Let’s have some beer, cheers!

beer mug

How do consumers build perception of their favorite brands, is it the actual experience that enhances their experience, or just the perception of the brand. There are approaches to quality experience such as bottoms up processes, which reflect the stimulus experienced by the sensory organs and then forming an expectation of the product for future purposes, and then there is top-down processes in which the actual experience by the senses may be distorted by the individual’s belief system, pre-determined expectation or other stimuli.

Coke is rated higher when served in a cup with brand logo on it. (McClure et al, 2004), Bitter coffee seem less bitter if misinformed about the coffee taste (Olson and Dover, 1978). The experience of a movie can be enhanced if given some positive expectation of the movie. A study was conducted by Klaren et al.(1994) it suggested that positive expectation may linger, A silent movie of Charlie Chaplin, The Immigrant, was shown to some students and they were told before the movie that they would enjoy the movie and not only they reported enjoying it but were also ready to participate in another study related to Charlie Chaplin movie.

An Experiment was conducted by Lee, Frederick, Ariely in which the respondents were asked to taste two samples of beer one was unadulterated beer and other was with some drops of balsamic vinegar. The experiment was conducted under three conditions, firstly, BLIND, in it the respondents were blind folded and were asked to taste the two beers, without any information about the beer contents, secondly, BEFORE, in it the respondents were told before which beer contained balsamic vinegar, thirdly, AFTER, they first tasted the beer and then told which beer contained balsamic vinegar.

The results showed that the preference for the beer, with balsamic vinegar, in blind fold was higher than the other two categories. But when the respondents were told before of the two beers and their content, then there was least preference for beer with balsamic vinegar and in the last experiment when they were told the contents after tasting it then they preferred the beer with balsamic vinegar more than the other.

The experiment showed that that the prior knowledge of the products does affect our decision and preference system. In third experiment the actual experience dominated preference system as there were no prior build-up expectation.

What does the study suggest? Is it the experience (bottom-up process) that will set our preferences for the products or the prior knowledge (top-down process)/ pre-determined expectation?

By: Carolyn, Davin

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11 thoughts on “Let’s have some beer, cheers!

  1. The image of the beer that you put up on your post has ignited my senses. I love the foam on the top and the ripples of cold bubbles on the side of the glass. I know exactly what that beer could taste like and it’s making me drool.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A former director of my company was CFO at Fosters for numerous years. I still remember a conversation with him where he suggested Crown Lager was only seen as the better beer than the others under the Fosters umbrella because of the way it was marketed, rather than anything to do with the taste or production process. I think his comment, along with your study, shows there might be some evidence to suggest top down process plays a part.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post. The marketers can only really target expectations(top-down processes), ultimately if a product is terrible consumers probably won’t purchase it more than once. Maybe that is the marketers strategy when given a dud! Just get everyone to buy it once and hope that the product has generated enough sales before user generated content(UGC) destroys the perception that the marketers have created.

    What really pops into my mind on this topic is some of the terrible movies I’ve seen at the cinemas. The producers must realize how bad they are once completed and yet the marketers do a fantastic job on promotion, often playing off the success of the franchise/prequels. There has been multiple occasions when I’ve seen a terrible movie, so proceeded to check both the box office numbers and the UGC (e.g: http://www.rottentomatoes.com) only to find a massive disparity.

    The classic example of this is the 2014 film “Transformers: Age of Extinction”. It was the highest grossing film of 2014 but also received nominations for worst picture, worst director, worst actor and more. I note that the marketing for this film was extensive including social media, previews during the super-bowl, an iOS/Android app and more.

    I suppose you really can create a dud and still turn a profit by utilizing top-down marketing processes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good article – although i think a positive experience is not always the outcome of a positive expectation; and could in fact have the opposite affect. Think about a much hyped movie that you’ve waited to see, and your expectations are so high due to the advertising and general buzz…and then you finally see it and you are so disappointed.

    Although re your example of the vinegar in the beer, I immediately thought about how awful it would taste and cringed thinking about it, and would probably tell you i preferred it least before even trying it. It’s interesting that 3rd test group actually enjoyed the taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Erin,
      Agree if you put your expectation too high it might not be able to perform upto the expected level because you have put now put a benchmark to your expactations that they have to perform upto that level. But the article is just about being positive about an outcome without giving any scales or levels to it.
      The beer is awfull to you because you know before hand that it contains balsamic vinegar in it and you have developed an negative preference already, who knows you might have liked it if you dint’ know the ingredient until you tasted it, like everybody else who were disclosed of the vinegar after the taste experiment..

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  5. When I think of beer I think of those “A hard earned thirst deserves a big cold beer” for Victoria Bitter, and I can’t imagine any of the men these ads were aimed at enjoying a light lager quite as much. So I agree the expectation and the experience to often match, although as Erin points out it can lead to disappointment too. I guess it works best in targeted markets, such as the one VB marketed to, and it all depends on your marketing strategy. Interesting though that the blindfolded people couldn’t taste the vinegar – taste must contain a significant psychological component for those that knew their beer contained the vinegar.

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  6. Excellent article Carolyn & Davin! I guess it brings us back to the adage conversation of customer expectation vs customer experience. I generally tend to think that pre-disposed attitudes and expectations play a more significant part in consumer purchasing habits (top down process) than the actual customer experience. We all know customer expectation is largely based on how the product/service is marketed in conjunction with their positioning strategy i.e. Leveraging off Lynette’s post before me, VB employ a cost leadership strategy with their promotion efforts targeting the low end market (tradies, every day joe blokes; earning a hard earned thirst!) pushing their advertising attitudes onto consumers forming a perception or expectation.

    Taking into account extenuating factors such as internal/external stimuli, motivations, past experiences, social class etc..VB is still extremely successful in selling VB despite the often negative experience with it. VB isn’t the best tasting beer, hell I reckon it’s pretty crap but at the end of the day it’s a product that’s been advertised as a premium low cost alternative and priced accordingly with consumers still preferring it as their second most favourite beer in Australia.
    http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6022-are-people-who-drink-aussie-beer-more-patriotic-201501202307

    As a funny side note, at Sydney’s Surry Hills Boutique Craft Beer festival last year Carlton Breweries entered VB in the festival under the guise of “Vaucluse Bitter”. The beer won much to the dismay of the bearded ones. Goes to show that experience does often exceed expectation, problem is how often do we experience before forming an expectation these days?
    http://www.betootaadvocate.com/uncategorized/vb-goes-undercover-to-win-surry-hills-craft-beer-festival/

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  7. I like Lynette’s comments about the VB example. Do you remember the back lash when they changed the formula & made it’s alcohol content lower? They lost a massive share of the market. There was a marketing campaign in the last year or 2 when they returned to the “original” formula, admitting they’d stuffed up & were listening to their customers, finally.
    I like a good book & a good movie, & am always disappointed because the movies never measure up to the book. It’s hard to see the film as an independent story/creation & enjoy it for what it is & not what you’re expecting becasue of preconceived ideas.

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  8. Good post.The friends and family experience are very important channel to influence consumers’behaviour.More specifically,if you have good experience in your own shopping,you would like to share your good feelings with your friends or family and introduce them to purchase the same brands or products.Based on this kind of effect,companies should pay more attention on their positive feedbacks from their customers,which does have certain influence on marketing development.

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  9. Prior knowledge about a product skews the preferences for the product. In the blind test (where there was no prior knowledge) respondents preferred the beer with balsamic vinegar. This seems to indicate that balsamic vinegar improves the taste of the beer.

    In the BEFORE test, consumers assumed that the balsamic vinegar would diminish the taste of the beer and so had the least preference for the beer with balsamic vinegar.

    In the AFTER test, respondents had already shown preference for the beer with balsamic vinegar and being told that the beer had balsamic vinegar did not change their preferences.

    It would seem that our product preferences are determined by prior expectations (top down process). Can marketers ensure that before consumers even have a chance to try out the product- they have positive expectations regarding the performance of that product?

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