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The word advertisement from its derivatives means to change the attitude. The concept of change has been taken to either mean a positive or negative change of attitude that determines the consumer purchasing behavior (Woodall, 2007). In addition, theoretical research and even practical experiences have confirmed that all forms of advertisements have got both positive and negative emotional and environmental responses from the customers. These attitude changes are influenced by social, cultural, and demographic factors such as moral principles, individualism-collectivism, age, religiosity, gender, and a gyrate between low and high context language (Te’eni-Harari, 2008). Notably, socio-cultural and socio-demographic factors link together to influence consumers’ perception and attitude towards an advertised brand; hence leading to varied responses that cumulatively are categorized as either positive or negative (Hogg, 2006). Further, the positive advertisement always results to the satisfaction of the audience through creating desires, arousing interest, attracting attention, and initiating actions. On the contrary, advertisements can lead to dissatisfaction within the targeted population by evoking negative responses from the present or prospective customers; thus, resulting to reduced sales and profits of the advertising firms despite the huge cost of ads (Upadhyaya, 2012). Moreover, studies have shown that other factors apart from advertisements can lure or confine customers to buy more, which limit the effects of the advertisement on consumer behavior. For example, situational factors like crowding and physical factors or sometimes called atmospherics (light, smell, designs, store layout, music played, temperature, location, and space a). Evidently, most customers tend to avoid overcrowded retain store; therefore, resulting to less purchase. Again, some business premises register high customer turnout due to their strategic location, well designed facilities, cool temperatures, adequate lighting, or even nice smells; hence, all these factors make it hard to evaluate the impacts of advertisement on how the consumers behave (Schiffman, 2008). With regards to the two sides of the ad and other factors apart from ads that influence consumer behavior, this paper discusses how ads positively or negatively affect the buyers’ behavior. Again, the paper discusses all other factors that may also shape consumers’ desire, attraction, interest, and actions. Nonetheless, after an analytical rigor of the two schools of thought, the paper appreciates and acknowledges that ad plays a crucial role for businesses to increase their sales, and ultimate profits (Tirmizi, Rehman, & Saif, 2009).
Advertisement is a mechanism through which business enterprises communicate with their current or potential customers or clients to purchase or switch from competitor’s brand to theirs. Therefore, by initiating emotional and environmental responses, ads change the attitude or perception of consumers towards a particular brand (Te’eni-Harari, 2008). Therefore, for customers to take purchase decisions, marketers use ads as a marketing tool so as to create awareness on products and services offered. In this regard, the main objective of product and service promotions is to impact on the purchasing behavior of consumers (Upadhyaya, 2012). However, the impact concerning the brand frequently changes or strengthens depending on people’s memories, which in turn depends on the frequency of advertisement. Any form of ad tries to illustrate the brands attributes such as name, price, packaging, how to use it, just to mention but a few. Undoubtedly, advertisements impact immensely on how buyers behave by initiating purchase decision (Sharma, 2012).
Even if other factors such as social, cultural, situational, and demographic have influence on consumers purchasing habit, ad stands out because it revolves around the purchase decision cycle. First, the ad is meant to create awareness about a specific brand and in so doing, the customer undergoes the first stage of purchase decision, cognition (Schiffman, 2008). At cognition level, the buyer becomes aware that the brand exists in the market from the information derived from the various media, which might be television, newspaper, brochure, radio, online media, flyers, magazines, posters amongst others. Thereafter, cognition initiates consideration, where the consumer weighs the attributes of all the related items so as to reach on the best option (Noel, 2009). Again, during the consideration phase, advertisement plays an imperative role of persuading the prospective buyer that it is worth considering the brand instead of the alternatives. From the first two stages of consumer decision making, it is explicit that an ad is essential if not mandatory (Woodall, 2007).
With continued and frequent advertisements, the consumer evaluates his or her consideration basing the rigor on the brand characteristics as depicted over the media (Woodall, 2007). Proper visual presentation and imagery characteristics of the brand during ad provide an upper chance for the favorable evaluation that ultimately convinces the buyer to make the final decision, buy the brand. All told; every stage of decision of the consumer to purchase any given brand depends on the advertisement (Noel, 2009). Again, negative responses towards an ad always ensue only if the ad heralds offensive message to the target population. Also, the factors that influence consumer behavior can be altered through advertisement. Hence, advertisement is the only superior tool and mechanism for which business enterprises can acquire and retain a broad base of customers (Upadhyaya, 2012).
Factors that Influence Consumer Behavior Other Than Advertisement
Attitudinal buying characteristics of users are influenced by a complex network of factors that can be categorized as situational, psychological, personal, social, cultural, environmental, marketing, and demographic (Woodall, 2007). All these factors make it difficult for most marketers to evaluate the performance of their advertisement efforts. Therefore, companies or any business enterprises do influence customer’s behavior using things or avenues that they are capable of controlling; for example, music, availability, and grouping of products, store design, pricing, and advertising. These factors herald either temporary or long-term consumer behavior to influence them to make a new purchase, purchase an additional product, or purchase nothing at all (Schiffman, 2008). Further, the influential factors have resulted to a different school of thought that argue that business ads are not the primary contributors to increased sales; however they attribute increase in sales to the following factors:
Situational aspects consider physical factors such as store layout and design. Evidently, grocery store facilities are always designed to ensure that the buyers spend more time and purchase more goods. For example, placing milk and bread products at the extreme opposite ends of the store because of their supplementary nature (Krishna, 2013). Therefore, the buyer has to walk around the whole store; presumably, leading to impulse buying of items sighted along the way. Moreover, atmospherics within a particular firm such as lighting, cool temperatures, mirrors, space, pleasant scent, or played music would create a good impression of the premise’s products and services (Eriksson, & Kovalainen, 2008). In addition, the buyer’s social situation, mood, time factors, and the reason for purchase influence their behaviors. However, these factors create temporary conditions that affect their behavior within a short time bound. On the other hand, advertisement, which the paper supports, has got all the three time dimensions, qualitatively referred to as short, medium, or long-term depending on the efforts put by the marketer (Te’eni-Harari, 2008).
Personality, Age, and Gender
Consumer personality describes their dispositions as seen by others; thus most people purchase product or services to enhance how and what they feel about themselves. Notably, a person’s unique characteristics such as openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and extraversion influence how he or she behaves when making purchase decisions (Schiffman, 2008). Likewise, gender affect how and what users buy; thus, men shop differently from women due to variation in their attitudes and stereotypes (Woodall, 2007). However, the current trends in young people show that men and women shop more or less the same. Moreover, people make purchases differently depending on life stages and ages. Alternatively, advertisements can be framed to impact differently to the age, gender, and personality; therefore, ad has the best indicator and influence on consumer behavior proportionally (Upadhyaya, 2012).
Perception, Learning, and Attitude
Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, came up with a theory that people strive to satisfy their basic needs such as food, sleep, and water before the high-level needs. The category of the needs depends on the consumer’s perception, which does interpretation and makes sense. Additionally, learning involves a process where the buyer changes his or her behavior after gaining or experiencing information about a product (Gabriel, 2013). On the other hand, consumers’ attitude shows the “mental positions” that people take based on their beliefs and values. Attitudes endure and more often than not, pose difficulty for businesses to work with. Therefore, marketers resort to repeating their advertisements so as get through their customers. Other techniques that businesses use include product placement and shocking advertisements. Hence, perception, learning, and attitude can be influenced by advertisement to impact more on the extent of sales (Upadhyaya, 2012).
Culture affects the way consumers live, which in turn influences the items they purchase. A subculture shows a subset that differs from the dominating culture, but with specific attributes in common; for example, interests, jobs, vocations, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion, and so forth (Bryman, 2001). Again, consumers falling in the same socio-cultural class tend to exhibit similar buying behavior. Also, family of a person determines his or her purchasing behavior. Therefore to win such group, ad uses reference groups, mainly celebrities and opinion leaders that consumers respect, identify, and want to join. Therefore, prospective consumers ask for the opinion of this group when they want to make a purchase (Sharma, 2012).
Cases of Negative Responses from Advertisements
Impacts on Children
Since most advertisements serve to convince a particular target group, some ads impact negatively to the minds and perception of children. Children often lack the ability to understand most ads because their limited cognition deters them from conceptualizing the message conveyed. In addition, some ads do not consider ethical issues, which might manipulate child values (Te’eni-Harari, 2008). However, children-centered advertisement is always effective but, since children do demand items advertised, some parents may be obliged and frustrated to buy the brands just to make their children happy even in situations of financial hardship. Again, long-term exposure to the advertisement of products such as cigarettes, alcohol, and unhealthy food may lead them to start smoking, drinking or develop obesity. Consequently, responsible parents do develop negative attitudes towards such ads and the brands being advertised (Howard, & Kerin, 2004).
Bad taste Advertisements
Many times, marketers aim to attract the attention of a particular class using objectionable pictures and foul language; however, this could be insulting to another class leading to decay of the norms or social values. Also, some people consider repetitive advertisements as nuisance, especially, when scheduled in between their favorite television programs (Gabriel, 2013). Such advertisements have little or no impacts, instead may reduce the number of sales of the brand. In addition, because most advertisements drive consumers away from reality into embrace of artificiality, on the realization, the buyers may consider the ad as deviant of social norms and upset instead of encouraging them Gabriel, R. (2013).
Adds to Costs
All business enterprises incur too much cost in advertising their products. Unfortunately, the cost of the ad has to be catered for by the consumer through increased prices. Therefore, with the rise in price.............
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