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Chapter 2 Perception CONSUMER BEHAVIOR, 10e Michael R. Solomon

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1 Chapter 2 Perception CONSUMER BEHAVIOR, 10e Michael R. Solomon
Chapter 2 is the first chapter in Section 2 of the book. In addition, Section 2 includes the coverage of perception, learning and memory, motivation, the self, and personality and psychographics. Chapter 2 describes the process of perception. Perception is how we absorb and interpret information about products and other people from the outside world.

2 Sensation and Perception
Sensation is the immediate response of our sensory receptors (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and fingers) to basic stimuli (light, color, sound, odor, and texture). Perception is the process by which sensations are selected, organized, and interpreted. Like computers we undergo stages of information processing in which we input and store stimuli. We receive external stimuli or sensory inputs on a number of channels. The inputs our five senses detect are the raw data that begin in the perceptional process.

3 The Perceptual Process
We receive external stimuli through our five senses Figure 2.1 shows how as consumers we are exposed to sensory stimuli through our sensory receptors. We then interpret those stimuli to which we paid attention.

4 Sensory Systems Vision Scent Sound Touch Taste
Our senses play quite a role in the decisions marketers make. For instance, marketers rely heavily on visual elements in advertising, store design, and packaging. They communicate meanings on the visual channel through a product’s color, size, and styling. An interest in scent has spawned new products. Some brands utilize scent easily. For instance, Starbucks requires baristas to grind a batch of coffee each time they brew a post instead of just once each morning to ensure customers have that intense smell during their Starbucks’ experience. Stores and restaurants often play certain kinds of music to create a certain mood. Recent research found that participants who simply touch an item for 30 seconds or less had a greater level of attachment with the product. This connection in turn boosted what they were willing to pay for it. A food item’s image and the values we attach to it influence how we experience the actual taste.

5 Color Vision Color provokes emotion
Reactions to color are biological and cultural Color in the United States is becoming brighter and more complex Trade dress: colors associated with specific companies

6 Psycho-physical Illusions
Which line is longer: horizontal or vertical? If you’re given two 24 oz. glasses, will you pour more into the shorter, wider glass or the taller glass?

7 Smell Odors create mood and promote memories: Coffee = childhood, home
Cinnamon buns = sex Marketers use scents: Inside products In atmospherics In promotions (e.g., scratch ‘n sniff)

8 Hearing Sound affects people’s feelings and behaviors
Phonemes: individual sounds that might be more or less preferred by consumers Example: “i” brands are “lighter” than “a” brands Muzak uses sound and music to create mood High tempo = more stimulation, “shop fast” Slower tempo = more relaxing, “slow down and stay awhile”

9 Touch Haptic Senses — or “touch”— is the most basic of senses; we learn this before vision and smell Haptic senses affect product experience and judgment Kansei engineering: Japanese philosophy that translates customers’ feelings into design elements Marketers that use touch: perfume companies, car makers, furniture manufacturers

10 The Importance of Product Design
The design of a product is a key driver of its success or failure. Appealing to multiple senses Hedonic consumption includes how consumers interact with the emotional aspects of products. In other words, products are rarely strictly functional. Consumers may want hedonic value too. Target is a company that has embraced this insight. Target focuses on products with great design as well as functionality. The Coca-Cola bottle also illustrates an example of how design can facilitate product success.

11 Taste Flavor houses develop new concoctions for consumer palates
Culture and cultural changes determine desirable tastes Examples: hot peppers, saltiness, spiciness Individual Differences in taste perception

12 For Reflection Some studies suggest that as we age, our sensory detection abilities decline. What are the implications of this phenomenon for marketers who target elderly consumers?

13 Psychophysics & Sensory Thresholds
Psychophysics: Science that focuses on how the physical environment is integrated into our personal, subjective world Sensory Threshold: the minimum amount of stimulation / stimulus intensity needed to cause a sensation

14 Sensory Thresholds The absolute threshold refers to the minimum amount of stimulation a person can detect on any given sensory channel The differential threshold refers to the ability of a sensory system to detect changes in or differences between two stimuli Weber’s Law The absolute threshold means that the stimulation used by marketers must be sufficient to register. For instance, a highway billboard might have the most entertaining copy ever written, but this genius is wasted if the print is too small for passing motorists to see it. The differential threshold refers to the ability of a sensory system to detect changes in or differences between two stimuli. The minimum difference we can detect between two stimuli is the j.n.d. (just noticeable difference). Sometimes a marketer may want to ensure that consumers notice a change, as when a retailer offers merchandise at a discount. In other situations, the marketer may want to downplay the fact that it has made a change, such as when a store raises a price or a manufacturer reduces the size of a package. A consumer’s ability to detect a difference between two stimuli is relative. A psychophysicist named Ernst Weber found that the amount of change required for the perceiver to notice a change systematically relates to the intensity of the original stimulus. The stronger the initial stimulus, the greater a change must be for us to notice it. This relationship is known as Weber’s Law.

15 Sensory Thresholds Differential threshold: differences in sensation between two stimuli Minimum difference between two stimuli needed for detection is the JND (just noticeable difference) Example: packaging updates must be subtle enough over time to keep current customers from recognizing changes

16 Sensory Thresholds (cont.)
Differential thresholds used in pricing strategies: $2 discount on a $10 vs. $100 item Reference price: price against which buyers compare the actual selling price Original price versus sale price Do price changes cause a j.n.d.?

17 Sensory Thresholds The concept of sensory threshold is important for marketing communications Exposure occurs when a stimulus comes within the range of someone’s sensory receptors. Consumers concentrate on some stimuli, but are unaware of others. There are some stimuli we simply cannot perceive. Psychophysics is the science that explains how the physical environment is integrated into our personal, subjective world. When we define the lowest intensity of a stimulus that our brains can register we are speaking of its threshold. The images in the slide illustrate how Pepsi has changed its logo over the years. If the difference didn’t pass our sensory threshold, we wouldn’t notice the logo had changed.

18 Subliminal Stimuli & Perception
Occurs when stimulus intensity is below the level of consumer’s awareness. Subliminal techniques Embeds: figures that are inserted into magazine advertising by using high-speed photography or airbrushing. Subliminal Auditory Perception: sounds, music, or voice text inserted into advertising. Rumors of subliminal advertising are rampant— well-known brands, political messages, etc. Most research finds subliminal advertising / priming does NOT work.

19 Closure, Gestalt and Mental Schema
We interpret the stimuli we attend to according to learned patterns and expectations.

20 People constantly engage in Selective Attention
Attention is the extent to which processing activity is devoted to a particular stimulus People constantly engage in Selective Attention Attention refers to the extent to which processing activity is devoted to a particular stimulus. The allocation of processing activity can vary depending on the characteristics of the stimulus and the recipient. Although we live in an information society, consumers are often in a state of sensory overload. Sensory overload means consumers are exposed to far more information than they can process. Much of this comes from commercial sources. We are exposed to thousands of advertising messages each day in addition to the other types of stimuli we sense. This camera ad from Singapore reminds us that consumers do tune out stimuli.

21 Sensory Overload Products and commercial messages often appeal to our senses, but because of the profusion of these messages, most won’t influence us. Sensory marketing means that companies pay extra attention to how our sensations affect our product experiences. Marketers recognize that our senses help us to decide which products appeal to us.

22 Attention Competition for our attention Exposed to 3,500+ ads per day Other stimuli Younger consumers can better process information from more than one medium at a time The multi-tasking “myth”…

23 How Do Marketers Get Attention?
Personal Selection Experience Perceptual filters Perceptual vigilance Perceptual defense Adaptation Stimulus Selection Contrast Size Color Position Novelty Experience is the result of acquiring and processing stimulation over time. It helps to determine how much exposure to a particular stimulus a person accepts. Perceptual filters based on our past experiences influence what we decide to process. Perceptual filters include vigilance, defense, and adaptation. Vigilance means consumers are more likely to be aware of stimuli that relate to their current needs. A consumer who rarely notices car ads will become very much aware of them when she or he is in the market for a new car. The flip side of perceptual vigilance is perceptual defense. This means that people see what they want to see—and don’t see what they don’t want to see. If a stimulus is threatening to us in some way, we may not process it, or we may distort its meaning so that it’s more acceptable. Adaptation can also affect attention; adaptation is discussed further on the next slide. In addition to the receiver’s mindset, characteristics of the stimulus itself play an important role in determining what we notice and what we ignore. Marketers need to understand these factors so they can create messages and packages that will have a better chance of cutting through the clutter. Several characteristics can aid in enhancing the chances of a stimulus for being noticed including size, color, position, and novelty.

24 Personal Selection (cont.)
Perceptual vigilance: consumers are more likely to be aware of stimuli that relate to their current needs Example: you’re in the market for a car—so you tend to notice car ads and cars on the road more than before Perceptual defense: people see what they want to see—and don’t see what they don’t want to see Example: heavy smoker may block out images of cancer-scarred lungs

25 Stimulus Selection Factors
We are more likely to notice stimuli that differ from others around them So, marketers can create “contrast” through: Size Color Position Novelty

26 For Reflection How have you seen brands use size, color, and novelty to encourage you to pay attention to them? Were the techniques effective?

27 Interpretation Interpretation refers to the meaning we assign to sensory stimuli Through priming, certain properties of a stimulus evoke a schema The meaning we assign to a stimulus depends on the schema, or set of beliefs, to which we assign it. In a process called priming, certain properties of a stimulus evoke a schema. This leads us to compare the stimulus to other similar ones. In this ad for Toyota, the living room evokes an image of a car because of the seat arrangement.

28 Factors Leading to Adaptation / Habituation
Intensity Duration Discrimination Exposure Adaptation is the degree to which consumers continue to notice a stimulus over time. The process of adaptation occurs when consumers no longer pay attention to a stimulus because it is so familiar. A consumer can “habituate” and require increasingly stronger “doses” of a stimulus to notice it. Several factors can lead to adaptation. Less intense stimuli have less sensory impact. Stimuli that require relatively lengthy exposure in order to be processed habituate because they require a long attention span. Simple stimuli habituate because they do not require attention to detail. Frequently encountered stimuli habituate as the rate of exposure increases. Stimuli that are irrelevant or unimportant habituate because they fail to attract attention. Relevance

29 Stimulus Organization
Gestalt: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts Closure: people perceive an incomplete picture as complete Similarity: consumers group together objects that share similar physical characteristics Figure-ground: one part of the stimulus will dominate (the figure) while the other parts recede into the background (ground) One factor that determines how we will interpret a stimulus is the relationship we assume it has with other events, sensations, or images in memory. Our brains tend to relate incoming sensations to others already in memory based on some fundamental organizational principles. These principles derive from Gestalt psychology, a school of thought that maintains that people interpret meaning from the totality of a set of stimuli rather than from an individual stimulus. The German word Gestalt roughly means whole, pattern, or configuration, and we summarize this term as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Gestalt perspective provides several principles that relate to the way our brains organize stimuli including the closure principle, the principle of similarity, and the figure-ground principle.

30 Application of the Figure-Ground Principle
This ad for the Australian postal service uses an application of the figure-ground principle.

31 Interpretational Biases
We interpret ambiguous stimuli based on our experiences, expectations, and psychological needs “Confabulation” Confirmation Bias Post-Purchase Distortion Hindsight Bias – “knew it all along”

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