In the US, various companies have implemented strategies that respond to changes in diversity. Consumer behavior involves the psychological processes within consumers as they recognize their needs, resolving them, making purchasing decisions, and interpreting plans. Through an effective analysis of consumer behavior, companies understand consumer perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and the reason for selecting different brands. This study analyses the conceptual issues faced with consumer behavior. The study specifically focuses on product positioning and brand equity through internal consumer influences such as perception, learning, memory, attitudes, emotions, personalities, and motives.
The Main Body
Consumer behavior assists companies in understanding factors that influence consumers to shop and make decisions (Graham, 2010). Firms also understand limitations on consumer knowledge and information processing, as well as ways that they influence marketing decisions. Consumer behavior is also necessary when companies need to understand concepts that motivate their consumers. The knowledge of consumer behavior assists companies in formulating decision strategies, for example, where there are two products in the market with similar importance.
According to Hawkins et al. (2010), marketers are capable of adapting and improving marketing strategies and campaigns to reach their target consumers. Marketers have noted that one factor that consumers consider before purchasing some fashion products is the brand’s country of origin. A brand includes a consistent pledge that a company makes to represent its products and services. A brand name is capable of differentiating products from its competitors and improves emotional connection with consumers. A trademark is to a brand similar to what trust is to business (Graham, 2010).
According to Hawkins et al. (2010), brand equity results form a protected trademark. A company’s trademark is the legal concept in marketing, while a brand is the marketing concept for promoting products and services. To achieve many benefits from a brand, the company must possess a powerful positioning strategy. The strategy should be one that touches the hearts and minds of the targeted consumers amazingly. In product branding, there are certain considerations that a company should have, for example, memorability of the name, pronunciation, associations, domain name possibilities, and trademarks. Brand equity measures the success of a brand in the market. Monitoring brand equity is necessary for managing the brand and involves complexity. Brand equity is measured in terms of cost, sales, profits, and margins (Hirsh et al., 2012).
Steve Jobs introduced Apple Company in 1971 and has since become a brand to associate with most consumers. Apple has managed to maintain its brand with the constant production of high-quality products making the company popular all over the world. Apple consumers also practice brand loyalty and associate with the brand. Among the products portfolio produced by Apple Company, Apple iPod has managed to become the company’s market leader among other portable music players and has managed to create a position in the market (Varian, 2007). The usability of the iPod and the design was capable of attracting consumers from varying demographics, yet the company had no specific target in the market. Teenagers played a major role in positioning the product in the market since it demonstrated a young and fashionable image.
Apple is an organization with a unique position within its consumers’ minds. What facilitated the unique positioning include the appeal of their products as well as their diverse advertising campaigns. Many of their consumers have built-in product loyalty and committed to the brand name. The brand has many competitors in its entire product lines; for example, IBM and HP for the production of personal computers and Samsung in the production of mobile phones (Varian, 2007).
The brand name ‘iPod’ with the initial ‘i’ gives consumers the perception of light and attractive product. The company applies behavioral pricing theory due to its high quality. The company targeted young people with reason, such as the possibility to remain loyal and for a longer time (Varian, 2007). Consumers have the perception that the iPod is attractive due to its physical features, for example, smooth outer material. The other factor is that young people perceive that Apple products are superior as compared to other brands in the market.
Learning and memory
A consumer considers positive support when using an iPod as people view the owner as trendy, young, and attractive, thus boosting their morale. The observation learning associated with the iPod is that consumers buy the products since they see many actors, celebrities, and models with them.
According to Varian (2007), a consumer would purchase an iPod because of the personal choice of music. Others include feeling young, trendy, and being part of a large community. The drive is the peoples’ pressure resulting from purchasing and, finally, satisfaction. The strength of the motivation includes the expectation that the consumer will listen to their choice of music. Apple is a luxury brand and displays the need for affiliation. Using an iPod displays an individuality personality because of the unique songs and playlists. The rewards for owning an iPod include storing and listening to quality music whenever and wherever, while the punishments include discomfort and alienation. This is according to the functional theory of attitude in consumer behavior.
Companies face various challenges in brand positioning, for example, global consumer differences, need for various promotions, differences in tastes and preferences due to multicultural consumers, and price barriers. Companies, such as Apple Inc. that have invested in global marketing, also face challenges such as maintaining high-quality products, managing their global supply chain, positioning challenges, and adapting to the changing technologies. Other consumer behavior affecting brand equity and positioning include consumer animosity.
According to Graham (2010), the planned behavior theory shows attitudes that affect the behavioral plan. There are consumers who identify with the brand’s features, for example, the label, color, and logo to determine the value of the product. These consumers consider counterfeit goods as inferior, thus believe original brands to produce original and quality products. Consumer animosity is the negative attitude towards counterfeit brands. These consumers believe that buying genuine luxury brands improves their recognition and admiration as well as being part of a group. These consumers display their animosity towards countries that allow the production of counterfeit products.
With the increasing competitors in the market, the strategies applied by Apple may not be sufficient. Apple Inc. needs explanations for most of its aspects. For example, it should focus on emotional appeal in developing its accessories rather than leaving it to other companies. For a brand to have a successful positioning, it should have its niche and form a community. This is a significant factor today. People want to belong to a certain group. Apple has managed to maintain its brand equity by showing that its high prices are equal to the quality of products.
Graham, J. (2010). Critical thinking in consumer behavior: Cases and experiential exercises, (2nd ed.). Boston: Prentice Hall.
Hawkins, D. I., Mothersbaugh, D. L., & Best, R. J. (2010). Consumer behavior: Building marketing strategy, (11th ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill. (320-323)
Hirsh, J. B., Kang, S. K., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2012). Personalized persuasion: Tailoring persuasive appeals to recipient personality traits. Psychological Science, 23, 578-58
Varian, H.R. (2007). An iPod ha global value, ask the many countries that make it. Web.