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Consumer Behavior Comparison Essay

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1. Using the tricomponent attitude model, compare the differences in attitude of consumers towards Kraft Foods versus their attitude towards Vegemite. The tricomponent attitude model is made up of Cognitive, Affective and Conative component. The three components are interrelated and integrate to form an attitude of a person toward any product or service in consumer scenario. Here we are studying how the consumers react to Kraft Food and Vegemite. Cognitive Component

Cognition is basically making decisions going through a thinking process. So this thinking process can occur on the basis of knowledge and perceptions that already existed in the consumers’ minds.

The Cognitive Component of attitude is developing a belief based on past experience or perception and whenever the consumers are exposed to attitude object (about which we are to form certain attitude) and those belief will form a typical behavior towards that attitude object. The consumers can be seen in the case study to be protective over Vegemite as they perceive it to be a national symbolic food with the long history.

The brand itself had lasted centuries with its unique salty base as breakfast spread as compared to traditional sweet base spreads. Kraft Foods being the brand owner did not do anything to the brand until the later years where they did a rebranding of the product to suit modern culture and needs. The consumers clearly triggered heavy resentment over the undesired new name as they had perceive “Vegemite” to be worthy of a name to more relevant. Here Kraft Food suffered a marketing backlash whereas consumers’ support for Vegemite rally strong. Affective Component

This Component of Attitude formation is all about emotional feelings of a consumer about the particular product or brand. Consumers have certain emotions regarding the attitude objects either favorable or unfavorable; good or bad, it may be regardless of any quality, specification, features, utility or brand name. Vegemite lasted centuries of success without any interference from Kraft Food in terms of product modification or receipe changes. Kraft Food knew that Australians held Vegemite with high regards and deeply rooted in the history and culture. Despite a dip in sales after foreigners infux, the strong support of the old brand can be seen as Kraft Food carelessly picked an odd name for their re-branding. In their “Name me…” campaign, strong sentiments of the brands were reveal as hate groups emerge to hate the new Vegemite name. The consumers feel strongly violated as the name did not resonate with the hearts of the supporter. Kraft Food succumb to pressure and rename the product. Conative Component

This final component is concerned with the likelihood or tendency that a specific action will be undertaken by an individual regarding attitude object. It is treated as an expression of consumer’s intention to buy. It may include action itself. Consumers usually make purchases for positively evaluated brands. Their intentions towards those brands are positive, so their attitude towards those brand would be positive. Although the new “iSnack 2.0” was much disliked, the success of the receipe is shown with the improvement in sales figures.

Consumers in this case, reacted to the over hyped publicity generated by negative marketing, resulting in curious new consumers trying out the new product. Vegemite in this case, was successful. On the other hand, Kraft Food was said to be making use of the clever marketing strategy by inducing resentments from the consumers with the “iSnack2.0” name. Compared with vegemite, Kraft Food is perceived to be crafty and had to resort to underhand means to achieve desirable results.

2. Thinking about the different methods Kraft used to encourage consumer input for their new Vegemite product, what kind of consumer learning took place during the entire process? Consumer learning is the process by which individuals acquire the purchase and consumption knowledge and experience they apply to future related behaviour. Most of the learning is incidental and some of it is intentional.

Elements of Consumer learning

The basic elements that contribute to an understanding of learning are motivation, cues, response and reinforcement. Consumers will be motivated to learn if the information is relevant to their needs and goals while cues serve to direct consumer drives when they are consistent with consumer expectations. Response is how consumers react or behave to a drive or a cue while reinforcement increases the likelihood a response will occur in the future as a result of a cue. Kraft encouraged consumer input for their new Vegemite product through the “How do you like your Vegemite” and the “Name me..” campaign. By getting the consumers to be involved, the Australians will feel that they ‘own’ the brand which created the sense of belonging. Kraft asked consumers to log on to the website and post their ideas on the different ways they ate the product.

Instrumental Conditioning

Instrumental Learning theorists believe that learning occurs through a trial and error process in which the positive outcomes in the form of results or desired outcomes lead to repeat behaviour like Repeat Purchase or Repeat Positive Word of Mouth. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be used to encourage the desired behaviour. The timing of repetitions influences how long the learned material is retained. Learning usually persists longer with distributed re-inforcement schedule, while mass repetitions produce more initial learnings. In view of how Kraft Food did was the “Name me…” campaign. They failed to select a proper name for the first time, but they acknowledge the mistake and repeat the campaign a second time. Meanwhile, they took four months to replace the “iSnack2.0” labelled jars off the shelves before replacing with “Cheesybites”. The consumers are conditioned by this instrumental method. 3. Vegemite is a food product suggesting customers would have lower levels of involvement with the brand. However, the fall-out from ‘iSnack 2.0’ imply otherwise.

What aspects of involvement theory were presented in their response? Involvement theory recognizes that consumers become attached to products, services or brands to differing levels and they engage in a range of information-processing activities, depending on the significance of the purchase (Sciffman et al. 2008). The involvement level shown by the consumers in ‘iSnack2.0’ is high is because Vegemite is considered to be a national brand and a part of Australia’s heritage (Superbrands Australia, 2012). Beside this, the ‘How do you like your Vegemite’ and the ‘Name Me’ campaign further increase the involvement level of the consumers as they felt a sense of ownership in the creation phrase of the product (Sciffman et al. 2008). From the case of ‘iSnack 2.0’, the hemispheral lateralization theory can be used to explain the responses of the consumers. The hemispheral lateralization theory, also known as split-brain theory, is the learning theory around the basic principle that the left and right side of the brain specialize in the kind of information they process.

The left side of the brain, which specializes in cognitive activities, can be put as rational and logical, while the right side of the brain, which specializes in pictorial and holistic information, can be put as emotional and instinctive (Sciffman et al. 2008). When Kraft chose the name ‘iSnack 2.0’, the left hemispheral of the consumers processed the decision-making and they responded negatively because the logical thinking is that the selected name is more related to technology products such as iPod and iPhone by Apple. This made the decision looks ‘wierd’ and ‘irrevelant’ to the public and will also results in consumers thinking that Kraft is trying to ride on the success of Apple’s products (Miller, 2009). On the other side, the right hemispheral of the consumers also contributed to the consumers responding negatively because Australians have high loyalty and feelings for Vegemite (Foley, 2009) and the fact that Kraft did not let the consumers have a say in the winning name intensifies the negative feeling that Kraft, an American company, is not allowing the Australia public to have a say in the brand they felt they have ownership in.

And by choosing a name that is perceived to be unsuitable and outrageous, it further fuels the feeling that the company is showing disrespect to the brand Australians love (Sciffman et al. 2008). 4. Do you think Kraft can change perception of ‘iSnack 2.0’ by changing the name to ‘Cheesybite’? Explain your answer. Perception is the process by which people select, organize and interpret stimuli to form a meaningful and logical picture of the world and it is important in marketing strategies for marketers because consumers make decisions based on what they perceive, rather than on the basis of objective reality. (Sciffman et al. 2008). When ‘iSnack 2.0’ was chosen, it triggered negative responses and outrage from consumers across a number of social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, online forums, newspaper and magazines. ‘iSnack 2.0’ was perceived to be ‘weird’ and ‘irrelevant’ and make no sense to consumers as to why a food product was given a technological name that is normally related to technology products such as iPhone and iPod (Miller, 2009).

The name was also perceived to be a marketing stunt by the company as the negativity generated increased the exposure of the product. This led to the sales rising 47 percent in the first two weeks and the product being available in 15% of Australian households (Foley, 2009). However, ‘iSnack 2.0’ also led to hatred and anger as there are consumers who suggested boycotting the product (Collerton, 2009). By deciding to change the name of ‘iSnack 2.0’ to ‘Cheesybite’, Kraft can change the perception of the product. The product is a combination of ‘Vegemite’ spread and cream cheese (Kraft Foods Australia, 2011), which is as what ‘Cheesybite’ suggested and made more sense to consumers. Another reason is that ‘Cheesybite’ is chosen in a popularity vote by more than 30,000 Australian and New Zealanders, instead of by the company, therefore will relate better to consumers (AAP, 2009). Once the more popular and logical choice of ‘Cheesybite’ replace ‘iSnack 2.0’, sentiment will soften due to the Australia loyalty to the brand and the incident will slowly fade away.

5. If ‘Vegemite’ could be given a brand personality, what do you think it would be like? Compare this to how the ‘Cheesybite’ personality might be. Brand personality is an act or a process of the personality traits that a brand possesses. It is the viewing of a brand as a person and defining the traits that a brand has. A brand personality is something consumers can relate to and it develops over time (Parameswaran, 2006). An effective brand will increase its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits. There are five main types of brand personalities and they are Excitement, Sincerity, Ruggedness, Competence and Sophistication (Friend, 2010). ‘Vegemite’ is best described as having the personality of Sincerity which is interpreted as down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, and cheerful (Friend, 2010).

Vegemite is an Australian brand that reaches to the hearts of its consumers and therefore brand loyalty is high. Kraft has retained the down-to-earth nature of ‘Vegemite’ by not changing the content, with the only updates applying to external factor such as packaging and the occasional consumer promotion. ‘Cheesybite’ is best seen as having the personality of Excitement under the 5 dimensions of brand personality. The name ‘Cheesybite’ gives consumers an exciting, daring and spirited feeling (Friend, 2010). This will attracts consumers with high innovativeness as they are risk takers and are more likely to adopt new products (Tellis et al, 2009) The different personalities of ‘Vegemite’ and ‘Cheesybite’ give consumers totally different perception and feeling and this is important for Kraft to position itself in the different market segment to establish a good name.

AAP, 2009, Vegemite Cheesybite replaces iSnack2.0, The Sidney Morning Herald. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/vegemite-cheesybite-replaces-isnack20-20091007-gm5u.html Collerton, S. 2009. iSuck 2.0: Unhappy little Vegemites. ABC News. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-09-28/isuck-20-unhappy-little-vegemites/1445034 Foley, Meraiah. 2009. Vegemite Contest Draws Protests. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/business/global/03vegemite.html?pagewanted=all Friend, Camille. 2010. The 5 Dimensions of Brand Personality. Fuel Your Branding. http://www.fuelyourbranding.com/the-5-dimensions-of-brand-personality/ Kraft Foods Australia. 2011. http://www.kraftbrands.com/kraftvegemite/Pages/product-information-cheesybite.aspx Kraft Foods Australia. 2011. http://www.kraft.com.au/products/media_release_vegemite_vote.aspx Miller, K E. 2009. Title fight. The Drum Opinion. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/26916.html Parameswaran, M.G. 2006. Building Brand Value: Five Steps To Building Powerful Brands. Tta McGraw-Hill Education. Schiffman, Leon, David Bednall, Aron O’Cass, Angela Paladino, Steve Ward, and Leslie Kanuk. 2008. Consumer Behavior. 4th ed. Pearson Education Australia Superbrands Australia. 2012. http://www.superbrands.com/au/content/view/300/1/ Tellis, Gerard J, Eden Yin and Simon Bell. 2009. Global Consumer Innovativeness: Cross-Country Differences and Demographic Commonalities. Journal of International Marketing, American Marketing Association. Vol. 17, No 2, 2009, pp 1-22.

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