Dr. Lars Perner (2010) defines consumer’s attitude simply as “ a composite of a consumer’s beliefs, feelings and behavioural intentions toward some object within the context of marketing”. For companies who hold a position as a market leader with substantial brand loyalty the emphasis rests on trying to strengthen current positive attitudes. For the companies who act as challengers to these market leaders, the goal is to adjust the attitudes of opposition’s customers and gain their loyalty.
Consumers attitudes can be formed through previous experiences, exposure to mass media ads, word-of-mouth, influence of others around them or via direct or Internet marketing. Attitudes towards companies or products ultimately affect a customer’s behaviour in regards to that company or product. Therefore marketers need to understand how to gain favourable attitudes and strategies to change attitudes when they are unfavourable.
According to Shiffman et al (2014) there are 5 strategies to change attitudes:
- Changing the basic motivational function
- Associating the product with an admired group
- Resolving two conflicting ideas
- Altering components of the multi-attribute model
- Changing beliefs about competitor brands
PUMA is one of the world leading sportswear manufacturers and for over 65 years has been working with some of the fastest athletes on the planet to produce the most innovative products. PUMA competes against industry giants such as Nike and Adidas but unfortunately popularity started to decrease so in 2014 PUMA released its new strategy and began its reposition of the brand. In order to adjust consumer’s attitudes towards their brand Puma used the strategies of changing the basic motivational function and associating the product with an admired group. PUMA teamed up with celebrities such as Usain Bolt and The Weeknd but it was the collaborations with fashion icons Rihanna and Kylie Jenner that boosted the brand.
By changing the basic motivational function from sportswear to fashion through releasing the Fenty and Kylie Jenner lines PUMA is appealing to the consumer’s ego-defensive function and is appealing to a new target market. These two celebrities are idolised by females and males worldwide and PUMA are capitalising on their large social media following. Consumers often wish to see similarities between themselves and celebrities they idolise and in doing so often imitate these celebrities by purchasing brands or products they promote or own. By associating their product with Kylie Jenner and Rihanna PUMA are allowing consumers the opportunity to emulate these women by purchasing their products.
In 2010 GfK NOP social research conducted 40 in-depth interviews to identify consumers’ attitudes towards the purchase of legal services, although this blog may not be related to legal services the research clearly outlines some of the key influences on consumers attitudes. The finding suggested word of mouth plays a key role in purchase decisions and most respondents have favourable attitudes towards companies that family and/or friends have dealt with in the past. Respondents also clearly showed a high degree of loyalty in their consumer behaviour stating they are more likely to return to a company they have had positive experiences with.
Research into consumer’s attitudes towards companies, brands or products is essential or marketers to ensure they are capitalising on their market and are maintaining a position in the market. If research shows consumers have negative attitudes towards certain companies they need to take the 5 strategies into consideration in order to alter customers attitudes and regain a position in the market. PUMA are the company I think have most successfully repositioned their brand and adjusted consumer’s attitudes through using the strategies suggested previously.
C.P Haugtvedt, P. H. (2008). Handbook of Consumer Psychology. In I. Ajzen, Consumer Attitudes and Behaviour (pp. 525-533). New York: Lawerence Erlbaum Associates.
Dean, G. (n.d.). Understanding consumer attitudes. Retrieved April 2017 from Marketography : https://marketography.com/2010/10/17/understanding-consumer-attitudes/
GfK NOP Social Research. Research on Consumers’ attitudes towards the purchase of legal services.
Perner, L. (n.d.). Consumer Behaviour – Attitudes. Retrieved April 2017 from USC Marshall: https://www.consumerpsychologist.com/cb_Attitudes.html
PUMA. (n.d.). Strategy. Retrieved April 2017 from PUMA: http://about.puma.com/en/this-is-puma/strategy
Schiffman, L O’Cass, A Paladino, A & Carlson, J 2014, Consumer behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson, Australia, NSW.