Last Updated 17 Jun 2020

Consumer psychology and brand management

Category Brand, Psychology
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Single Abstract In a world where the consumer is confronted with a variety of alternatives to choose from, a strong brand can have a dramatic impact on his/her purchase decision. While it is often possible to imitate manufacturing processes, the beliefs, attitudes and associations established In the consumer's mind cannot simply be Imitated. Thus more and more firms and organizations of all types have realized that the brand name associated with their products or services is one of the most valuable assets hey own.

Branding Is an obligatory master course that builds upon the lessons learned in marketing core courses and provides deeper insights on two interrelated issues, consumer psychology and brand management. The concepts of branding taught In this class are relevant for any type of organization (public or private, large or small, etc. There is no denying the importance of branding, especially for the small business. Consumers are always willing to buy products they know and trust. A strong, well defined brand, gives you a competitive advantage In the market.

It allows o to charge more for your product, knowing that consumers will remain loyal, and buy it at the higher cost. That is the result of consistent reinforcing of the brand, which enables positive responses from the consumer. Introduction: Branding The origination of branding can be traced to ancient times, when specialists often put individual trademarks on hand-crafted goods. The branding of farm animals in Egypt in 2700 BC to avoid theft may be considered a form of trade marking.

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In 1266, English bakers were required by law to put a specific symbol on each product they sold. Branding became more widely used in the 19th century, through the industrial revolution and the development of new professional fields like marketing, manufacturing and business management Brand management begins with having a thorough knowledge of the term "brand". It includes developing a promise, making that promise and maintaining it. It means defining the brand, positioning the brand, and delivering the brand.

Brand management Is nothing but an art of creating and sustaining the brand. Branding makes customers committed tryout business. The aim of branding is to convey brand message vividly, create customer loyalty, erasure the buyer for the product, and establish an emotional connectivity with the customers. Branding forms customer perceptions about the product. It should raise customer expectations about the product. The primary aim of branding is to create business. Strong brands reduce customers' perceived monetary, social and safety risks in buying goods and services.

The customers can better imagine the intangible goods with the help of brand name. Strong brand organizations have a high market share. The brand should be given good support so that it can sustain itself in long run. It is essential to manage all brands and build brand equity over a period of time. Here comes importance and usefulness of brand management. Brand management helps in building a corporate image. A brand manager has to oversee overall brand performance. A successful brand can only be created if the brand management system is competent.

Evolution of Branding in India More and more firms have come to realize that one of the most valuable assets they own are not the bricks and mortar that are shown on the balance sheet but an off- balance-sheet item, 'brands'. For decades the value of a company was measured in arms of its buildings, land, and tangible assets (plant and machinery). It is only recently that it has been realized that its real value lies outside the business itself, in the minds of potential buyers.

Brand awareness, image, trust and reputation, all painstakingly built up over the years, are the best guarantee of future earnings. Asker (1991) defines a brand as a distinguishing name and [or symbol (such as a logo, trademark, or package design) intended to identity the goods or services of a seller and to differentiate those goods or services from those competitors. With the world coming a single market where consumers can pick and choose brands originating in different countries, managing brands has become a challenge.

This is all the more true for Indian economy as almost all the global brands are found here after liberalizing. Current Scenario of Branding in India Liberalizing, prevarication and globalization among other things have affected Indian brands. Indian brands which had thrived under protected imports environment, are suddenly finding even their survival threatened from the imports from China. As of today, it can safely be said that the Indian brands have successfully pulsed the attack of Chinese brands.

On the flip side, all this has taught Indian brand managers a few lessons also; Indian brands can survive in the long-term only if they achieve a value advantage over the new brands entering the country. Most of the multinationals learnt the hard way how value conscious the Indian consumer is as when the first wave of big name multinational brands came into the country, post-1991, they were value arrogant, They did not developed, starved for international quality market place, They were proved wrong (leading to the debate about whether the middle class actually exists or not) .

The " starved for goodies' Indian consumer has been less than enthusiastic about international brands of Scotch, Luxury cars, breakfast cereals, American colas, Jeans, cosmetics and sunglasses. Top of the line Japanese television brands did not get the same response as did the Korean. The Korean refrigerators, Televisions and cars are winning against Indian brands. Why? Better quality products and comparable prices. The benefit-cost equation gives them a value advantage.

Why didn't the breakfast cereals take the Indian market by storm, even thought they were launched by an international blue - health benefits along with added convenience. Because the Indian consumer did not perceive it providing the necessary value to them. The Indian brands that are successful are the winners because of better understanding of what drives consumer v value, Naira is the epitome of this, and the pioneer of what is now acknowledged as the best way to win in the 10 times larger than that of the marketing as'. N. Y multinational in India Hindustan Lever limited. It provided adequate quality at affordable prices.

Naira is clearly the pioneer of the high volume, low margin, low cost business system which is perfect for unlocking the potential of the Indian market arbitrary- a formula most Macs Just don't' get'(Bujumbura, 2001) However, there are certain successful ' premium' Indian brands in product categories like Jewelry and readmes garments, Tannins is one such example, The story of Tannins began when Titan entered the Jewelry business in 1995, Primarily as a manufacturer with retailing as a distribution channel But the company soon realized that selling jewelry was actually a more retail-intensive business, and that the real v value addition and competitive challenge was to establish itself at the front end. Though he company designs, manufactures and markets Jewelry but the primary focus is to define themselves as retailers and create a unique proposition that consumers can relate to. The challenges have been many. The Jewelry industry in India has 3. 5 lake players and is estimated to be worth about RSI 40,000 core. The share of the organized sector in this is Just RSI. 1,000 core. Tannins has managed to carve a niche for itself within this segment by becoming Indian's first branded Jewelry manufacturer and retailer, and by bringing professionalism to the market.

Tannins' arrival has helped change customer attitudes, while altering the traditional way jeweler did business, The change in the way Jewelry is perceived in India is reflected in the move away from traditional heavy designs to finely crafted, aesthetic pieces that use different metals and stones in a variety of colors, Tannins has responded to this by developing designs with the help of in-house award-winning designers blending Indian and international trends to bring outstanding products to the store shelf. Presently, Tannins is positioned as a premium brand but with some ranges affordable to the masses. Also, purity is an essential characteristic of Tannins jewelry. Nevertheless, Indian brands are there to stay because it is they who understand Indian consumer better than anybody else. In this scenario, marketing professionals sense that an increased emphasis upon price, often involving the excessive use of price promotion is resulting in the deterioration of industries into commodity - like business areas.

Hence, more resources are to be diverted into brand - building activities, to develop points of differentiation and the need to develop sustainable competitive advantages based upon non-price competition. A Consumer-psychology Model of Brands The model presented here addresses consumer perceptions and Judgments and their underlying processes as they relate to brands. In contrast to general information processing models, the consumer- psychology model of brands focuses specifically on the unique characteristics of brands. One brand, for example, can p across various products and product categories. Brand information is conveyed frequently through multi-sensory stimulation. Brands can form relations with other cultural symbols.

Finally, consumers can organize communities around brands. Consumers know and experience these characteristics about brands and respond to them. The model presented here accounts for these essential characteristics of brands. The structure of the model also reflects an understanding that consumers have different levels of psychological engagement with brands because of different needs, motives and goals. These levels of engagement are represented in the model by three layers. The innermost layer represents object centered, functionally-driven engagement; that is, the consumer acquires information about the brand with the goal of receiving utilitarian benefits from the brand.

The middle layer represents a self-centered engagement; the brand is seen as personally relevant to the consumer. Finally, the outer layer represents social engagement with the brand; the brand is viewed from an interpersonal and socio-cultural perspective, and provides a sense of community. As we move from the inner to the outer layer, the brand becomes increasingly meaningful to the consumer. Most importantly, the model distinguishes five brand-related processes: identifying, experiencing, integrating, signaling and connecting with the brand. As part of identifying, a consumer identifies the brand ND its category, forms associations, and compares the relations between brands.

Experiencing refers to sensory, affective and participatory experiences that a consumer has with a brand. Integrating means combining brand information into an overall brand concept, personality and relationship with the brand. Signifying refers to using the brand as an informational cue, identity signal and cultural symbol. Finally, connecting with the brand includes forming an attitude toward the brand, becoming personally attached to it and connecting with the brand in a brand community. These processes are not necessarily one-directional and linear, in the way that information processing is presented from encoding to choice. As will be discussed in more detail at the end of this article, processes may occur in different orders.

Moreover, while each construct is assumed to be conceptually distinct, a given construct may overlap, to some degree, with another construct, and different constructs may interact. Let's look at the constructs within each process in more detail. What happens during the processes of identifying, experiencing, integrating, signifying and connecting? Brand Identifying The process of identifying refers to searching for, being exposed to and collecting information about the brand, its category and related brands. Depending on a consumer's level of psychological engagement, the identification process concerns primarily categorization, associations with the brand, or inter brand relations.

Brand Categorization When consumers engage with a brand in an object-centered way, they are mostly concerned with the brand, its product category and how the two are related. The primary task is linking brand (its name and logo) to a product category, or, for corporate brands, industry category. Stimulus or memory-based categorization is a prerequisite for pursuing a brand-related goal (Alba, Hutchinson, & Lynch, 1991; that is, a consumer must know at least the name and category to purchase a brand. At times, this may be enough: awareness of the link between a brand and its category may directly lead to choice (Hoer &Brown, 1990; Unending, 1990). Depending on verbally (e. G. Kellogg Corn Flakes) or visually through physical proximity (the brand name appears on the product packaging or web site), through temporal proximity (the name appears soon after a product shot in an ad), or through design (Sauerkraut &Malter, 2005). There can be dilution effects, for example, when the distinction between brand names is blurred through similarity of the name or logo of a new brand to an existing brand (Pulling, Simmons, & Nanometer, 2006). Brand awareness is an important memory-based categorization task in which a consumer recalls a specific brand name when presented with the category. Memory depends on retrieval cues. Retrieval cues may be self-generated or externally-generated (Lynch& Gurus, 1982).

Two key retrieval cues that have been extensively studied are the product category and other brands (Alba & Psychotherapy, 1985; Alba et al. 1991; Unending, 1990). In addition, recall and recognition of a brand may be enhanced by linguistic characteristics and retrieval cues in communications and through lexical relations between the ad copy and brand name (Keller, 1987; Lowery, Shrub, & Dubiety's, 2003; Schmitt, Dovetails, & Millard, 1993). There is one additional key categorization task, namely identifying an additional category that may fit a brand, a topic that has been the subject of the extensive literature on brand extensions mentioned earlier. In brand extension research, consumers are typically asked about hypothetical new categories for existing brands.

Consumers must thus decide whether a new product category should be integrated, and in the future be categorized, as belonging to an existing brand. Broadly speaking, two factors affect the relation between the brand and the extension: inter-category dynamics (such as overall fit, degree of congruence, intervening extensions) and brand specific dynamics (such as brand name suggestiveness, brand breadth, affect, attachment, and mood). Brand Associations To engage with a brand in self-relevant ways, consumers identify information that is relevant to them. The unique set of brand associations that a brand strategist aspires to create or maintain in the consumer's mind constitutes a brand's identity (Asker, 1996).

This information may include, among others, brand attributes, benefits, and images that the consumer encounters (Keller, 2003). Of course, in addition to associations provided by firms, consumers will develop their own associations with brands, for example, cognitive responses that the consumer generates about the brand (Keller, 2003). The information is stored as brand associations in consumer memory. Research has employed associative network models, in which a person's Emory is made up of links and nodes, to represent brand associations in the consumer's mind (Fuhrman , 1993). Brand associations can differ in valence, strength, uniqueness and coherence (Keller, 1993).

Brand associations are also structured in terms of level of generality. For example, some associations may be held about the overall brand (e. G. , Sony) whereas others may focus on exemplars of the brand (e. G. , Sony TV's) (Eng & Houston, 2006). The activation of brand associations is often automatic in nature. The so-called"mere association effect" can be detected through an implicit cognition measure (Demote & Yalta, 2011). Brand Experiencing and the participatory experiences that a consumer may seek with a brand. Research has conceptualized experiences as multi-dimensional, including sensory, affective- cognitive, and behavioral dimensions (Brakes et al. , 2009).

Multi-sensory perception At various contact points (or"touch points") with consumers, brands provide multi- sensory stimulations through sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. When consumers are engaged with a brand in an object-centered, functional way, they pick up the multi-sensory stimuli of a brand (its logo, brand characters, verbal or auditory slogan) s presented in a store or on TV, in print or banner ads rather mindlessly. At times, one sensory modality may dominate (think of paint, surround sound systems, fragrances, massage services, and ice cream brands). In perceiving most brands, however, more than one sense is involved: think of the roles that sight, sound, and touch play in evaluating a car brand. At consumption, many brands involve all five senses.

Moreover, sensory cues within an environment can affect a brand; for instance, ambient scents can improve brand memory (Morris & Earthenware, 2003). Brand Integrating During the integration process, consumers combine brand information and summarize it in an overall brand concept, personality or relationship with the brand. Brand Concept Brand concept is a psychological construct consisting of the integrated information associated with a product brand or corporate brand. Brand concepts facilitate functionally-driven goal pursuit. The integrated information is usually stored in the form of a super ordinate concept (e. G. , as a "quality," "innovative, or "lifestyle"brand).

The overall brand concept (or "image," or "core) has been considered an integral impotent of brand equity and has been widely employed in management-focused writings (Asker,1996; Augural & Raw, 1996; Keller, 1993; Park & Cravings,1994; Park et al. , 1986). The information integration that results in a brand concept may be the outcome of some sort of cognitive algebra that, following Andersen's information integration theory, weights the brand-related information acquired and stored in memory (Anderson, 1981). Also, certain information, particularly the information resulting from multi-sensory perceptions, may be more or less salient which affects its incorporation into the brand concept.

Finally, the information may be overall more or less well integrated. One methodology to elicit brand concepts from consumers is to create "Brand Concept Maps" (Reorder John, Looked, Kim, & Mongo, 2006). The methodology allows researchers to determine how important brand associations are, whether they are direct or indirect associations, and how interconnected they are within a brand concept. Brand Personality When consumers are engaged in a self-relevant way, information and experiences may be integrated further by inferring trait and personality characteristics about a brand (Asker, 1997). By ascribing human characteristics to a brand, consumers are anthropomorphic it (Gradual & McGill, 2007).

These brand personalities are relatively stable over time but can vary in different consumption settings, in line with the idea of a "malleable self" (Asker, 1999; Graff, 1997). Most importantly, these inferred personalities differentiate brands in the mind of consumers even when consumers cannot articulate differences in associated attributes and benefits, or product category is a case in point. One vodka may be seen as "cool" and "hip," whereas another may be described as "intellectual" and"conservative"(Asker, 1997). A five-factor structure-?sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness-?seems to best display American consumers' brand personality perceptions (Asker,1997).

Three dimensions (Sincerity, Excitement, and Competence) resemble closely three human personality dimensions (Agreeableness, Extroversion, and Conscientiousness), whereas two dimensions (Sophistication and Ruggedness) are not consistent with those of the big-five human personality models (McCrae & Costa, 1997). However, the brand personality structure may not be universal (Capybara, Barreling, & Guide, 2001). Only three of the five factors applied to brands in Japan and Spain (Asker, Bent-Martinez, & Garbler, 2001). Peacefulness replaced Ruggedness both in Japan and Spain; Passion emerged in Spain instead of Competency. A revised brand personality scale exhibits cross-cultural validity between the U. S. And European markets (Genes, Western, & De Wolf, 2009).

Brand Relationships In addition to assigning human-like properties to brands, consumers may also interact with brands in ways that parallel interpersonal and social relationships. Indeed, in qualitative research, Fourier (1998) found evidence for all sorts of customer-brand relationships, fifteen in total, including: arranged marriages, casual friends/buddies, marriages of convenience, committed partnerships, best friendships, compartmentalized friendships, kinship, rebounds/avoidance-driven relationships, childhood friendships, courtships, dependencies, flings, enmities, secret affairs, and enslavement. Brand Signifying Symbiotically, brands may be viewed as signifier that transfer meaning (Mica, 1986).

Depending on the consumer's engagement, a brand may act as an informational cue, personal identity signal or cultural symbol. Signifying may occur heuristically, without the need for extensive processing (Menswear, Mackey, & Chicken, 1992). Brands as informational cues the accumulated information and knowledge about a brand can be used in a functional-rational way as informational cues. Price and quality of a brand are the most widely used types of informational signals, signifying that a brand is a value, premium or luxury brand (Estimate, 1988). In a competitive marketplace, brands can be used by firms to inform consumers about product positions in the marketplace (Order & Swat, 1998).

Brands can do so especially well hen the signal that they convey is clear and consistent, and, most importantly, credible (that is, truthful and dependable). Brands as identity signals When the self is engaged, then the brand can be a signal for a consumer's personal identity, to both the consumer and to others. Psychological research has shown that the self consists of stable knowledge structures (so-called "self-schemas") that organize incoming self-related information and help people make sense of themselves in their environments (Markus, 1977). People vary in their tendency to possess particular self-schemas, and this variation leads to differential attitudes and behaviors toward objects, including brands (Markus, 1983; Markus & Cent's, 1982).

Consumers with a strong masculine self-schema described fragrance brands in more accentuated gendered terms and held sharply different brand preferences than Finally, the model distinguishes three psychological constructs to indicate various ways of connecting with a brand that differ in strength and affect the consumer's interaction with a brand: brand attitude (resulting from object-centered engagements with brands), brand attachment (resulting from self centered engagements), and brand community (resulting from interpersonal and socio-cultural engagements Brand Attitude Brand attitudes are psychological tendencies to evaluate objects along a degree of favor or liking. Attitudes toward brands, or ads, have been central constructs in consumer psychology for a long time (Mackenzie, Lutz, & Belch, 1986; Mitchell & Olson, 1981). Recently, following dual-processing theories in psychology, a distinction has been drawn between implicit and explicit attitudes (Garrisons & Boathouses, 2006). The basis of implicit attitudes is seen in associative processes that are activated automatically with little cognitive capacity or explicit intention to evaluate n object.

For brands, they may be the result of a classical conditioning process, e. G. , by pairing sensory images with brands (Grossman & Till, 1998). Explicit attitudes, in contrast, are evaluative Judgments that are derived through a reflective system and the resulting propositions are subject to syllogistic inferences that assess their validity. Positive attitudes express a relatively weak connection with a brand. They are generalized dispositions to behave toward a brand, and they may lead to simple preference and purchase intention. But attitudes are often not stable over time, and he attitude behavior link is weak and subject to numerous moderators effects (Park & McGinnis, 2006).

Brand Attachment For self-related engagement, brand attachment seems to be the essential construct that expresses a consumer's connection with a brand. Brand attachment provides stronger connections than brand attitudes (Thomson et al. , 2005). Attachment was originally used in developmental psychology in the realm of parent infant relationships to define a strong bond between a child and caretaker (Bowl by, 1979). After childhood, attachment can manifest itself in romantic relationships (Hazard & Shaver, 1994), kinship, and friendships (Trinket & Bartholomew, 1997; Weiss, 1988). In the realm of consumer psychology, consumers can form emotional attachments to gifts, collectibles, places of residence, and, in particular, brands (Thomson et al. 2005). Brand attachment and brand attitude have distinct conceptual properties and formation processes, and, therefore, different behavioral implications (Park, McGinnis, Priests, Considering, & laconic, 2010). Brand attachment predicts consumer intentions to perform behaviors that use significant resources, such as time, money, and reputation, better than brand attitudes. Attachment may be viewed as an antecedent of true loyalty. Challenges to Branding and Brand Management in Future Influx of information technology: The adoption of information technology (IT) is increasingly affecting the role of the brand in simplifying customer search.

IT implementations are permitting companies to develop customer loyalty programmers; ownership of this customer information is becoming the key to power. For the consumers, the internet has the potential to which in turn will cause markets to become more efficient. Although it is argued that marketing is indispensable in commodity markets, there is no doubt that marketing arks best and most effectively when the market is less than efficient. As markets approach efficiency, marketing in the traditional brand-oriented sense becomes increasingly problematic. The internet may "commodities" information, making customer search easier and less costly. Today, by using search engines, a buyer may seek, via the web, a certain product with a set of desired features at a given price.

Hence, as IT development make markets more efficient and possible lessen the role of the "search cost" function of manufacturers' brands, the relevance and usefulness f the search agents (engines) or information provider's brand are likely to increase. This is validated by the fact that in November 1999 Astray Inflows acquired underworld. Co. In, a Net portal for a whooping RSI. 499 core (Sahara, 2001). Changing Consumer Values: Changing demographics ensure that an ever-growing proportion of future markets will be composed of experienced buyers who are more self-assured, more willing to accept responsibility for Judging the relationship between quality and price, more skeptical of superficial blandishments, and more capable of choosing from among a multitude of sellers. Much better attuned to what value is they will seek it out tenaciously, aided in their search by technology.

Firms, in turn, are offering more services and higher product quality, that is, more value for the same amount of money. Consumers increasingly expect and even demand these added benefits. Assiduous consumer Judgments of perceived quality versus price compel brand owners to accurately benchmark competitive value and price. Brand extension or Dilution: An accepted way to expand product range and volume is the extension of brand s by introducing new products that leverage the brand across categories. Brand extension, a rational strategy if well conceived and pursued with restraint, can all too easily degenerate into brand dilution. Hence, the lure of short- term volume gain through extension can "kill" ore greatly weaken the pared brand. Short - Termite" and Rewards: For companies traded on the stock exchanges, ignoring shareholder value is a perilous course. To pursue short-term profit at the expense of long- term profit does not typically serve the interests of shareholders and can result in brand - destroying strategies. When reporting on the results of company operations, accounting inventions require the reporting of a balance-sheet and an income statement. Clearly, to protect their interests, shareholders must know whether reported profits are associated with an increase or deterioration in net asset value. The ideal objective is to increase both profit and net asset value rather than trade off one against the other.

Typically, brand managers have been encouraged to improve short-term performance measures, such as operating profit or brand share, with little consideration of the consequences for the net asset value of the brand, Better managed, fast- moving consumer goods companies have recognized this problem ND have incorporated into their assessment systems some kind of brand - equity measurement (Brother et al. , 1999). Limit on Premium that the Brands can sustain: report in 1993 in the Financial World in which Marlboro was rated as the top brand of the world. But Marlboro was in decline for some years, with its share of the US cigarette market falling from as high as 30 per cent to 22 per cent. Smokers were increasingly unwilling to pay Marlboro price premium. On Marlboro Friday, 2nd April 1993, Philip Morris cut the brand's price and accepted lower profits as the cost of rebuilding market share. Instantly, Philip Morris market capitalization fell 23 per cent] is that the brands cane no longer prepared to pay a premium for added value.

There is no doubt that the consumer are becoming more demanding, looking for better value, rather than Just looking for better price. Provided brands are built on consumer relevant added values, they are still able to sustain a price premium. However, there are limits on the premium that can be charged. In the new branding mode, firms are becoming more aware that if their brands added values are superficial, consumer's skepticism is likely to be aroused. The unfortunate ensconce are that rather than consumers perceiving the price premium as being fair, it is perceived as a tax, with all the consequential negative associations (De Cornerstone, 1996).

Cost Transparency - The net threat to brands: Internet represents the biggest threat thus far to a company's ability to brand its products, extract price premium from buyers, and generate high profit margins, the Web makes price comparisons much easier, and also makes cost transparency possible. This is a situation made possible by abundance of free, easily obtained information on the internet. The net arms buyers with information about price, laity and features about competing brands with the help of a few effortless keystrokes. They can after find lower prices for books, CDC, computers, and airfares at an internet store. They can also log on to price-comparison sites and compare the prices and features of different brands.

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