New products are continuously launched into the luxury perfume market each year. DKNY’s recent addition to the perfume market is DKNY Pure. As a competitor intending to introduce a similar product into the luxury fashion brand perfume market, consumer behaviour has important implications for the design of a successful marketing strategy. This paper will outline which key factors marketers should attempt to influence in the design of a marketing strategy to introduce a new luxury brand perfume to the market.
Through the use of product positioning, identifying buying groups and the target market, extensive advertising and operant conditioning marketers can manipulate the consumer decision-making process together with internal and external influences leading to consumer purchase behaviour. From a marketing perspective luxury fashion brands are defined in by features such as exclusivity, premium prices, excellent quality, distinctiveness, image, status and other aspirational characteristics (Fionda & Moore, 2009).
For many consumers the purchase of luxury fashion brand perfume is a high-involvement and emotional decision (Sadeghi & Tabrizi, 2011). These purchases involve the use of extended decision-making with an extensive search of internal and external information and a considerable evaluation of alternative products available (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011). An extensive advertising campaign should be used the major marketing strategy for the introduction of a new product in the luxury perfume market as it can be used to manipulate and influence consumer behaviour in a number of ways.
Influencing the consumer decision-making process In order to influence the consumer decision-making process advertising can be used as external stimuli in order to trigger the first stage of the consumer decision making process; problem or need recognition. Advertising can influence consumer behaviour by affecting the consumer’s desired state or their existing state (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011), prompting the identification of perceived need or desire for a product.
Strategic marketing campaigns such as preannouncements (for example through media releases or samples) can be used to influence consumer anticipation, attention and desire or perceived need prior to the launch of a new product such as a luxury perfume (Schatzel & Calantone, 2006). By understanding the motives which direct consumers to purchase products and the needs they are seeking to satisfy marketers can target their advertising more effectively (Kotler et al, 2007).
For luxury brand perfume advertising can be used to highlight the emotional need of the consumer focussing on their “esteem needs” as described by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Kotler et al, 2007; Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011). Emotional self-esteem needs can be effectively used in advertising luxury brand perfume to women by including messages and visuals which suggest sophistication, elegance, love and confidence.
Feeling and emotion significantly shapes consumer intentions for perfume with consumers visualising, imagining, estimating and assessing the perceived feelings gained from purchasing and using the product (Sadeghi & Tabrizi, 2011). Perception Marketing efforts should focus on building customers perception of both the brand and the product. Perception is a significant internal factor in a consumers’ purchase decision for luxury brand perfume. The perception process involves processing information from exposure, attention and interpretation with meanings recorded as memory (Kotler et al 2007).
Consumer perceptions can be manipulated through product positioning; in this case introducing a new perfume’s under the familiar luxury brand image will position it in the high-end perfume market creating a perception that it is a similar high-end product. Identifying the desired product position allows marketers to design strategies to develop the appropriate product image for that particular target market (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011). Perfumes are products that are comprised of both tangible and intangible characteristics designed to satisfy consumers.
Perceptions of quality can be influenced by the tangible (intrinsic) characteristics of the product; for perfume this is the bottle and the package. Through the application of beautiful and clever product design and packaging marketers can manipulate consumer perception of the perfume and its image (Sadeghi & Tabrizi, 2011). Intangible (extrinsic) characteristics such as price, store image or brand image also serve to influence the consumer’s perception of quality (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011).
Setting higher prices for the perfume consistent with the product position and target market (Fionda & Moore, 2009) and stocking the perfume in high-end department stores are strategies that can be employed to infer quality and influence consumer perceptions of status. Brand image and brand awareness Brand leveraging strategies can be employed to capitalise on the brand equity of a familiar luxury brand by giving the brand name to a new product (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011).
By introducing a new perfume using an established luxury fashion brand (either as a product or line extension) marketers can increase consumer recognition and acceptance of new products (Wu & Lo, 2009) as well as making the most of the perceived intangible benefits associated with a positive brand image. A consumer’s positive perception of brand image of familiar luxury fashion brands has a significant effect on increasing purchase intentions of the products produced by those brands.
The creation and usage of a strong brand image can be used by marketers to reduce uncertainty around product evaluation (or perceived purchase risk) whilst also increasing confidence in product quality (Sadeghi & Tabrizi, 2011). Consumers view brand as an important part of a product which adds perceived value to the product (Wu & Lo, 2009; Sadeghi & Tabrizi, 2011). Launching a perfume under an existing familiar brand with a positive brand image can generate competitive advantage by increasing consumer’s interest and attention and resulting positive evaluation of a product (Fionda & Moore, 2009).
Further, consumers are likely to give greater attention to a familiar brand and to engage more effort in processing information about a product with a familiar brand name (Sadeghi & Tabrizi, 2011). Brand personality & celebrity endorsement Brand personality is a key factor in brand identity and is highly influential in the consumer decision making process as it relates to the desire to satisfy needs of self-esteem and belonging (Rajagopal, 2006).
Consumers are motivated to purchase products from brands that reflect their own personality or that portrays personalities to which they aspire (Sirgy, 1982; Guthrie & Kim, 2009; Spry, Pappu & Cornwell, 2011). Celebrity endorsement is considered an effective strategy by marketers as a highly visible means of brand personality creation ((Rajagopal, 2006; Spry, Pappu & Cornwell, 2011). Endorsement by celebrities influences consumer behaviour through attracting increased attention, generating greater brand recall and recognition (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011; Spry, Pappu & Cornwell, 2011).
Dean (1999, as cited in Spry, Pappu & Cornwell, 2011) further posits that celebrity endorsement can also influence a consumer’s perceptions of product quality and distinctiveness. The effectiveness of using a celebrity to endorse a product will be enhanced if there is congruence between the celebrity’s image, the product (and brand) personality and the self-concept of the target market (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011).
Market research should be conducted to determine perceptions of chosen celebrities to ensure they are credible and have attributes that coincide with the target market’s needs and desires (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011; Spry, Pappu & Cornwell, 2011). For the luxury brand perfume market such attributes should be based on attractiveness and image. Learning & operant conditioning Consumers learn about products through the knowledge and experience gained from purchase and consumption (Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011).
By understanding how consumers learn about products marketers can include information to assist and influence the consumer decision-making process. Operant conditioning is highly effective marketing strategy used to influence consumer behaviour particularly in high involvement purchases such as perfume (Peter & Nord, 1982; Quester, Pettigrew & Hawkins, 2011). Operant conditioning can shape positive reinforcement for consumer purchase intention (Amor & Guilbert, 2009).
By trialling, using tester bottles and sample spray cards the product consumers are able to experience the perfume determine if they like the scent and if it smells good on their skin. Amor & Guilbert (2009) suggest that consumers are more likely to respond to new perfume samples than established ones. Marketers can provide free samples during related purchases to encourage product trial (Amor & Guilbert, 2009) which assists in capturing consumer attention and increasing product familiarity (Sadeghi & Tabrizi, 2011).
Placing samples in high-end fashion magazines will also assist with familiarity as well as perception of quality. Using free samples as promotional tools may also assist marketers in developing a positive attitude toward the sampled perfume product as well as toward to the brand (Amor & Guilbert, 2009). External influences A consumer’s purchasing behaviour is also influenced by social factors. By identifying the roles in the buying process marketers can incorporate this information in the product design and advertising message decisions (Kotler et al 2007).
For women’s perfume the same person might play several roles in the purchasing decision. The purchaser will often be the initiator of the purchase, the decider who ultimately makes the purchasing decision and the user or wearer of the perfume (Kotler et al). Products such as perfume that are complementary to self-image are occasionally purchased by consumers as gifts for themselves. Marketers can target the fulfilment of self-gifting motivations by interspersing perfumes with other products such as cosmetics so that sales-staff might promote combining purchases (Mick, Demoss & Faber, 1992).
Males may also be purchasers of women’s perfume as gifts. Identifying this group in the buying process will enable targeted marketing through the development of gift packs around peak gift periods such as Christmas, and Valentines Day. As shown in the above discussion through the use of extensive advertising campaigns marketers can influence consumer purchase intention through stimulating emotional need or desire for the new perfume product as well as creating attention and awareness.
Identifying and establishing the product position and the roles in the buying process will enable marketers to design and direct advertising at the desired target segments. The use of an established luxury brand to launch the product can influence consumer’s perceptions of quality and status of the brand and by association the perfume. Whilst credible celebrities can be used in advertising campaigns to create or support brand personality influencing attention, increasing brand recognition and product recall as well as further addressing consumer’s desire for fulfilment of self-concept needs.
Finally operant conditioning through the provision on free samples and testers will be used to shape consumer learning about the new product by positive reinforcement, as well as capturing consumer attention and further increasing brand awareness. By understanding the relevant influences of consumer behaviour to the new product marketers can incorporate this theory in order to manipulate the buying intentions and purchase behaviours of consumers and create a successful marketing campaign.