Chapter 6 Consumer perception

Defined as the process by which an individual selects, organizes, and interprets stimuli into a meaningful and coherent picture of the world.

How we see the world around us; created by each person’s own needs, values, and expectations.

1. physical stimulus
2. functional factors
3. contextual factors

i. physical stimuli
ii. previous experience
iii. expectations
v. motives
recognize stimuli, categorizing them according to personal needs, expectations

The immediate and direct response of the sensory organs to stimuli
ex products, packaging, advertisements, commercials
Sensory receptors
The human organs such as the eyes, ears, nose , mouth or skin that receive sensory imports; sensitivity varies with the quality of the sensors , the intensity of the stimuli, and how often we hear the stimuli.

In places where there is a lot of stimuli, the senses cannot pick up on small changes.
likewise, when there is limited stimuli, the senses are more likely to pick up on small changes.

ex fragrances used in department store is meant to make their customers feel comfortable in the store, buy more, and stay longer;

Absolute threshold
The lowest (or highest) level at which an individual can experience or detect a stimulus.
ex spotting a billboard at different distances; deer whistle
sensory adaption
as our exposure to the stimuli increases we will notice it less; this concerns many advertisers because they have to change their advertising campaigns regularly. (ads will no longer provide sufficient sensory input to be noted)

ex experimental marketing, sophisticated scented ads, inserts and pop-ups, ambush advertising, product placements.

differential threshold (Just noticeable difference or jnd)
The minimum difference that can be detected between two stimuli; ability to perceive changes in stimuli

1. makes negative changes (smaller size or quantity) not noticeable to the public
2. product improvements (updated packaging, larger size or quantity, cheaper price) are very apparent to consumers without being wasteful.

ex volume, temperature, quality, price

ex to make an advertisement of silver tarnish, (which product life is 25 days) would need an increase of 5 days longer, any longer and it would not be seen as an improvement.

brand symbols slowly make sequential changes to keep up with the times, without losing its older customers.

Weber’s Law
The jnd between two stimuli varies according to the relative amount of intensity of the first stimulus.

Inversely related to the stimulus

ex an orange juice’s ratio of fresh to concentrate.
ex gas prices

Subliminal perception.
stimulus that is beyond our conscious recognition; weak and brief to consciously seen or hear may nevertheless be strong enough to be perceived by one or more receptive cells. these messages can trigger certain associations and motivations. reduces anti-social behaviors

ex New Jersey drive in theater: eat popcorn, drink coke
lion king- sex in dust cloud

physical stimuli
The outside environment
Previous experience
Provided by individual’s in the form of certain dispositions ;

ie expectations, motives, and learning

Aspects of Perception
1. Selection
2. organization
3. interpretation
Nature of the stimlus
Marketing: nature of the product, its physical attributes, brand name, package design, advertisements

Contrast: one of the most attention compelling, ex size

See what they expect to see, usually based on familiarity, previous experience, preconditioned sets of expectations.

ex going to see a scary movie

People tend to perceive things they want or need. The stronger the need, the greater tendency to ignore unrelated stimuli

position ads that reflect these perceived values.

ex someone who is looking for a car will pay more attention to cars.

selective exposure
Consumers actively seek out messages that they find pleasant or with which they are sympathetic & reaffirm their purchase decisions.
selective attention
heightened awareness to stimuli that meet their needs or interests and minimal awareness that are irrelevant.

Also include what format they like their information to be in.

perceptual defense
Screen out stimuli that are psychologically threatening; therefore they distort the images
Perceptual blocking
consumers protect themselves from the bombardment of stimuli by “blocking out” stimuli to prevent being overwhelmed.
perceptual organization (Gesalt psychology)
Meaning is assigned by the individual ; compare stimulus to past & categorize.

1. figure and ground

ex jumping out of the bushes at night with an eraser; likely to perceive it as a weapon

figure and ground
Stimuli that contrast with their environment stand out more.
ground- background, submissive
figure- appears more dominant b/c of contrast, want it to the focus of an ad.
Product placement (branded entertainment)
the advertising product is integrated and featured in the tv programs
1. product being used by the cast
2.products are integrated into the plot
3. the product is associated with a character (the advertising spokesperson)
Individuals tend to group stimuli so that they form a unified picture or impression.

marketers use groups to connect meanings to their products; good for brand imaging

Patterns are often perceived as complete, even if they aren’t; incomplete tasks are remembered better than complete

use in marketing to get the consumer more involved

Perceptual interpretation
…Highly ambiguous. You wont see the same thing if visibility is poor, distances, angle. Therefore projective techniques (such as stereotyping) are used to fill in those gaps.
Biased mental pictures of various stimuli; perceptions of stimuli

1. physical appearance
2.. First impressions
3. halo effect

used to identify with cultures and traditional roles and values of an area.
Influences brand perceptions

Physical appearance
when people attribute certain qualities to certain types of people. with others who resemble them.
culturally attractive people are more likely to persuade and seem more successful. ex enhancing product such as lipstick or jewelry but not for correction of beauty flaws such as acne or dandruff.

ex subtle color & descriptions changes in package effect overall quality perceptions; avoid gender stereotypes

First Impressions
The lasting effect after being introduced to something new. Often leads to the overall success or failure of a product, bad ones leave a stigmatism that is hard to take back.
Halo effect
Used to describe situations in which the evaluation of a single object based on one or a few dimensions.

ex a person won’t look you in the eye

used for brand extensions or licensing.

Product positioning
the image of a product in the mind of the consumer; more important than the actual product. unique value proposition whether through benefits or unique value proposition.

1. top of the range: upper class, top of the range, status, prestigious,posh
2.service: impressive service, personal attention, consider people important, friendly service
3. value for money: reasonable price, value for the money, affordability
4. reliability: Durability, warranty, safety
5. attractive: good aesthetics, attractive, cool, elegant.
6. country of origin: patriotism, country of origin, youth market
7. the brand name: leaders in the market, extra features, choice, wide range, expensive
8. selectivity: discriminatory, selective in choice of customers, high principles.

Umbrella positioning
Using the same slogan to describe consumer benefits of its products. can also be based on contrast.
digital marketing
1. type of target segment and how they use digital media
2. develop brand associations
3. educate the youth market when other segment starts aging
4. Online contests
5. build a community
6. online and offline marketing message consistent.
Packaging as a positioning element
reflects the consumer;s image of the brand.

ex tide has a large handle of the side to convey heavy & power

perfume bottles contribute to up to 40% of the perfume price.

massive(block): sophistication, rugged, lower excitement
contrasting (curves): higher excitement, rugged, lower competence.
natural(symmetrical): sincere and sophisticated.
delicate (sleek & narrow): higher competence, sophistication, lower ruggedness
nondescript (simple): low sincerity, excitement and ruggedness.

change of unique product attributes because: competitors
2. changing consumer perceptions
3. economic conditions
4. change their target segment
5. advertise improved offerings
6.motivation to buy from this category is low

ex bank marketers re-positioned second mortgages so that they are not seen as loans.

Must consider a transition between current attributes to new

Factors that influence perception
1. thresholds
2.differential threshold
3. limen
4. active perceiver
a. Conscious: conventional advertising

b. subconscious(subliminal): measure reactions to stimuli that we don’t recognize but react to

James Vicary
Subliminal marketer; in the 1950’s perceived as mind control

New jersey drive in theater, eat popcorn drink coke

Vance Packard
“The hidden persuades” through the use of consumer motivation marketers have no right to use messages we cannot recognize to sell products.
Drawbacks of subliminal advertising
1. range of sublimation different with each person.
2. only short stimuli
3. It’s only a weak form of reminder advertising; difference between recognition and action
active perceiver
Human beings are not video cameras

a. physical
b. cognitive components

Hastoff & cantrill
Social psychologists that stated depending on who you were talking to you would get radically different views;
-expectations & past experiences (differential perception ) due to functional factors
selected perception
combination of perceptual defense & perceptual blocking; Screening out certain stimuli and distorting stimuli to reinforce opinions

ex children from different economic areas look at coin and draw

-poor kids draw coins digger b/c more precious
-middle class: to scale

physical stimulus
Size, color, shape, cues
functional factors
Characteristics or cognitive functions of the perceiver/ receiver
contextual factors
environmental factors around the stimulus; gesalt & product placement
Donald Cox
-decision (types of cues aka physical stimulus)
I. Predictive: low confidence major influence
ex marbling in a steak ( high predictive value cue)

II. confidence: my ability to understand the cue
ex if unsure, buy a brand name

Make trade-offs

ex differences in price must be due to quality

perceptual mapping
How marketers determine just how they want their products and services to appear to consumers in relation to competitive brands on one or more relevant characteristic. (vs an ideal product)

-find niches

Positioning services
focus of image; visual images and tangible reminders

-colors, scenery, specialized items

perceived quality
Based on a variety of informational cues


harder to evaluate services: intangible, variable, perishable, consumed simultaneously

demand is a positive function of this. price decreases, quantity decreases.

Cues that are based on the physical characteristics of the product itself such as size, color, flavor, to judge quality.

cue related to the property of interest

Rational or objective product choices

ex wine bottles
-clarity -type of grapes – vintage etc

Cues based on outside factors such as brand name, colors to identify flavor, packaging, price, environment, country of origin, images of the whole supply chain etc.

learned cues

ie in the absence of the experience, consumers use these factors in purchase decisions. especially expectations vs reality

servqual scale
A scale designed to measure the gap between customer’s expectations

1. reliability
2. responsiveness
4. empathy
5. tangibility

outcome dimensions
Focuses on the reliable delivery of the core services
process dimensions
focuses on how the core services is delivered & the tangible aspects of the service


Price/ quality relationship
The trade-offs between a product’s perceived benefits or quality and the perceived sacrifice necessary to acquire it. Usually more expensive= better quality

relies on well-known brand names as an indicator of quality & price isn’t as much of a factor.

some people raise prices to just to make their product seem higher quality. (prestige, symbolic value, performance, durability etc)

price actually makes consumers react more positively to a product’s performance.

people are familiar with a brand name will less likely use price as a quality indicator.

can be product category specific & sometimes by the situation.

Perceived risk
the uncertainty that consumers face when they cannot foresee the consequences of their purchase decisions.

1. functional risk
2. physical risk risk
4. social risk
5. psychological risk
6. time risk

How consumers handle risk
1.Seek information
2. Brand loyal
3. Brand image
4. store image
5. buy the most expensive item
6. seek reassurance
functional risk
the risk that a product will not perform as expected
physical risk
the risk to self and others that the product may pose
financial risk
The risk that the product will not be worth the cost
social risk
the risk that a poor product choice may result in social embarrassment
psychological risk
the risk that a poor product choice will bruise the consumer’s ego.
time risk
The risk that the time spent in product search may be wanted if the product does not perform as expected.

ex will i have to go through that shopping effort again?

Raymon Baver’s model of risk
States that irrational behavior can be understood by risk management & the strategies that consumers develop to reduce risks.

People are risk adverse (all other things being equal)
A. Likelihood
B. Severity.

Risk dimensions (Functional loss)
1. Losing face: bad mouth (ego loss)
2.waste time: terms of loss
3. hazard loss: injury or death
4. poor value: economic loss
5. attributes of the risk: nature & where it’s sold