Enhancing Consumer Behavior

Understanding how individuals’ process and filter information can help marketers determine the correct strategies and tactics to motivate consumers. When consumers are comfortable and understand a message clearly, they are more likely to act upon it. This helps build rapport and brand loyalty, which will motivate higher performance.

If you want your product or brand to be known, you have to make it stand out from everyone else. Do something different to make people remember you. Let’s take the Allstate commercials. We may not care about the insurance company or what it offers, but every time we hear that man’s deep voice, we know it’s a commercial for Allstate. Come up with a catchy slogan, so that every time it’s said, people know who it is.

It has been said that there is much that can enhance motivation. One of the most effective ways is creating a message that will have a positive affect. Positive communications methods result in more attention and affective responses.

Even though all publics are not responsive, the communication must be created for an equal opportunity for all publics to process the information. It takes sufficient effort to reach certain audiences. Opportunity in the public relations field is creating multiple messages in different ways so that people can easily process them.

Consumers are not going to even take a second look at your product if they can’t comprehend what it offers from the beginning. Big words are unnecessary. Just get to the point and make your message clear.


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The Role of Public Relations Professionals

Public relations is the prime role between an organization and its publics. Public relations is the core communicator in helping business develop strong relationships with customers. The practice includes managing the flow of information in communication between a business or organization and its publics.

The practitioner gains audience exposure of the organization by using news items that do not require payments. The professional’s job is to create a positive image for the organization or business and keep that image in the public eye. Common activities of a public relations professional include speaking, press and employee communication.

The job of public relations specialists is to maintain a mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. It involves supervising and assessing public attitudes. Functions include improving communication and instituting new ways of a two-way communication understanding. They have to make sure the message is clear and honest so that the target audiences understand the message being given.

Public relations professionals have to be very talented and look at an organization through the eyes of the media and know what material to give at the right time, whether it is a speech or product. The strategy of an organization is determined after analysis.

Many people, other than just public relations professionals, contribute to this decision making process. Once the strategy is in place, it is then communicated and implemented. Professionals have to be aware of the environment they are targeting, depending on the location of the organization. As long as the environment is clear and there is an appreciation for the area, the audience will be better understood.

In the end, public relations professionals bridge the gap between the organization and the public. Representing views and decision reactions are vital parts of strategic planning. They provide intellectual communication to the strategic process and are major influences of the decision-making processes. Public relations professionals have a complex job and depending on the location and situation, determine how a specialist runs the operation.



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What is Social Media?

Social media is seen everywhere and being used in some way all over the world. Let’s break down what social media really is. Media involves communication, such as radio or newspaper; so social media is communication through a social instrument. Social media is very broad and covers many websites. It allows people to interact with the website and other people on that site as well. These online sites encourage people to interact with each other, as well as companies on the sites.

Social media is ever changing as technology and the networking sites advance. Many companies use social media to promote their brand or products, just because so much traffic and attention is gained through social media sites.

Every social media site is designed for a certain action. For example, Facebook allows users to share photos and updates, and helps friends and family stay connected in what’s going on in each other’s lives. Businesses also use it to promote activities and events. Twitter allows people to share short updates and discuss topics of the same interest.

Social media is a very useful tool in the marketing world. It feeds in discovering new content and helps build Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts; which is the process of getting traffic from listings on search engines. If social media is used correctly, it can be a very beneficial tool.

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Defining Consumer Behavior

Creating effective messages to reach strategically important audiences is a critical function in public relations. Communication efficiency can be directed by increasing individuals’ levels of motivation, ability and opportunity. This theory states that individuals process information based on these three factors (motivation, ability and opportunity).

Consumer motivation is the first initiator of the model. Motivation is the state of aroused behavior toward attaining a goal.  It is a desire for product, service or experience.  Motivation begins with a need recognition. Needs are never fully satisfied and can be natural or learned.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to more advanced needs.  These needs play a major role in behavior motivation.

Needs can also conflict; Approach-avoidance conflict can be desirable or undesirable, satisfying some needs, but not others. Approach-approach conflict is when there is more than one desirable option and a choice must be made. Avoidance-avoidance conflict is when there is more than one undesirable option and a choice must then be made.

Another factor of consumer motivation is perceived risk.  Perceived risks are higher when a product is new, has a high price, and there is little information available.  The six risks that researchers have identified are:

  • Performance risk – uncertainty of the products performance.
  • Financial risk – if the product is at a high price.
  • Physical risk – potential harm to an individual.
  • Social risk – social harm from buying or using the product.
  • Psychological risk – concerned if the product fits lifestyle.
  • Time risk – time commitment.

Being brand loyal, buying through brand and store image, seeking out information and buying the most or least expensive brand can reduce consumer risks.

Consumer ability is the second forerunner of the model. High ability individuals are knowledgeable and have the capability to process information more efficiently. Inactive publics have a disadvantage compared to active publics because they are not aware or knowledgeable about certain topics and organizations.  If it is not used regularly, it is more difficult to process. Marketers need to target audiences that have a prior knowledge to the product or develop educational messages

Opportunity is the last part of the model. Opportunity favors information processing messages.  Distractions and limited exposure time affect consumers’ attention to brand information, as well as the complexity of the message. Marketers have concluded three steps in order to enhance opportunity and help consumers’ better process information: repeat marketing communications, reduce time pressure, reduce time needed to buy and learn about a product or service.

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Sexual Stimuli in Advertising

Being this is the 21st century and sexual appeal in advertising has become a more common thing. When comparing age and gender with the attitudes and feelings of consumers, the factor is insignificant. In today’s society, age does not typically separate attitude and consumer decision-making. Meanings of what is perceived as sexy will differ amongst everyone. Characteristics of models, behaviors and intimate relations will vary.

More women, than men, will respond by saying some advertising has too much sex appeal and may be indecent due to the fact that the brand or product has nothing to do with sex or feeling sexy. More women are used for advertising and when shown in the nude, can be objectifying toward women. Some women may feel a negative attitude toward a brand if it is identified as too sexy, making them feel uncomfortable with the ad. Women tend to compare themselves to models used in the ad and after evaluation, become unhappy with their bodies and may develop bad habits for losing weight to look attractive.

Sexual advertising affect sexual stimuli of a consumer and people are more likely to buy a product if someone attractive is selling it. Sex grabs attention to someone walking down the street, and even if they don’t buy the product, consumers usually remember the brand it is associated with and talk about it, developing new clients for the business.

There is no doubt that sex sells when used in advertising. It draws more attention to a brand and is effective as long as it is not used out of context. Marketers have to be cautious due to negative effects and make sure that it is applied appropriately. The findings in this study will suggest many different opinions on how advertising uses sex appeal and whether or not it is appropriate.

Sex appeal in advertising will continue to be an ongoing debate in society. More marketers are using sexuality to display and sell their products because it grabs attention, even to those who are not the main target. Nudity in advertising increases memory for the ad image. Sexual appeal persuades an audience to feel a certain way; therefore, gaining brand awareness and more consumers.



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Fall In Love with Your Brand

It is a competitive market to gain loyalty and keep the customers in retail. Good practices and measurements are requirements in order to be successful. There is still much more research that could be done on brand loyalty in order to understand it fully. Brand loyalty is a result of consumer behavior and is affected by a person’s preference. Price is not an issue when customers shop the brand they love. When it comes to marketing for Victoria’s Secret, their greatest strategy is word of mouth. Consumers, even those who do not shop the brand, talk about the advertising and product of Victoria’s Secret.

Happy customers make loyal customers. Brand Loyalty and Community Builder, Suzanne Vara (2010) stated six important ways to create brand loyalty.

Based on the conceptual framework of drivers of brand loyalty, there is a need for more theoretically based research of brand loyalty. Future research could consist of a study focusing specifically on brand loyalty programs and the way they are used in the retail industry, and finding out the best ways to use it in order to gain brand loyalty.

Once a consumer falls in love with the brand, they never go back. In order to build long-term relationships with consumers, a brand has to know and understand its market and reach out to the public in a way that no one else does. Victoria’s Secret advertising and marketing is very different than other brands, and even though many may not agree with it, they still talk about it; therefore, developing much talk and bringing in more curious people to shop the brand.

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Victoria’s Secret success in Brand Loyalty

So how does Victoria’s Secret succeed in brand loyalty? Brand recognition. Victoria’s Secret offers quality products along with knowing exactly how to identify to the correct market. Victoria’s Secret has been very successful with their past advertising campaigns due to the quality of the products and helping make a customer feel good and sexy about themselves.

Victoria’s Secret also offers brand loyalty programs. Past research has showed that 62% of American consumers join loyalty programs in order to receive discounts, but only 36% receives promotional rewards. Reason being that about 81% of members do not understand exactly how reward programs work. Victoria’s Secret for example; if a customer leaves their phone number and email every time they make a purchase, the more coupons and discounts they will receive. If they chose not to leave it every time, it will be unknown that they are frequent shoppers.

Loyalty programs are great with knowing a customers spending behavior. If the purchases can be tracked, then the promotions can be given toward items they would normally buy, based on past spending behaviors.

Successful brand loyalty programs create a line of communication between the brand and its customers. Gifts and freebee’s can help keep the best customers and make a big change in the competitive field of customer loyalty.

A survey done by CrossView (2011), a provider of cross-channel commerce solutions, showed that over 50% of shoppers are motivated by brand loyalty when they make a purchase and 66% said that loyalty programs do not make them more likely to shop with a particular retailer.

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