Step 4: Behavior and Action • Step 5: Review of Buying Decision
Step 1:Problem and Opportunity Recognition What are the needs and wants? Before brand messages can influence customers or prospects, brand messages must first get the attention of these customers and prospects. Selective perception is the process used to decide what is worthy of attention.
Safety and Security Needs • We often see marketers use the safety need of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in automobile ads.
Safety and Security Needs • In this ad, Mercedes-Benz is positioning a luxury car on the Safety Appeal.
Step 2: Information Search • During the search for information, customers usually focus on the differences they perceive among competing brands. • Brand awareness and brand knowledge are crucial here. • Research shows that when customers see marketing communication that is relevant to them, they are more likely to pay attention and think about it. • Two routes used in information searching: • Central Route • Peripheral Route
Step 3: Evaluation of Choices – Cognitive Responses A cognitive response involves reasoning, judgment, or knowledge. For both consumers and businesses, using an evoked set of brands in frequently purchased product categories can greatly simplify the process. Six risks both consumers and businesses try to minimize: • Financial risk • Performance risk • Physical risk • Psychological risk • Social risk • Time-loss risk
An affective response involves emotional processing and results in preferring (or not preferring) a brand and developing a conviction about it. Step 3: Evaluation of Choices – Affective Responses
Step 4: Behavior and Action • Attitudes and behavior are linked, however the links are not always direct or clear. • People act according to their attitudes and beliefs, as well as what they know.
Step 5: Review of Buying Decision Customers evaluate purchases consciously or subconsciously and arrive at some level of satisfaction. This leads to either a repeat purchase or a return to a search for a different brand. The review process involves learning. Two theories of learning: • Cognitive Learning • Conditioned Learning
Persuasion:Hierarchy-of-Effects-Models Persuasion is the act of creating changes in beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. A classic persuasion model is AIDA.
Persuading People toPersuade Themselves • Marketing communication is a type of intervention in a customer’s brand decision process. • The intervention works only if the planner truly understands the customer’s relationship to the brand. • From an IMC perspective, communication that helps customers and responds to them in a personal way is much more persuasive than communication that tries to manipulate them.