The most important aim of advertisers is to reach potential consumers, and then further affect their knowledge about the product or service, attitudes to the product or service, and finally, purchase behavior. Large amount of financial resources are spent annually in order to maintain interest of consumers in the advertised products or services. However, success of the advertisements primarily depends on the understanding of the consumers’ behavior and factors that determine it. As a result, one of the advertisers’ goals is to collect as much relevant information about the market as possible. This information is further used for the development of accurate consumers’ profiles. Finally, based on common characteristics several groups of consumers are identified, and specially developed means of communication are directed at them. The process of collecting information about market involves investigation of the consumers’ behavior, both emotional and physical activities of consumers who buy and use products and services in order to satisfy their wishes and needs.
According to Adeolu, Alimi, and Ayanbimipe (2005), a central goal of consumer behavior analysis is to provide explanations of consumers’ action under specific conditions. In the course of analysis factors that affect consumers’ behavior are determined, including psychological, social and economic aspects, which suggest what marketing mix strategies would be the most favorable and what strategy should be selected by the management. In the framework of the consumers’ behavior analysis, consumers are typically viewed as a variable in the marketing cycle that cannot be controlled. Moreover, based on the consumers’ feedback necessary interpretations of the products and services are derived, both in the context of the physical characteristics as well as psychological and social composition.
Similarly to the economic theory which is aimed at establishment of the relationship between prices of sales, achieved sales level, and income of consumers, expenditures of advertising are often compared to the sales of the advertised products and services. As a result, importance of the perceptions, motivations, beliefs and attitudes of consumers are often neglected. In the majority of cases, consumers are considered to be rational implying that they are responding to advertisements in the direction that would be expected according to financial principles and economic theory.
In practice, however, it is clear that behavior of consumers does not fall precisely into these anticipated patterns. Therefore, it is one of the major reasons why analysis of consumers’ behavior is carried out in the framework of the thorough marketing analysis.
Advertising as a Communication Process
Advertising along with promotion of public relations as well as promotion of sales are considered to be marketing tools of mass communication. Mass communication is used by the marketers in order to deliver messages and information about the product and service to the large audiences of people. Currently, there are different approaches towards definition of advertising. According to Arens (1996), advertising can be defined as a marketing process, a communication process, a public relation process, a social or economic process, and finally it can be defined as a process of persuasion and delivering information. In the framework of the functional perspective, advertising is usually defined as paid non-personal process of communication exercised through means of mass media by private business entities and non-profit organizations. On the other hand, Morden (1991) views advertising as a means of establishment a fundamental awareness about the product or service in the minds of the prospective consumers.
Along with the enhancement of technologies, new products and services have been developed and meaning of numerous words has been changed. As a result, increase of the number of advertisements in the traditional means of mass media is associated with the reduction of advertising effectiveness. Currently, a lot of advertisers are looking for new media that is seemingly less cluttered. The modern age of digital means of mass media has given choices for consumers either to see the marketing messages or decide to turn advertising off. Contemporary consumers in the market have more power and control of what they want to see and hear in the mass media and when they want it. Hence, the phase of emergence of the interactive marketing has been replaced by the phase of its rapid development and practical application.
Advertising is considered to be an effective promotional strategy of the enterprise since it serves as a major tool of establishing awareness about the product or service in the public. It also conditions ideas of prospective consumers to take ultimate purchase decision due to the fact that initial mission of the advertiser is to reach prospective customers and affect their attitudes, awareness, and buying behavior. There is evidence that advertising plays a key role in changing attitude and buying behavior of consumers. For example, both men and women in Nigeria increased purchase of food and drinks of Bounvita brand after seeing its advertisement.
Advertising is a persuasion process of mass communication that is largely based on the emotional side of consumers. It is a paid and non-personal process, in the course of which different concepts, ideas, and information about products or services are promoted through means of mass media (textual, verbal and visual) in order to affect or convince consumers to buy certain product or service (Ayanwale, Alimi & Ayanbimipe, 2005). Television advertising is one of the most frequently used means of promoting products, services, ideas, organizations etc. due to the fact that with the help of television advertisers are able to reach a wide range of prospective consumers. In particular, consumes in Pakistan are found to respond to advertisements and increase their consumption of such products as “Lipton Tea” and “Olpers Milk”.
In the course of the past few decades, a number of models and theoretical approaches have been developed, which attempted to describe consumers’ evaluations of the products and services being exposed to different advertisements. From the theoretical perspective, marketing scholars have investigated relationships among the cognitive responses, which have been directed towards the advertisement, a brand in the advertisement, attitudes to the brand, and finally, purchase consumers’ intentions and buying behavior. In general, when advertisements involve different attitudes towards the product, this largely affects attitude of consumers to the brand overall. Therefore, emotional responses of consumers, as well as their environmental attitudes are vital determinants of the consumers’ buying behavior in response to advertisements.
Consumers’ Emotional Response to Advertisements
Integrated marketing communication is using advertisements as one of the most effective tools to emotionally stimulate consumers to purchase products and services. In addition, advertising is closely related with entertainment and the propagation of media, which has distorted the distinctive lines between entertainment and advertisements. Companies use advertising in order to establish brand awareness among consumers, selection and preferences of products or services. Attitude-towards-the-ad theory is the most dominant theory in advertising and marketing research that explains consumers’ response to advertisements. Nevertheless, consumers’ attitude that is created towards the advertisement helps in affecting their attitudes towards the brand, until their purchase intent is realized. Buying behavior of consumers is based on the idea and perception that people are making purchases of products and services instantly at the place where they are sold. Since efficient advertising is aimed at formation of the positive attitude towards the advertisement and the brand overall in order to increase the number of consumers’ purchases, a positive emotional response to the advertisement can serve as the best indicator of successful advertising campaign. Therefore, the primary goal of advertising is to persuade people to purchase products and services and provide prospective consumers with information about these products and services awareness.
Advertising reproduces beliefs that possession of material things is important, and such desirable qualities as prominence, beauty, and happiness can be attained only through possession of material things. In the framework of the traditional attitude theory, behavior of consumers is forecasted based on their attitude when consumers buy products and services of the most preferable brand. In turn, consumers’ attitude can be defined as gained behavioral disposition. Nevertheless, it is believed that consumers’ purchase behavior is resulted from the emotional response to the advertisement. There are three independent factors, which have an impact on the emotional response of consumers. They include pleasure (mental state experienced by the person when joyfulness and happiness are predominant emotions in the particular situation), arousal (mental state in which person experiences a wide variety of feelings from excitement and activeness to boredom and sleepiness), and dominance (mental state of experiencing the feeling of control or free will to act under specific circumstances). The feelings of pleasure, arousal, and dominance appear when consumers watch an advertisement about the product or service and develop the feeling of likeness for the brand, which represents these products or services. Finally, the feeling of willingness to purchase products and services ultimately overwhelms these consumers. The concept of “actual buying behavior” typically refers to the actual purchase of products and services. For that reason, the goal of consumer purchase behavior analysis is to provide explanations of consumers’ actions under specific conditions. Analysis is carried out in attempt to identify factors that affect consumer buying behavior, particularly its psychological, social, and economic aspects. At the same time, analysis of consumers’ behavior is helpful in determining direction of consumers’ buying behavior suggests what are the preferred trends in the product development.
Another vital determinant of advertising success that forms emotional response is the ability of consumers to recall advertisement of the brand. Therefore, the relative value of the brand recall property depends on the degree to which consumers make their decisions based on products, which, in turn, is associated with the increase of the brand awareness. As a result, brand awareness helps to guarantee that the advertisement is recalled, thus, establishing competitive advantage over other brands, which have not been recalled or recalling of which is complicated. Hence, creating positive attitude towards advertisements sets up preconditions for the advertisement to be recalled compared to the negative attitude. Awareness of products and services of specific brands helps in exhibiting impact on the brand’s salience through advertisement in such a way that the freshness and quantity of the memories about the brand thought to be in the purchase situation, which establishes emotional response of consumers towards advertisements.
In practice, people often use different cues in various buying situations, which serve as tools for recalling advertisement of the brand. Therefore, when different attributed are attached to the product or service of the specific brand or brand associations, there is a greater chance that the brand will be retrieved by consumer. Thus, emotional advertising is found to be the most efficient tool for developing emotional response of consumers to the advertisement. In general, predominantly positive relationship has been found between verbal, visual, and textual intensity of means of mass media and consumers’ emotional response.
Consumers’ Environmental Response to Advertisements
Attitude theory of consumers’ response to advertisements includes analysis of environmental attitudes. Environmental concern is considered to be a particular belief, which is basically set in the cognitive structure, and is often defined as an consumers’ opinion, rather than his/her attitude towards the product or service. There is evidence in the marketing literature that environmental variables can have an impact on the consumers’ purchasing behavior. According to the findings of marketing research studies, environment offers consumers certain type of experiences, which are further used for promotion of products and services as well as their selling. In particular, there are numerous attempts of the marketing research studies to provide explanation of the environmental conditions’ effects, for example, background music during the purchase, general atmosphere in the retail store etc.
In the modern society, existing social norms have established a cultural climate that supports the expression of moment desire and impulse. Due to the fact that sensory stimuli can substantially diminish the power of the self-control mechanisms, ability of consumers to oppose the temptation to engage in desire impulse is considerably hindered or even entirely eliminated. At the same time, impulse buying behaviour can be also motivated by other variables including possessions, rewards, moment desire, materialism, self-exploration, and post-purchase decision. As a result, different private business entities provide consumers with certain kinds of media experiences, which are used either for setting the stage or establishing a framework that would promote and sell related products and services.
Nevertheless, those consumers who intend to purchase a product or service and have not decided what brand of the product or service to choose, as well as what features it should possess, then they are also referred to the group of impulse buyers. Shopping lifestyle is considered to be a behavior of people that is exhibited by consumers with respect to the series of personal opinions and responses related to the purchase of the product or service. However, in this situation, consumers usually use retail stores as sources of collecting information comparing different alternative options, and then making a purchase decision.
Nonetheless, the environmental psychology model offers better understanding of the consumers’ emotional response concept unlike traditional marketing research theory. Environmental psychology model is comprised of the information rates and sense modalities. Sense modalities include touch, sight, and sound sense that can significantly affect consumers’ experience. On the other hand, the information rate can have an impact on the consumer for obtaining information from the advertisement. Therefore, this model is easily applicable to text lyrics, music, music video and image, which are robustly related with each other and are exhibited in the advertisement. Furthermore, the environmental psychology model suggests that environment, for example, a retail store, can generate an emotional state or response of the individual that can be categorized as pleasure, arousal, and dominance in the purchase situation.
Effects of H&M and Zara Advertising on Change in Consumers’ Buying Behavior in the Middle East
A lot of large international companies are relying on advertising as an effective tool of changing consumer buying behaviour and switching their attitudes and preferences. Zara and H&M are two large multinational companies that constantly expand their operations into new countries. Recently, their marketing strategy was focused on the expansion to the Middle East.
Both Zara and H&M have attained considerable market share in the Middle East. Annual advertising expenditures are in the range of 1-5% of sales. Product promotion strategy of the international companies includes communication with customers using basic advertising means such as radio, billboards, films, and magazines. At the same time, advertisements are often distributed in such densely populated areas as large cities as well as shopping malls.
H&M take into account cultural differences among each country in the Middle East when advertisement is planned and developed. Certain guidelines for advertisements are developed in the central office, which are locally adjusted according to the customs and preferences of the region. In the advertisements, H&M does not only use text, but also pictures, which are considered to be very important. The idea of being accessible in any place is essential for Zara.
Overall, advertising is one of the most effective marketing tools of the product and service promotion that alters consumers’ purchase behaviour as well as their attitudes and preferences towards the brands. Using various approaches for arousing consumers’ emotional and environmental response to the advertisement, companies are establishing brand awareness and develop customers’ loyalty. Therefore, advertising is an important element of promotion campaign conducted by companies.