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									Lecture#4 Consumer Perception

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SCHOOL OF BUSINESS STUDIES SOUTHEAST UNIVERSITY MBA Program MKT-661: Consumer Behavior Lecture -4
Topic: Consumer Perception

Expected Lecture Output as Knowledge Model Questions:

 Elements of Perception  The differential Threshold  Marketing application of j.n.d Dynamics of perception: Perceptual selection Perceptual organization

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Lecture#4 Consumer Perception

What is Perception?

Perception is defined as the process by which an individual selects, organizes, and

interprets 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 under the same apparent condition, but each person recognizes, selects, organizes and interprets them is a highly individual process based on each person‟s own needs, values and expectations. Some of the basic concepts that trigger the perceptual process are discussed below: Sensation: Sensation (impression/feeling) is the immediate and direct response of the sensory organs to simple stimuli (like: an advertisement, a package, a brand name). A stimulus is any unit of input to any of the senses. Example of stimuli (that is sensory input) includes product, packages, brand names, advertisements, and commercials. Sensory receptors are the human organs (the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin) that receive sensory inputs. Their sensory functions are to see, hear, smell, taste and feel. little or no sensation from the inputs of such noisy stimuli as sound of the horn. In situations in which there is a great deal of sensory input, then senses do not detect small changes or differences in input. The Absolute Threshold: The point at which a person can detect a difference between “something” and “nothing” is that person‟s absolute threshold (entrance/access) for that stimulus. Driving through a “corridor” of billboards (For example: Dhaka-Chittagong highway), the absolute threshold increases (that is, the senses tend to become increasingly dulled). After an hour of driving through billboards, it is doubtful that any one billboard will make an impression. Sensory adaptation (adjustment) is a problem that concerns many national advertisers, which is why they try to change their advertising campaigns regularly. They are concerned that consumers will get used to their current print ads and TV commercials that they will no longer ”see” them; that is, the ads will no longer provide sufficient sensory input to be noted. Some marketers seek unusual media i which to place their advertisements in an effort to gain attention. Some advertise their products on bus shelters (For example: The ad of Pride Sarees on Volvo Bus); others on parking meters and shopping carts.

For example, a person who lives in a busy street of Dhaka City would probably receive

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Package designers try to determine consumers‟ absolute thresholds to make sure that their new product designs will be noticeable from competitors „package on retailers‟ shelves. The Differential Threshold: The minimal difference that can be detected between two similar stimuli (here we will consider price as stimuli) called the differential threshold or the j.n.d.(for just noticeable

difference). For example if the price of an apartment were increased by $200, it would probably not

be noticed (i.e. the increment would fall below the j.n.d.). If the price increases $400 or more than the previous differential price would be noticed. However consumers would notice a $1 increase in the price of rice/wheat very quickly, because it is a significant percentage of the initial (base) cost of the rice/wheat.

Marketing Applications of the J.N.D. Weber‟s law has important applications in marketing. Look at page no. 160 for Weber’s law Manufacturers & marketers make an effort to determine the relevant j.n.d. for their products for two very different reasons: 1) So that negative changes (e.g. reduction in the product size) are not readily visible to the pubic (they remain below the j.n.d.) and 2) So that product improvements (such as improved or updated packaging) are very apparent to consumers without being wastefully extravagant (they are above the j.n.d.). Marketers often want to update their existing package designs without losing -the ready recognition of consumers who have been exposed to years of cumulative advertising Impact. In such cases they usually make a number of small changes, each carefully designed to fall below the j.n.d. so that consumers will recognize minimal difference.

Pepsi redesigned its packaging in 1997 to update its look. Its new cola cans are bright

royal blue, with the word Pepsi in white lettering rising vertically up the side of the can. In order to provide continuity in perceived look, the company initially introduced the new packaging (and ads) in a lighter blue, which it gradually strengthen, making it globe logo more famous. Coca-cola also redesigned its signature red cans and labels in order to keep the brand looking fresh and new. At the same time, it was concerned that consumer loyalists, who had rebelled at the introduction of the “new coke” in 1885- not erroneously perceive the newly designed can as a new taste formulation.

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Lecture#4 Consumer Perception

Dynamics of perception: Perception is the result of two different kinds of inputs that interact to form the personal pictures – the perceptions – that each individual experiences. One type of input is physical stimuli from the outside environment; the other type of input provided by individuals themselves in the form of certain tendency (expectations, motives and learning) based on previous experiences. These two very different kinds of inputs produce for each of us a very private, very personal picture of the world. Because each person is a unique individual and their perceptions are also unique. This explains why no two people see the world in precisely the same way. Individuals are very selective as to which stimuli they “recognize”; they unintentionally organize the stimuli they do recognize according to widely held psychological principals and they interpret such stimuli subjectively in accordance with their needs, expectations, and experiences.

3 aspects of perception: the selection, organization, and interpretation of stimuli.
A) Perceptual selection: For example: a woman in a super market (Like Agora), she may be showing to over 25,000 products of different color, sizes, and shapes; to perhaps 100 people (looking, working, searching, talking); to smells (from fruit, meat); to sounds within the store (cash registers ringing, shopping carts rolling); and to sounds from outside the store (planes passing, car honking). Yet she manages on regular basis to visit her local super market, select the items she needs, pay for them and leave, all within a relatively brief period of time, without losing her judgment or personal orientation to the world around her. This is because she exercises selectively in perception. Which stimuli get selected depends on 2 major factors in addition to the nature of the stimulus itself; 1) Consumers‟ previous experience as it affects their expectations (what they are prepared, or „set‟, to see) and 2) Their motives at the time (their needs, desires, interests and so on). The following points are also need to be considered in perceptual selection. 1. Nature of the stimulus: In an effort to achieve contrast, advertisers are also using splashes of color in black and white print ads to highlight the advertised product. With respect to packaging, smart marketers usually try to differentiate their packages to ensure rapid consumer perception. Since the average package on the super market shelf has about 1/10th of a second to make an impression on the consumer. it is important that every aspect of the package- the name, the color, the label and copy – provide sufficient sensory inspiration to be noted and remembered.

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2. Expectations: People usually see what they expect to see is usually based on familiarity, previous experience, or pre conditioned set (expectations). In a marketing context, people tend to perceive products and product attributes according to their own expectations. 3.Motives: People tend to perceive the things they need or want; the stronger the need or want; the stronger the need the greater the tendency to ignore unrelated stimuli in the environment. For example, a woman interested in a portable computer is more likely to notice and read carefully ads for computer laptops than her neighbor, who uses a desktop computer. The marketer can segment the market on the basis of those needs and vary the product advertising so that consumers in each segment will perceive the product as meeting their own special needs, wants, and interests. Important concepts concerning selective perception: 1. Selective Exposure: Consumers actively seek out messages that they find pleasant or with which they are sympathetic, and they actively avoid painful or threatening ones. 2. Selective Attention: People vary in terms of the kinds of information in which they are interested and the form of message and type of medium they prefer. Some people are more interested in price, some in appearance, and some in social acceptability, some people like complex, sophisticated messages; others like simple graphics. 3. Perceptual Defense: Consumers unintentionally screen out stimuli that they find psychologically threatening, event though exposure has already taken place. 4. Perceptual blocking: Consumers protect themselves from being attacked with stimuli by simply “turning out”blocking such stimuli from conscious awareness. The perceptual blocking is comparable to the “zapping” of TV commercial with remote controls. Look at page no. 172 for selective perception

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B) Perceptual organization: People tend to organize the numerous stimuli from the environment into groups and perceive them as unified wholes.

Three of the most basic principals of perceptual organization are discussed below:

1. Figure and Ground: Advertisers have to plan their advertisements carefully to make sure that the stimulus they want noted is seen as figure and not as a ground. The musical background must not overwhelm the jingle; print advertisers often line their products against a White or Black background to make sure that the features they want noted are clearly perceived. Marketers sometimes run advertisements that confuse the consumer because there is no clear indication of which is figure and which is ground. Look at figure: 6-8 on page 174

2.Grouping: For example, when AT&T introduced the idea of all digit telephone numbers, consumers objected actively on the grounds that they would not be able to recall or repeat a long string of numbers. However because we automatically group telephone numbers into two chunks or three, with the area code, the anticipated problems never occurred. 3.Closure: A classic study found that incomplete tasks are better remembered that complete tasks. A state of tension is created that manifests itself in improved memory for the incomplete task that has been called the Zeigernik effect, The need for closure has some interesting implications for marketers. Advertisers have discovered that they can achieve excellent results by using the soundtrack of a frequently shown television commercial on radio. Look at page no. 174-176 for closure

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Lecture#4 Consumer Perception

Model Questions
1. Describe how manufacturers of chocolate bars can apply their knowledge of the differential threshold to packages and prices during periods of: a) rising ingredients costs, b) increasing competition, and c) consumer nutrition concerns. 2. Discuss the differences between the absolute threshold and the differential threshold. 3. What are the implications of figure ground relationships for print ads and for online ads? How can the figure ground construct help or interfere with the communication of advertising messages?

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