n o specific brand attributes and attach different levels of importance to these attributes. Using this approach, an attitude toward a particular brand can be represented as
where AB = attitude toward a brand
Bt = beliefs about the brand's performance on attribute i E, = importance attached to attribute i n = number of attributes considered
For example, a consumer may have beliefs (Bi) about various brands of toothpaste on certain attributes. One brand may be perceived as having fluoride and thus preventing cavities, tasting good, and helping control tartar buildup. Another brand may not be perceived as having these attributes, but consumers may believe it performs well on other attributes such as freshening breath and whitening teeth.
To predict attitudes, one must know how much importance consumers attach to each of these attributes (E). For example, parents purchasing toothpaste for their children may prefer a brand that performs well on cavity prevention, a preference that leads to a more favorable attitude toward the first brand. Teenagers and young adults may prefer a brand that freshens their breath and makes their teeth white and thus prefer the second brand.
Consumers may hold a number of different beliefs about brands in any product or service category. However, not all of these beliefs are activated in forming an attitude. Beliefs concerning specific attributes or consequences that are activated and form the basis of an attitude are referred to as salient beliefs. Marketers should identify and understand these salient beliefs. They must also recognize that the saliency of beliefs varies among different market segments, over time, and across different consumption situations.
Attitude Change Strategies Multiattribute models help marketers understand and diagnose the underlying basis of consumers' attitudes. By understanding the beliefs that underlie consumers' evaluations of a brand and the importance of various attributes or consequences, the marketer is better able to develop communication strategies for creating, changing, or reinforcing brand attitudes. The multiattribute model provides insight into several ways marketers can influence consumer attitudes, including:
• Increasing or changing the strength or belief rating of a brand on an important attribute (Southwest Airlines has the most on-time arrivals).
• Changing consumers' perceptions of the importance or value of an attribute (demonstrating safety in Mercedes' ads).
• Adding a new attribute to the attitude formation process (American Airlines' increased leg room).
• Changing perceptions of belief ratings for a competing brand (Volvo's ads that show Volvo as stylish).
The first strategy is commonly used by advertisers. They identify an attribute or consequence that is important and remind consumers how well their brand performs on this attribute. In situations where consumers do not perceive the marketer's brand as possessing an important attribute or the belief strength is low, advertising strategies may be targeted at changing the belief rating. Even when belief strength is high, advertising may be used to increase the rating of a brand on an important attribute. BMW's "The Ultimate Driving Machine" campaign is a good example of a strategy designed to create a belief and reinforce it through advertising.
Marketers often attempt to influence consumer attitudes by changing the relative importance of a particular attribute. This second strategy involves getting consumers to attach more importance to the attribute in forming their attitude toward the brand. Marketers using this strategy want to increase the importance of an attribute their particular brand has.
The third strategy for influencing consumer attitudes is to add or emphasize a new attribute that consumers can use in evaluating a brand. Marketers often do this by improving their products or focusing on additional benefits or consequences associated with using the brand. Exhibit 4-12 shows how Panasonic is introducing wireless technology in an attempt to influence consumers' attitudes.
A final strategy marketers use is to change consumer beliefs about the attributes of competing brands or product categories. This strategy has become much more common with the increase in comparative advertising, where marketers compare their brands to competitors' on specific product attributes. An example of this is the Pro-gresso ad shown in Exhibit 4-13, where the company compares what it has to offer to what Campbell's offers.
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