Consumers use a variety of factors to inform their purchase decisions. One of the most all-encompassing models of purchase intention involves attitudes toward the brand and cultural norms as the biggest influencers over brand choice. This is called the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and it underpins much of the thinking about purchases from a marketing perspective. Later models expanded on this one by adding a more nuanced view of purchase intentions, for instance, the Theory of Planned Behavior. Below, you see an image depicting TRA. However, attitudes in this model refer to attitudes toward the behavior rather than attitudes toward the brand. Later models built on TRA included attitude toward the brand as a major factor impacting purchase intentions. And, that’s our topic for today; how attitudes toward the brand impact purchases and how to improve consumer attitudes toward the brand.
I know we started out with a little scholarly recap of attitudes to start this post but I think it lays the groundwork for our discussion of how to improve cconsumer attitudes as I think you now have a greater appreciation for the importance of attitudes on your bottom line. This guide will help you to make the best decisions possible so that you can not only improve consumer attitudes toward your brand. Take a look below to find out more.
To better understand how to improve attitudes, let’s take a look at where attitudes toward the brand come from. We form attitudes toward the brand (and company, especially when brands like Stouffer and Pillsbury use family branding).
Some attitudes develop based on the people around us, for instance, parents, siblings, and, as we grow older, peers. Churches, schools, and other aspects that impact our cultural norms (what’s right and appropriate) similarly impact our attitudes toward the brand through our interactions with members of these communities. We also develop attitudes toward the brand when we observe someone using a brand, even if they don’t say anything about the brand. If we admire someone, we may develop a positive attitude toward the products they use, while the opposite is true for people we don’t admire. These group influences impact our attitudes toward the brand as well as our attitudes toward the behavior and norms (from TRA), thus providing a double whammy. These influences on our attitude toward the brand are why social media, in general, and influencer marketing, in particular, work.
Other attitudes develop based on advertising and other promotional efforts. For instance, an expensive product packaged elegantly (such as Godiva chocolates) suggests the product is desirable.
Finally, our experiences impact our attitudes. A prior bad experience, for instance, damages our attitude toward a brand. Below, you see a model from psychology to depict these influences on attitude formation.
Types of attitudes
Sometimes, we focus attention on whether attitudes are positive or negative. That’s the notion behind using sentiment analysis as a tool to monitor your brand and how marketing activities contribute to your performance. But, as I hope you figured out from the earlier discussion, attitudes toward the brand are much more nuanced than positive or negative.
Returning to our earlier discussion of Godiva, the attitude about the brand developed through marketing activities and community beliefs helps us judge whether the brand is meant for people like me as well as when it’s appropriate to purchase the product. Godiva is often seen as appropriate for gifts, especially for holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Easter. In contrast, Hersey’s candy is seen as an everyday indulgence. While working with a major NY ad agency, we saw this attitude negatively impact Godiva’s ability to market a chocolate bar intended for everyday consumption.
Unfortunately, measuring these nuanced attitudes isn’t as easy as measuring sentiment change over time because our ability to analyze text is limited. Hence, it requires trained social scientists and an active listening program to assess attitudes toward the brand.
Improve consumer attitudes
So, that’s a long-winded windup, but a necessary one, if your goal is to improve consumer attitudes toward your brand. Below are some tools you can use to reach this goal.
If you want to kill the conversation with your customers, then the best way for you to do this is to improve communication with them. People do not want to hear or read anything that they understand or don’t see as relevant to their lives. Using a lot of jargon or words with ambiguous meanings or images that don’t translate well with your target market, damages your brand image and creates poor attitudes toward your brand. If you want to improve communication, then you need to speak in a colloquial language with images that have a shared meaning so that you can speak to your target market as if they are your friend. This is especially problematic when you aren’t a member of the target market, as we see most notably in international marketing scenarios.
But, even domestic communication is sometimes challenging. Most ad agencies and social media managers are young and they don’t do a good job of communicating with senior citizens. They tend to depict seniors as feeble and unappealing or they use images of people that obviously don’t fit their target market, which doesn’t develop positive attitudes among those in this market.
This is really an extension of improved communication. As more businesses turn to automation to power their company communications the stilted language and lack of personal communication can take away some of the human interaction that people enjoy. For instance, training a chatbot to sound human requires much more effort but results in better performance as they understand satire and other types of communication used by consumers. Using AI (artificial intelligence) to create online content suffers the same fate with consumers. Highlighting this, Google recently announced that AI-generated content might damage your rank.
If you want to work around this, you need to encourage your customers to comment on your social media posts and help your team interpret their way of expressing themselves without seeming inauthentic. Especially on digital platforms, but to an extent in other forms of marketing communication, consumers don’t want the stilted language of a press release. They want to feel like they’re talking to a person.
If you can manage to humanize communication, your customers will see that you have a genuine concern for their satisfaction and want to develop a relationship. If you run a store, then you also need to make your customers feel welcome with non-verbal communication that humanizes the experience. Provide them with somewhere nice to sit, offer them a coffee, and allow them to feel at home. If you have not done so already, then now is the time for you to look into entertainment solutions, such as LoopTV to provide a distraction while customers wait for service.
Streamline your operation
Complex processes or even complex invoices can make any client run for the hills. It also greatly slows down your productivity and your general efficiency. This can work against you and attitudes toward your brand that negatively impact profitability.
If you want to streamline processes, consider simplifying processes. For instance, when you visit a doctor, they already have information about you from prior visits. Yet, you often face a series of forms that require you enter information they already have, such as your name and address. Pre-printing forms for patients scheduled for appointments streamlines the process for patients as they only enter information that changes, such as symptoms.
Digital transformations go beyond such simple processes. For instance, allowing self-service as much as possible means customers and prospects can interact with you anywhere at any time to schedule appointments, track packages, update mailing addresses, and many other routine processes.
Always act ethically and demonstrate values important to your market
Developing trust is possibly the most important attitude when it comes to driving behavior. That trust, as you can see below, greatly impacts your profitability.
When you improve consumer attitudes toward your brand, it translates into higher profits. Try these tactics to help your brand improve consumer attitudes.
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