This contain impact of psychological determinants like needs , Customer motivation,consumer personality,Brand personality,consumer perception,consumer learning,consumer attitude on the consumer decision making or buying behaviour
1. Consumer As Individual
Prepared By :
• Types and System of Needs, Customer Motivation
• Consumer Personality, Brand Personality
• Consumer Perception, Dynamics and Elements of
• Learning, Behavioral and Cognitive Learning
• Consumer Attitude, Attitude formulation and
2. Types and System of Needs
• Need can be defined as the things that satisfy the basic requirement.
• Every person have some needs . Some of these needs are basic to sustaining life & are born
with individual , these basic needs are also called physiological needs or biogenic needs and
include the needs for air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, and sex. Physiological needs are
primary needs or motives because they are essential to survival.
• Acquired needs are learnt needs that we acquire as a result of being brought up in a culture and
society. For example, needs for self-esteem, prestige, affection, power and achievement are all
considered as learned needs.
• Needs may also be classified even more basically - utilitarian or hedonic. A consumer's
utilitarian needs focus on some practical benefits and are identified with product attributes that
define product performance such as economy or durability etc.
• Hedonic needs relate to achieving pleasure from the consumption of a product or service and
are often associated with emotions or fantasies. Hedonic needs are more experiential as they
are closely identified with the consumption process. For example, a hedonic need might be the
desire to be attractive to the opposite sex. The evaluative criteria for brands are usually
emotional rather than rational (utilitarian).
3. An evaluation of the need hierarchy and marketing applications :
Maslow’s hierarchy-of-needs theory postulates a ﬁve-level hierarchy of prepotent human needs . Higher-order needs
become the driving force behind human behaviour as lower-level needs are satisﬁed. The theory says that
dissatisfaction, not satisfaction, motivates behaviour. The major problem with the theory is that it cannot be tested
empirically; there is no way to measure precisely how satisﬁed one level of need must be before the next higher need
becomes operative. The need hierarchy also appears to be very closely bound to contemporary culture (i.e. it appears
to be both culture- and time-bound).
4. A trio of need:
The power need relates to an individual’s desire to control his or her environment. It includes the
need to control other persons and various object.
Afﬁliation is a well-known and well-researched social motive that has far-reaching inﬂuence on
consumer behaviour. The afﬁliation need suggests that behaviour is strongly inﬂuenced by the
desire for friendship, for acceptance, for belonging. People with high afﬁliation needs tend to be
socially dependent on others.
A considerable number of research studies have focused on the achievement need. Individuals
with a strong need for achievement often regard personal accomplishment as an end in itself. The
achievement need is closely related to both the egoistic need and the self-actualization need.
People with a high need for achievement tend to be more self-conﬁdent, enjoy taking calculated
risks, actively research their environments and value feedback.
5. Differences Between Motives , Motivating and Motivation
MOTIVE – give directions to human behaviour . A motive is an inner state that
energizes activates , or moves and directs or channels behaviour towards goal.
Motivating – implies an activity engaged into by an individual , by which he
or she will channelize the strong motives in a direction that is satisfactory.
Motivation – The study of motivation is concerned with why people choose
to behave in a certain way.
Needs – the most basic human requirements.
Drives –tells how these needs translate into behaviour.
Goals – what these behaviour’s aim to achieve.
6. Positive and negative motivation :
Motivation can be positive or negative . If an individual feels a driving force towards an object or
person or situation , it is called positive motivation . Whereas a driving force compelling the person to
move away from something or someone will be known as negative motivation . For instance VLCC
conveys an approach motivation to individuals who have positive goal of fitness . Castrol GTX Extra
Engine oil uses the avoidance motives , informing customers to avoid any other engine oil which
could spoil the car engine and only use Castrol GTX Extra.
Rational versus emotional motives :
In a marketing context, the term rationality implies that consumers select goals
based on totally objective criteria, such as size, weight, price or miles per gallon.
Emotional motives imply the selection of goals according to personal or subjective
criteria (e.g. pride, fear, affection or status ) .
7. THE DYNAMICS OF MOTIVATION
Motivation is a highly dynamic process . Under the dynamic constructs of motivation there are broadly three aspects
which will be discussed:
1. Role of needs & Goals to adapt to the change in an individual’s motivation.
Needs are never fully satisﬁed.
new needs emerge as old needs are satisﬁed.
success and failure inﬂuence goals.
2. Frustration and Defense mechanism in the Needs .
Frustration is the feeling experienced by an individual when he fails to achieve goals . While some may go to adopt
defense mechanism to protect their self image or self esteem . The Defense mechanism may involve :
3. Arousal of motives .
Physiological Arousal .
Emotional Arousal .
Cognitive Arousal .
Environmental Arousal .
8. Consumer Personality
The most frequently quoted definition of personality is that of Gordon W. Allport. According to him,
"Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychological systems that
determine his unique adjustment to environment”
Nature of personality
1. personality reﬂects individual differences;
2. personality is consistent and enduring; and
3. personality can change
Theories of Personality
This section brieﬂy reviews three major theories of personality:
1. Freudian theory.
2. Neo-Freudian theory
3. Trait theory.
9. Freudian Theory
Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality is a cornerstone of modern psychology. Freud’s
psychoanalytic theory proposes that every individual’s personality is the result of childhood conflicts. These
conflicts are derived from three fundamental components of personality: Id, Ego and Superego. According
to the theory, the id (or libido) is the source of an individual’s strong basic drives and urges such as hunger,
sex, aggression and self-preservation. The id operates on what is called the ‘pleasure principle’, that is, to
seek immediate pleasure and avoid pain. The id is entirely unconscious and not fully capable of dealing with
objective reality. Many of its impulses are not acceptable to the values of organized society. A newborn baby’s
behaviour, for example, is governed totally by the id. The ego is the individual’s conscious control. It comes
into being because of the limitations of the id in dealing with the real world by developing individual’s
capabilities of realistic thinking and ability to deal suitably with her/his environment. Ego operates on what
is called the ‘reality principle’. It is capable of postponing the gratification until that time when it will be
suitably and effectively directed at attaining the goals of the id in a socially acceptable manner. The superego
constitutes the moral part of an individual’s personality. It represents the ideal rather than the real, defines
what is right and good and it influences the individual to strive for perfection. It operates in the unconscious
and often represses certain behaviour that would otherwise occur based on the id, which could disrupt the
social system. According to Freud, the ego manages the conflicting demands of the id and the superego.
10. Neo – Freudian Theory
Neo Freudian theorist felt that social relationships plays a vital role in the formation and development of
personality . Alfred Adler viewed human beings as seeking to attain various rational goals, which he
called style of life. He also placed much emphasis on the individual’s efforts to overcome feelings of
inferiority (i.e. by striving for superiority). Harry Stack Sullivan, another Neo-Freudian, stressed that
people continuously attempt to establish signiﬁcant and rewarding relationships with others. He was
particularly concerned with the individual’s efforts to reduce tensions, such as anxiety. Like Sullivan,
Karen Horney was also interested in anxiety. She focused on the impact of child–parent relationships
and the individual’s desire to conquer feelings of anxiety. Horney proposed that individuals be classiﬁed
into three personality groups: compliant, aggressive and detached (CAD) .
1. Compliant individuals are those who move toward people and stress the need for love, affection,
approval and modesty. Such individuals exhibit empathy, humility and are unselfish.
2. Aggressive individuals are those who move against people and emphasize the need for power,
admiration, strength and the ability to manipulate others.
3. Detached individuals are those who move away from others and desire independence, freedom from
obligations and self-reliance. They do not develop strong emotional ties with others.
11. Trait Theory
Trait theory states that human personality is composed of a set of traits that describe general response
patterns. These theories are relatively recent in origin and use very popular personality concepts to explain
consumer behaviour. The orientation, unlike previously discussed theories, is quantitative or empirical. J P
Guilford describes a trait as any distinguishing and relatively enduring way in which one individual differs
from another .
Selected single-trait personality tests (which measure just one trait, such as self-conﬁdence) are often
developed speciﬁcally for use in consumer behaviour studies. These tailor-made personality tests measure
such traits as consumer innovativeness (how receptive a person is to new experiences), consumer
materialism (the degree of the consumer’s attachment to ‘worldly possessions’) and consumer
ethnocentrism (the consumer’s likelihood to accept or reject foreign made products).
12. Personality and Understanding Consumer Diversity
Marketers are interested in understanding how personality inﬂuences consumption behaviour because such
knowledge enables them to understand consumers better and to segment and target those consumers who
are likely to respond positively to their product or service communications. Several speciﬁc personality traits
that provide insights about consumer behaviour are examined next.
Dogmatism ( Dogmatism is a personality trait that measures the degree of rigidity (versus openness) that
individuals display towards the unfamiliar and towards information that is contrary to their own established
Need for Uniqueness
Optimum Stimulation Level (Research in this area indicates that high optimum stimulation levels
are associated with more willingness to take risks; to be innovative, try new products and actively seek
purchase related information )
Variety or Novelty Seeking
13. Cognitive personality factors
Need for Cognition
Need for cognition refers to the degree of an individual’s desire to think and enjoy getting engaged in
information processing. Such individuals tend to seek information that requires thinking. Opposite to this would
be those who shy away from such information and focus on peripheral information (ELM model). For instance, a
consumer high in need for cognition (NC) and looking at an ad for Apple computer is more likely to study and
concentrate on the information contained in the ad. On the other hand, a consumer low in need for cognition
would be more inclined to look at the beautiful picture of iMac, ignoring the detailed information about the
Visualizers versus Verbalizers
cognitive personality research classiﬁes consumers into two groups: visualizers (consumers who prefer visual
information and products that stress the visual, such as membership in a video club) or verbalizers (consumers
who prefer written or verbal information and products, such as membership in book clubs). Some marketers
stress strong visual dimensions in order to attract visualizers; others raise a question and provide the answer, or
feature a detailed description or point-by-point explanation to attract verbalizers .
14. Brand Personality
We can divide or study the personality of a brand in five dimensions:
1 Sincerity of the brand: The image of the brand as being down to earth, very honest and cheerful. Brands that are
sincere always fulfill their promises. Consumers do get the desired benefits out of them. Some brands like Raymond and
Hero Honda Passion are viewed as sincere brand as people trust these brands and they never disappoint the consumers.
2 Excitement: There are some brands that show their image as being daring, imaginative and spirited. These brands target
adventurous people, people with hedonic motives and people who want to experiment. Brands like Mountain Dew and
3 Competence : These are the types that are reliable, intelligent and successful. These brands are most trusted and they
have an association with the consumers.
4 Sophisticated: These brands have an upper class feeling attached to them. They are charming and every one dreams of
owning such brands. These brands have an image which is classy and glamorous. Brands such as Mercedes and Tommy
5 Rugged: These are the brand which have very western and masculine image. They are considered to be tough and
outdoorsy. They are connected with men or in some cases women, with strong personality. Brands like Harley Davidson
have rugged personality.
15. Consumer 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”
ELEMENTS OF PERCEPTION
Sensation is the immediate and direct response of sense organs to simple stimuli such as an advertisement, a
brand name, or a package etc. Sensitivity to stimuli varies among individuals and depends on the quality of
Absolute threshold refers to the lowest level at which an individual can experience a sensation. At this point an
individual can detect a difference between “something” and “nothing” and this point would be that individual’s
absolute threshold for that stimulus.
Differential threshold is the smallest detectable difference between two values of the same stimulus. This is
also referred as JND (Just Noticeable Difference).
When the stimulus is below the threshold of awareness and is perceived, the process is called subliminal
16. DYNAMICS OF PERCEPTION
The perceptual process involves three components :
Perception is a selective process . An individual may look at some things, ignore others, and turn away from
still others. In actuality, people receive (i.e. perceive) only a small fraction of the stimuli to which they are
exposed. The selectivity of stimuli depends on consumer’s previous experience and motives, besides the
nature of stimulus itself. One or more factors related to experience and motives affect consumer’s ‘selective
exposure’ and ‘selective attention’ at a given time and can increase or decrease the probability that a certain
stimulus will be perceived.
1) Nature of the stimuli
4) Selective perception
i. Selective Exposure
ii. Selective Attention
iii. Perceptual defense
iv. Perceptual Blocking
17. Perceptual organization
All the selected stimuli from the environment are not experienced as separate and discrete sensations.
Individuals tend to organise these sensations into a coherent pattern and perceive them as unified wholes.
The specific principles underlying perceptual organisation are sometimes referred as Gestalt psychology.
Gestalt is a German word and means “pattern” or “configuration.” Three most basic principles of
perceptual organisation focus on ‘figure and ground’ relationships, ‘grouping’ and ‘closure’
Individuals, in their own unique manner, interpret the stimuli . People exercise selectivity as to which
stimuli they perceive, and they organise these stimuli on the basis of certain psychological principles. The
interpretation of stimuli is also uniquely individual, because it is based on what individuals expect to see in
the light of their previous experience, on the number of plausible explanations they can envision, and on
their motives and interests at the time of perception.
A number of factors influence individuals that may distort their perceptions, such as physical
appearances, stereotyping stimuli, irrelevant stimuli, first impressions, jumping to conclusions and halo
Schiffman and Kanuk have defined learning, from a marketing perspective, as 'the process by which
individuals acquire the purchase and consumption knowledge and experience that they apply to future
related behaviour'. Behaviour has two aspects, observable behaviour as well as non-observable cognitive
Elements of Learning
Motivation - Motivation is the driving force that impels individuals to action and is the result of
unfulfilled need (s). If an individual has strong motivation to learn something, there is increased likelihood
that learning will take place
Cues: Cues are relatively weak stimuli, not strong enough to arouse consumers but have the potential of
providing direction to motivated activity
Response: The way an individual reacts to a cue or stimulus is the response and could be physical or
mental in nature, leading to learning
Reinforcement: Most scholars agree that reinforcement of a specific response increases the likelihood
for the response to reoccur. Reinforcement can be anything that both increases the strength of response
and tends to induce repetitions of the behaviour that preceded the reinforcement.
19. Behavioural Learning Theories
Behavioural learning theories are sometimes referred to as stimulus-response theories because they are based on the
premise that observable responses to speciﬁc external stimuli signal that learning has taken place . When a person acts
(responds) in a predictable way to a known stimulus, he or she is said to have ‘learned’. Two behavioural theories with
great relevance to marketing are classical conditioning and instrumental (or operant) conditioning.
Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, was the ﬁrst to describe conditioning and to propose it as a general
model of how learning occurs. According to Pavlovian theory, conditioned learning results when a stimulus
that is paired with another stimulus that elicits a known response serves to produce the same response
when used alone.
20. Strategic Applications of Classical Conditioning
Three basic concepts derive from classical conditioning: repetition , stimulus generalisation and
stimulus discrimination . Each of these concepts is important to the strategic applications of consumer behaviour .
Repetition - Repetition increases the strength of the association between a conditioned stimulus and an
unconditioned stimulus and slows the process of forgetting. However, research suggests that there is a limit to the
amount of repetition that will aid retention . For example, different Pepsi commercials continue showing different
settings and endorsers but the punch line “yeh dil mange more” continues. The commercials of FeviQuick continue with
the theme “chutki mein chipkae” in different humorous settings.
In his experiments, Pavlov also demonstrated that the dogs could learn to salivate on hearing somewhat similar sound
produced by jingling keys. This was the case of stimulus generalisation in dogs. Stimulus generalisation occurs when two
stimuli are seen as similar and the effects of one, therefore, can be substituted for the effects of the other. This principle
states that a new but similar stimulus or stimulus situation will produce a response that is the same or similar as that
produced by the original stimulus.
Stimulus discrimination is just opposite to stimulus generalisation. Unlike reaction to similarity of stimuli, discrimination
is a reaction to differences among similar stimuli. The ability to discriminate among stimuli is learned. For example,
frequent users of a brand are better able to notice relatively small differences among brands in the same product
category. Not taking any chances, marketers use advertising to communicate brand differences that physical
characteristics alone would not convey. The concept of “product or brand positioning” is based on stimulus
discrimination which strives to create a brand’s unique image in the consumers’ minds
21. Instrumental conditioning
Instrumental conditioning also involves developing association between stimulus and response but requires
the subject to discover a correct response that will be reinforced. Any response elicited is within the
conscious control of the subject. The foremost proponent of instrumental conditioning was B F Skinner. In his
experiments, the subjects were free to respond in several ways. Skinner worked with small animals in his
experiments, such as rats and pigeons. He developed a box, called after his name as “Skinner box,” in which
he placed experimental animals.
22. Cognitive Learning Theory
Cognitive learning approach has dominated the field of consumer behaviour in recent years. Learning that
takes place as a result of mental activity is termed as ‘cognitive learning’. Cognitive theorists do not endorse
the view that learning is based on repetitive trials leading to the development of links between stimuli and
responses because consumer behaviour typically involves choices and decision-making. According to their
view, learning is an intellectual activity based on complex mental processes involving motivation,
perception, formation of brand beliefs, attitude development and change, problem solving and insight.
Even sudden learning may also result when someone is faced with a problem. Typically, though, we are
most likely to look for reliable information, indulge in analysis, evaluate what we learn and try to make a
balanced decision. As we acquire more experience and familiarity with different products and services, our
cognitive ability and learning increases to compare various product attributes improves.
23. Consumer Attitude
In a consumer behaviour context, an attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently
favourable or unfavourable way with respect to a given object. Each part of this deﬁnition describes an
important property of an attitude and is critical to understanding the role of attitudes in consumer
Characteristics of Attitude
1. Difficult to measure
2. May create inflexibility and stereotypes
3. Formed largely from continuous process of socialization
4. Once formed not easy to change
Structural Models & Theories of Attitude
Tri-component Attitude Model
According to this model, attitudes are consist of three main components:
1. Cognitive component (knowledge, beliefs)
2. Affective component (emotions, feelings)
3. Conative component (behavioural aspect)
24. Multi-attribute Attitude Models
According to these models, consumers’ attitudes about an attitude “object” is a function of consumers’
perception and assessment of important attributes or beliefs held about a certain attitude “object.” The
attitude ‘object’ may be a product, service, or issue etc. In other words, many beliefs about attributes are
evaluative in nature .
This is the simplest model and is particularly appropriate for measuring attitudes towards product/service
category, or specific brands. A product has many attributes (size, features, style and so on) and an individual
will process information and develop beliefs about many of these attributes. Consumers generally have
favourable attitudes towards those products or brands that they believe have an acceptable level of positive
attributes. Conversely, they have unfavourable attitudes toward those brands that they believe do not have an
acceptable level of desired attributes, or have too many negative attributes .
The Attitude Towards Behaviour Model
The attitude towards behaviour model is the individual’s attitude towards behaving or acting with respect to
an object rather than the attitude towards the object itself . The appeal of the attitude towards behaviour
model is that it seems to correspond somewhat more closely to actual behaviour than does the attitude
towards object model.
25. Attitude towards the ad models
In an effort to understand the impact of advertising or some other promotional vehicle (e.g. a catalogue) on
consumer attitudes towards particular products or brands, considerable attention has been paid to
developing what has been referred to as attitude towards the ad models .
26. Attitude Formation
Attitude formation can be divided into three areas :
i. How attitudes are learned
ii. Sources of influence on attitude formation
iii. Impact of personality on attitude
How attitudes are learned
When we speak of the formation of an attitude, we refer to the shift from having no attitude towards a given object
(e.g. an MP3 player) to having some attitude towards it (e.g. having an MP3 player is great when you want to listen to
music while on a treadmill at the gym). The shift from no attitude to an attitude (i.e. the attitude formation) is a result
of learning .
Sources of influence on attitude formation
The formation of consumer attitudes is strongly inﬂuenced by personal experience, the inﬂuence of family and friends,
direct marketing and mass media .
Personality also plays a critical role in attitude formation. For example, individuals with a high need for cognition (i.e.
those who crave information and enjoy thinking) are likely to form positive attitudes in response to advertisements or
direct mail that are rich in product-related information. On the other hand, consumers who are relatively low in need
for cognition are more likely to form positive attitudes in response to advertisements that feature an attractive model or
well-known celebrity .
27. STRATEGIES OF ATTITUDE CHANGE
1. changing the consumer’s basic motivational function,
2. associating the product with a special group, event or cause,
3. resolving two conﬂicting attitudes,
4. altering components of the multi-attribute model, and
5. changing consumer beliefs about competitors’ brands
changing the consumer’s basic motivational function
According to this approach, attitudes can be classiﬁed in terms of four functions:
the utilitarian function , the ego-defensive function , the value-expressive function and the knowledge function
The Utilitarian Function
We hold certain brand attitudes partly because of a brand’s utility. When a product has been useful or helped us in the past,
our attitude towards it tends to be favourable. One way of changing attitudes in favour of a product is by showing people that
it can serve a utilitarian purpose that they may not have considered.
The Ego-Defensive Function
Most people want to protect their self-images from inner feelings of doubt – they want to replace their uncertainty with a
sense of security and personal conﬁdence. Advertisements for cosmetics and personal care products, by acknowledging this
need, increase both their relevance to the consumer and the likelihood of a favourable attitude change by offering
reassurance to the consumer’s self-concept .
28. The Value-Expressive Function
Attitudes are an expression or reﬂection of the consumer’s general values, lifestyle and outlook. If a consumer segment
generally holds a positive attitude towards owning the latest designer jeans, then its members’ attitudes towards new
brands of designer jeans are likely to reﬂect that orientation .
The Knowledge Function
Individuals generally have a strong need to know and understand the people and things they encounter. The
consumer’s ‘need to know’, a cognitive need, is important to marketers concerned with product positioning .
Associating the product with a special group, event or cause
Attitudes are related, at least in part, to certain groups, social events or causes. It is possible to alter attitudes towards
products, services and brands by pointing out their relationships to particular social groups, events or causes.
Companies regularly include mention in their advertising of the civic and public acts that they sponsor to let the public
know about the good that they are trying to do.
Resolving two conﬂicting attitudes
Attitude-change strategies can sometimes resolve actual or potential conﬂict between two attitudes. Speciﬁcally, if
consumers can be made to see that their negative attitude towards a product, a speciﬁc brand or its attributes is really
not in conﬂict with another attitude, they may be induced to change their evaluation of the brand (i.e. moving from
negative to positive).
29. Altering components of the multi-attribute model
Earlier in this chapter we discussed a number of multi-attribute attitude models. These models have implications for
attitude-change strategies; speciﬁcally, they provide us with additional insights as to how to bring about attitude change:
1. changing the relative evaluation of attributes,
2. changing brand beliefs,
3. adding an attribute, and
4. changing the overall brand rating.
Changing beliefs about competitors’ brands
Another approach to attitude-change strategy involves changing consumer beliefs about the attributes of competitive
brands or product categories. However, comparative advertising can boomerang by giving visibility to competing brands
and claims .
The key to a company's survival, profitability, and growth in a highly
competitive marketing environment is its ability to identify and satisfy
unfulfilled consumer needs better and sooner than the competitors .
By studying consumer individual characteristics helps marketer to set
bases for market segmentation and also have better understanding of
• Suja R. Nair (2010), Consumer Behavior in Indian Perspective: Text
and cases, 2nd Edition, Himalya Publishing House.
• Schiffman, Leon G; Leslie Lazar Kanuk & S. Ramesh Kumar (2013).
Consumer Behavior, 10/e, Pearson Education, New Delhi.