Influence of Environmental cues on Product evaluation & choice

The consumer's senses have been tuned to block out most marketing stimuli. In fact whether the senses respond and interpret marketing stimuli, depends primarily on three factors. One, the nature of the stimuli itself can cause its selection. Two, Consumers' previous experience as it affects their expectations (what they are prepared, or 'set' to see) and three; their motives at the time (their needs, desires, interests and so on). Each of these factors can serve to increase or decrease the probability that a stimulus will be perceived.

If this is what faces marketers armed with stimuli that would in most probability be ignored (its time to dump those Admen!), what can they do?


the answer lies in Jonah A. Berger and Grainne Fitsimons' research work titled, 'How Environmental Cues Influence Product Evaluation and Choice'. The recommendation of their work is to urge marketers to ensure that their products are more in consonance with the environment within which they are traded. That is because cues in the environment influence product evaluation and choice. In fact their study suggests that environmental cues, even ones consumers may not be consciously aware of, can influence what they like and buy.


That point was illustrated in the Puma brand study. The researchers drew from a previous research showing that “cats and dogs have a strong cognitive association in memory because of their many feature similarities as domestic pets.” Study participants were shown a series of 20 pictures. Some were shown only images unrelated to Puma (such as a picture of a stapler), while others saw either five or 10 images of dogs. When the participants were then shown pictures of different brands of sneakers, those who had seen a lot of dog pictures were 30% faster to recognise the Puma brand.


The authors inferred; 'Our findings show that environmental cue exposure can affect attitudes not only toward the exposed object but also toward any object that shares a conceptual relationship. In addition to relying on existing conceptual relationships , the data indicate that marketers can create novel links between their product and a commonly encountered feature in the consumer environment.'


It would be good for marketers to remember that environmental cues are accepted by the consumer unlike marketing cues. Its smart then to link the former with the latter leading to greater acceptance of the latter. If the marketing cues had not been linked, had been exposed directly to the consumer, chances are that they would be ignored.

Comments

JANE JEYAKUMAR said…
hey ray, :) nice to see ya comment- Thanks..

And I'm ryte now here to see what you've been upto, soooo many posts after tat- your blog cud be published as a insightful book for marketing students..

The Puma Case study was quite intersting.. Infact, translated into a matter of day-to-day happenings, things that are happening in our immediate ecosystem affect our life in a big big way.. Like there was this time I was watching 'A few good Men' - which has the famous Code Red in its plot, it was so repetitive that whwen the movie was over and I had to go out to catch up with friends, I ended up wearing a red-tee.. I never realised it until later: maybe a coincidence, but I jus think my cranial vibes just closed in on the red-tee subconsciously..

Could use this concept in my next story- and it would be sub-onscious, if I hadn't thought of it right away! kudos!
JANE JEYAKUMAR said…
hey ray, :) nice to see ya comment- Thanks..

And I'm ryte now here to see what you've been upto, soooo many posts after tat- your blog cud be published as a insightful book for marketing students..

The Puma Case study was quite intersting.. Infact, translated into a matter of day-to-day happenings, things that are happening in our immediate ecosystem affect our life in a big big way.. Like there was this time I was watching 'A few good Men' - which has the famous Code Red in its plot, it was so repetitive that whwen the movie was over and I had to go out to catch up with friends, I ended up wearing a red-tee.. I never realised it until later: maybe a coincidence, but I jus think my cranial vibes just closed in on the red-tee subconsciously..

Could use this concept in my next story- and it would be sub-onscious, if I hadn't thought of it right away!;) kudos!
Prof.Ray Titus said…
Janie...thanks...you too can publish.

Interesting...the 'code red' implication.

Sometime, maybe you can critique my written work too (fiction).

Cheers
Thoma said…
Check this article out. Quite Interesting..

Could seeing dogs on the way to work each morning influence what type of sneakers you buy? In a new research paper, Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger makes the case that what you see in your everyday world can influence your choices as a consumer.

In the paper ‘Dogs on the Street, Pumas on Your Feet: How Cues in the Environment Influence Product Evaluation and Choice,’ the first part of the title refers to the results of an experiment in which participants who were shown repeated images of dogs were quicker to recognize the Puma brand, and liked its sneakers more, than those who had not seen the images.

Confused? It turns out that dogs are associated with cats, and cats are associated with Puma. “Seeing dogs is not going to cause people to leap out of their chairs and go buy 10 pairs of Puma sneakers,” says Berger. But the experiment does suggest that environmental cues, even ones you may not be consciously aware of, can influence what you like and buy.

“Marketers always think if they want a product to catch on, they have to think up a catchy slogan or come up with a slick advertisement to create a buzz,” Berger says. Instead , his research suggests that companies can get a payoff by creating a link between their product and something in the environment.

“We think of advertising as a way to remind people of products; putting up more ads should increase sales. But we should also think about linking products to the environment and let the environment do the work for us.” Berger offered the example of Tide detergent.

The conventional thinking is that the more Tide ads consumers see, the more likely they are to want to buy it. Perhaps, he said, seeing waves on the beach (think ocean tides) may work just as well to stimulate consumer interest in Tide detergent.

Berger and co-author Grainne Fitzsimons, a psychology professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, report their findings on environmental cues in the February issue of the Journal of Marketing Research. “Researchers have argued that ‘consumer behavior is strongly influenced by subtle environmental cues,’” they write, “but few studies have empirically investigated this argument.”

They begin their report by offering the example of Mars Bars, which saw an increase in sales after NASA landed the Pathfinder spacecraft on Mars on July 4, 1997.

“Although the Mars Bar takes its name from the company founder and not from earth’s neighbouring planet, consumers apparently responded to news about the planet Mars by purchasing more Mars Bars,” the authors write. “This was a lucky turn of events for the candy company, but what does it mean for understanding consumer choice?”

To test their hypothesis that exposure to environmental cues can prime the memory to favour certain products, the researchers devised a series of experiments. In the first, they looked at what effect the abundance of the colour orange around Halloween had on consumer thinking about certain products.

They asked 144 shoppers to list what came to mind in the categories of candy/chocolate and soda. Half were asked the day before Halloween, and the other half were asked a week later. The shoppers on the day before Halloween were almost twice as likely to list orange-coloured products, Reese’s candy and Orange Crush and Sunkist sodas, than those shoppers questioned a week after the holiday.

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