Measuring consumer behavior and brand

Brands are failing their potential by measuring marketing, sales, reputation, customer experience and support, as thinking defined by these terms drives a wedge between consumers and brands. Once upon a time that may have been acceptable, when brands could force themselves on customers.

Today it’s the consumer who is forcing. And wedges force customers elsewhere. Marketing treats the consumer in every possible way to create an intention to buy. The objective is to pass the prospect into the sales funnel as quickly as possible.

Sales will work the consumer over in every way to convert a transaction. The focus is to process the prospect fast, to reduce the lead time and lock down the sale. Reputation looks at protecting how the brand is perceived by the masses. It doesn’t care if people want to buy, or have bought – as long as, in general, the public relates well to the brand, and the brand to the public. Customer experience will work with customers to prevent them from becoming disgruntled. It’s usually all about eliminating pain points and resetting expectations.


Service focuses on rectifying issues where the customer is hurting, before customers share their pain with others. And it will try and deliver on what was promised in the first place, where possible. The harsh reality from all this rather expensive effort is that brands, in general, suffer unacceptable customer churn.

Plenty of dashboards, charts and numbers quantify the handling of the consumer. It is good, because “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” Peter Drucker is one of the modern era’s great thinkers on management.

The only thing that matters to the consumer is his or her relationship with the brand. There’s no measuring of the emotion and depth that exists between consumer and brand, or the lack thereof.



Voorveld, H, Bronner, F, Neijens, P, & Smit, E 2013, ‘Developing an Instrument to Measure Consumers’ Multimedia Usage in the Purchase Process’, JMM: The International Journal On Media Management, 15, 1, pp. 43-65, Communication & Mass Media Complete, viewed 27 May 2015, EBSCOhost

Friese, M, Hofmann, W, & Wänke, M 2009, ‘The impulsive consumer: Predicting consumer behavior with implicit reaction time measures’, Social psychology of consumer behavior pp. 335-364 New York, NY, US: Psychology Press PsycINFO


Impact of plain packaging tobacco on consumer behaviour


Australia is the only country in the world (yet) to enforce the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act. As a number of other countries are on the verge of implementing this act too or passing it to a vote[i], an interesting and important rising question is if plain packaging of tobacco products influences the consumer behaviour for smoking tobacco products in Australia?

The Tobacco Plain Packaging Act is enforced in Australia since 1 December 2012. It standardised the appearance of all tobacco packs, which includes the colour of the pack. The Act is established to discourage the use of tobacco products, and reduce the ability of the retail packaging of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking or using tobacco products. In order to accomplish the attempts, the Act reduces the appeal of tobacco products to consumers and increases the effectiveness of health warnings on the retail packaging of tobacco products[ii].

Before the establishments of Plain Packaging Act, the government has resisted any forms of marketing campaigns in relations to tobacco. Hence, tobacco industry analysts have demonstrated that the utility of tobacco packaging differentiation is an essential marketing tool. Therefore, the government believes that the Act can be effective to diminish the smoking population in Australia.

Did the lack of marketing tools for the tobacco industry lead to a decrease in smoking population or health awareness succeeds at preventing smokers during the past three years in Australia?

A study done in Australia throughout November 2012, examined the attitudes and intentions of smokers during this period, comparing those who were smoking cigarettes from the new plain packs with larger health warnings (these were already in the shops), with those still smoking from a branded pack with smaller warnings. This study indicated that plain packaging is associated with lower smoking appeal and more urgency to quit among adult smokers[v].

The results from a study done by National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS), with a nationally representative sample (N=23,855) of the Australian population aged 12 years and older, show where there have been changes in smoking behaviours in Australia, including prevalence, between 2010 and 2013. The people that were reported to smoke decreased from 18.1% to 15.8%, with a decrease in smoking daily from 15.1% to 12.8%. Furthermore the weekly consumption of cigarettes dropped from 111 cigarettes to 96 cigarettes, and there was an increase in average age of initiation from 15.4 years to 15.9 years and never smoking from 57.8% to 60.1%[iii].

Overall, these numbers point out that the Plain Packaging Act, still at its early living phase, is working success to discourage the use of tobacco products by the Australian people[iv].

I think it is an effective way of preventing people from taking up the smoking habit and to change people’s smoking behaviour, however the tobacco companies are left without options to differentiate themselves from one another using marketing. What do you think is the best way to change consumer behaviour? What will be the next step, should we start doing this for all unhealthy products?


Author: Hidde Postma

Viewed by: Junhong Zhang




[iii] Australian Institute for Health and Welfare. 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013. Drug statistics series No. 28. Cat. No. PHE 183, Canberra: AIHW, 2014.



Why Apple Always WINS Me Over!?


Within today’s IT industry, there are no doubts that Apple is one of the leading giants. As a result, there are constant competitions occurring between brands. But, what makes Apple leading the industry? And how does Apple manage to win fans like me over?

From my perspective, contemporary IT companies are expertise at inducing their consumers to have brand attachment and stimulating their brand loyalty. In order to achieve these objectives, they have to be capable to comprehend their target demographic and also attract potential ones. However, to me, Apple is better at market segmentations as they have discovered the core desires of 90% mobile phone users, which is to personalise their devices.

Moreover, Apple is the very first IT Company in the history launching smartphones with touch screens, which subsequently evokes mobile phone revolution within the industry. Apple has broadened consumers’ horizon by revealing what can consumers anticipate from a phone device. Mobile phones are no longer just for texting or calling functions, but they can also function like a mini mobile laptop.

Despite these, I am sure that Samsung has equivalent technologies to invent a smartphone like Apple’s, so the questions are how does Apple establish its market place or confident at their existing consumers having habitual purchases of their smartphones?

I think the answer is Apple knows how to sell their smartphones, and all other products!!

Apple has positioned their smartphones as advanced technology, and simultaneously advocates a smartphone for all generations as advertising the brand with a friendly image of ‘this is a phone for everyone’. Moreover, they have their unique interface – IOS, which appears to be a virus-free system in the world, which this advantage distinguishes them from other competitors. Hence, Apple’s ultimate aim is to design personalised electronic devices for their users, which therefore they value consumers’ privacy by continuous improvements on phone lock and also develop intimate connections between Apple products. Thus, Apple strategically utilises the influences of celebrities to encourage more consumers purchasing their smartphones, according to contemporary media impacts on people.

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In order to enhance consumers’ brand loyalty, Apple is intended to develop pleasant customer services.  They have developed a friendly and relaxing atmosphere for all forms of interactions between front-line members and customers, which determines to encourage consumers’ purchase decisions. In addition, Apple has high brand reliability and accountability, and also positive brand reputation, due to their well-known after-purchase care. Nevertheless, Apple is capable of implanting habitual buying behaviours onto their existing consumers, although electronic devices are appeared to be high involvement products.

Moreover, Apple has learnt that there is increasing population of smartphone users, and also the transformation of the utility of a mobile phone from an accessory desire to an essential need among people’s daily life. Hence, Apple exploits this new market segmentation would lead to a new marketing opportunity – consumers ’potential anticipation of an actual mobile laptop which is also known as tablet. Therefore, Apple’s iPad launch has reinvigorated the tablet market, and no doubts another success designates to Apple.


Really!!! I cannot see their competitors having the abilities to compete while Apple has such comprehensions of their targeted consumers’ behaviours.

Overall, competitions between Apple and other brands are never going to end until one of them goes down. So really, which is the better smartphone?

Well, I know Apple wins my heart over, what about yours?

Author: Junhong Zhang

  Viewed by: Hidde Postma

Risk & Brand Loyalty

Customers may resort to various approaches in order to cope with the risk they perceive with a product or service. Essentially they endeavor to diminish the level of perceived risk to proceed to making purchase decisions. The strategy adopted by many customers is turning into loyal customers who are mentally committed to buying a brand. Because of having a favorable experience of using and consuming a good or service offered by that specific brand, customers would feel lower level of risk associated with buying a product produced by that known brand. It has been found that risk averse customers are more prone to becoming loyal customers as they always seek a solution to high perceived risk and try to lessen it. As a result they exhibit more tendency for becoming loyal to a brand in stark contrast to what risk taker customers do. Risk takers possess characteristics like variety seeking so they love experiencing new brands and products. They do not want to be bound to a set of brands because loyalty to brands would deprive them from trying a more diverse range of brands. Brand loyalty is been identified as a very common risk reduction behavior which suites segments of customers who do not like uncertainties accompanied with buying a brand new to them. The more customers trust a brand and recall a good experience of that, the more likely they are to become loyal customers who are happy to ignore all marketing messages of other brands and select the brand they are brandloyal to without any doubt (Matzler et al 2008).

My Experience

When I started writing this post, I remembered the time when I had finished my undergraduate course at Deakin and was considering doing a master degree in a university in Australia but not at Deakin because I wanted to experience a new environment. I did lots of search about course content, tuition fee and many other variables in regard to more than 10 universities across Australia but finally on the contrary of my initial aim I choose Deakin again. This decision even surprised myself let alone my friends and family but the reason for that weird decision boils down to the word “risk”. I noticed high level of risk attached to moving to another university specially those located in other cities. I started thinking about many uncertainties that I could face and started comparing my familiarity with Deakin with all unknown things about other universities. What type of people I would have to deal with? How long it would take me to get used to the new environment and how different lectures and teaching style would be? These are just examples of issues I was contemplating about but finally high level of Perceived risk and high switching cost were two important contributing factors that made me a loyal student to Deakin.

Matzler, K., Grabner-Kräuter, S. & Bidmon, S. 2008, “Risk aversion and brand loyalty: the mediating role of brand trust and brand affect”, The Journal of Product and Brand Management, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 154-162.

Consumers behaving charitably?

By S. McNamara & E. Doxey

Are charities keeping up with online consumer trends?

In an era of dramatic cuts to foreign aid and government support, Not for Profits (NFPs) find themselves competing more than ever for the support of individual donors. NFPs adopt various ways of distinguishing themselves in the market and of encouraging consumer behavior, increasingly involving heart-wrenching pleas on behalf of individuals in need.

So what is the best way to get consumers to open their wallets?

Recently an anti-poverty charity attempted to promote more positive imagery in a campaign – a huge move away from their traditional heart-breaking images. The amount of fundraising decreased – by about 20%! (They’ve since gone back to the tear-jerking pics).

In a series of experiments, it was found that people are much more responsive to charitable pleas that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary, than they are to statistical information about the scale of the problem being faced.’[1]

World Vision and Oxfam continue to use more traditional approaches to seeking donations by appealing to our philanthropic side. Newer NFPs, like Kiva have tapped into the younger generation, with smaller amounts to contribute, a “loan” system where you are effectively a financial investor, with a personal stake in following the project. Check out their campaign missions on youtube:

So, over to you.

How do you choose where to donate?  What can a charity do to appeal to you? How much of your giving is planned and how much is spontaneous or in reaction to a direct request?

Look at the sample advertisements below. Click on the one you think you’d be most likely to support.



[1]; accessed 27 March 2015


How our brain determines if the product is worth its price

Remember the last time you went shopping?

You knew the product you wanted to buy and how much the product would cost you. Was your decision affected by whether you saw the price or the product first?

According to Uma R Karmakar”considering the price first changed how people thought about the decision process and whether it changed the way the brain coded the value of the product” Karmakar says as they have neuroscience tools at their disposal they had the benefit of exploring both the questions.

Researchers say viewing the price first(price primacy)makes the customers think whether the product is that useful and really needed to be bought. Researchers would help marketers “decide when it is the best to lead with price, which products work best with that strategy and how to frame sales messages to customers


In a series of exercises, participants were made to lie down on an fMRI “(Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine and were taken shopping. The fMRI uses a giant elect magnetic and often 3teslas strong which can be used to track the blood flow throughout the brain as subjects respond to sensory cues. Here, participants were responding to both pictures of the object and their prices.

The first experiment was conducted at an imaging centre at the Stanford University campus, participants were given $40 before viewing a series of products and their prices on a screen inside the fMRI. According to Karmaker,this technique made the shopping experience more real. 

Some participants saw the product first while a few saw their price first, but they saw an image of both the product and price together. At this particular point they choose whether they need the product or no, with a push of a button.

Researchers were more interested in the “medial prefontal cortex which id the area in the brain that deals with estimating decision value and nucleus accemben area that is the pleasure centre, and activity is correlated with whether a product is desirable.

Researchers tell us that the brain activity varied to whether the subject had seen the price or the product first. According to Karmaker”The pattern of activity in the prefrontal cortex suggested to us that sequence matters: At the very simplest, the neural signals looked different when the price came first versus when the product came first,” When the subject sees the product first the question in his mind is “Do I like it” and when he sees the price first the question is to be “Is it worth it”

This tells us that price viewing first does not have a effect on actual purchasing behaviour. Subjects bought the same number of items and reported similar “liking” ratings whether they had seen a product or the price first.

Karmaker says “If you really love something and you can afford the product you are going to buy it” and those kinds of easy decisions it does not matter whether the product or the price comes first. Karmaker team wanted to show that their “research could have real world implications for retailers” direct effect on whether a consumer decided to buy the product.

Karmaker says “The question is not whether the price makes a product seem better, it is whether product is worth the price”

Carmen Nobel is senior editor of Harvard Business School Working Knowledge.

How does colour affect buyer behaviour?


Imagine a world without colour! Pretty dull don’t you think?

Colour interestingly enough does affect our mood and emotions. We as humans associate different colours with different meanings. Choosing the right colour for your product or brand can help represent what an organisation stands for or can assist in attracting your target audience. In return our buying behaviour will be affected depending on the colour selected. In general consumers will make judgment of a product in less than 90 seconds, making the visual appearance a key aspect in buying behaviour. If we want to influence consumer’s decision-making processes when purchasing a particular product, understanding colour psychology will most definitely help.

Colour is commonly used to portray a certain image about your brand or product. For example when we look at the colour white we associate this with cleanliness and purity, which is why white, is so commonly used in a clinical setting. According to kissmetrics 85% of shoppers rated colour as a primary reason for purchasing a particular product. Colour can also increase brand recognition and even identify what type of shopper you are dealing with.


Attract your ideal consumer through colour

Kissmetrics surveys show that people who are influenced by red, black or royal blue are more likely to be impulse shoppers. You will usually find this particular shopper first in line at a clearance sale or scouting for discounts at your local shopping mall. There are many brands using the colour red as their primary colour for branding. Red is also known to cause excitement and seduce inner cravings.


Your budget shoppers on the other hand are more influenced by teal and navy blue. Blue can represent reliability and trust hence why many banks utilise the colour blue. 6 revealing facts about colour psychology


Video: Rajesh Bagchi, associate professor of marketing in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, and co-researcher Amar Cheema from the University of Virginia study how red and blue background colors on websites or on the store walls influence consumers’ willingness to buy.

Perception of colour

Are we all influenced by colour in the same way? Yes and No. We are all influenced by colour but we may perceive colour differently from one another. Example, if a particular colour associates with a traumatic life event this can affect the buyers mood negatively, resulting in the consumer choosing another brand. Culture can also have a lot to do with perception of colour. Example, in the western hemisphere black is associated with death where as in the eastern hemisphere white is associated with death. Colour affects buyer behaviour

Establishing brand recognition with colour

The consumer needs to identify a product with a brand. Consistency is the key to successful brand recognition. Using colours consistently is an example of this. To create brand recognition the same colour could be used on the product packaging, website and brochures to display consistency. Researchers at the University of Loyola found that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% (Morton “Why color matters”). In another study, when a group of people were shown 3-second advertisements, over 62% developed an association to a brand based purely on the colours they saw (Chang & Lin, The impact of color traits on corporate branding).

We can not assume that colours will affect buying behaviour the same way for every individual but we can take colour into consideration when wanting to represent a certain brand or product. If you choose the appropriate colour for your brand or customer you can expect to grab more attention from your targeted audience.

Colour does matter!