Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.
Understanding consumer attitudes can help a business understand customers better and perhaps even change their attitudes. In this lesson, you'll learn what consumer attitudes are and how they can be changed.
What Are Consumer Attitudes?
Consumer attitudes is a composite of three elements: cognitive information, affective information, and information concerning a consumer's past behavior and future intentions. In other words, attitude consists of thoughts or beliefs, feelings, and behaviors or intentions towards a particular thing, which in this case is usually a good or service. For example, you may have a very positive view of a particular sports car (for example, you believe it performs better than most), it makes you feel good, and you intend to buy it.
Changing Consumer Attitudes
Basically, if you want to change a consumer's attitude, you need to change one or more of the three elements composing it. Let's take a brief look at each.
You can try to change a current belief by providing evidence to support the change, such as facts and logic. If the beliefs are strongly held, you'll encounter a significant degree of resistance. You can also try to change the importance of a belief. For example, you may be able to get people to buy an electric car because it will save them money in fuel, which may induce consumers to purchase the car because it becomes an important means of saving money verses because they think it will help the environment, which may be less important to them.
It's often easier to add beliefs than to change them, such as convincing consumers that a product has a unique feature that is valuable. This may improve their perception of the product's utility. Finally, you may try to change a culturally accepted ideal. This is very hard to do. A fast-food company, for example, may try to convince people that thin is out, and a robust figure is in.
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Changing affect means changing the way a consumer feels about a product. The classic example of changing affect is the middle-aged man going through a mid-life crisis who buys a new sports car after going to a car show, where it is displayed along with scantily clad women who show a great level of interest in our consumer as they demonstrate the product to him. Our consumer starts to feel good as the beautiful women interact with him, and he associates that good feeling with the car, thus creating a positive feeling towards the vehicle.
One of the easiest ways for a business to change a behavior is through pricing. You may be able to get a consumer to buy your product as a substitute because it's cheaper than the product the consumer intended to purchase. You can also try to make a product more convenient through a ready local supply or free and quick shipping.
Let's review. Consumer attitudes consist of a combination of cognitive information and beliefs, emotions, and behavioral intention regarding a consumer product or service. It is what you believe about a product or service, how you feel about it, and what your intentions are towards it. You can attempt to change a consumer's attitude by changing one or more of these components.
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