The world of consumers
The definition of consumer behaviour is individuals or groups acquiring, using, and disposing of products, services, ideas or experiences. (Arnould et al 2004, p. 9) Every product has a brand, whatever individual or group whose needs target the brands to purchase. Brand is the process by which companies distinguish their product offerings from the competition. By developing a distinctive name, packaging and design, a brand is created. (Jobber, D.2007. p327) This essay will introduce three brands: "Johnson&Johnson contact lenses", "Crabtree&Evelyn rose shower gel", and "Dolce & Gabanna (D&G) light blue perfume". Firstly，through my own personal use experiences of each brand, and then linking with Susan Fournier relationship types and relative course topics as explanations.
The first brand I will introduce in the essay is Johnson&Johnson contact lenses. I have been wearing contact lenses since high school from 15 years old until my present age of 19 years old. I think I am the only person who always wears Johnson normal contact lenses in my class. Originally all of my classmates wore normal contact lenses before Johnson&Johnson Company presented color contact lenses; after that my classmates try to buy different colored contact lenses and the majority of them began to use color lenses. When I bought one pair to try I felt very uncomfortable. Color lenses lead to inflammation of my eyes and they become dry very easily. In fact, I admit that wearing color contact lenses is very cool and makes eyes appear more beautiful. However, in order to make sure my eye's retain good health I gave up wearing color contact lenses. Another reason is an oculist suggested to me not to use color lenses, because color lenses are thicker than normal lenses, and breathability is lower than normal lenses. I maintain loyalty to almost all Johnson normal contact lenses products, For example, Johnson&Johhson 1 day Acuvue contact lenses, Breathability contact lenses, Wettability contact lenses, Smoothness contact lenses and so on. They make my view clear and maintain freshness of my eyes. There is no pretty color contact lense with shine but they are healthy and comfortable.
In relation to Susan Fournier's brand relationship forms, the relationship between the brands and I belong to "best friendship". From Susan's definition of best friendship in article is 'voluntary union based on reciprocity principle, the endurance of which is ensured through continued provision of positive rewards, Characterized by revelation of true self, honesty, and intimacy.'(Fournier, S.1998,) Once I try to use other brands' lenses, I found the lenses are very thick and tough; my eye becomes dry after three hours. Besides, at night my eye becomes red and uncomfortable. However, Johnson&Johnson's lenses never make feel uncomfortable. That is the key reason I have used Johnson&Johnson contact lenses for more than 4 years and I will continue to use them through the price is much expensive than other brands.
My brand behavior is primarily reflective of the degree and depth to which I'm easily linked between brands with 'consumer motivation' and 'consumer satisfaction'. "Motivation as an inner drive that reflects goal-directed arousal" (Arnould et al, 2004.p258) for example, pain, thirst, hunger, and physically experienced states are described as drives. Therefore, firstly, Johnson&Johnson satisfied my physically requests. Secondly, at the same time identify with the brand image and brand loyalty. In addition, "Consumer satisfaction is a judgment of a pleasurable level of consumption-related fulfilment."(Arnould et al, 2004.p755) For example, Haagen-Dazs Company carried out research of their customers, finding that when a customer satisfied their needs during an happy model or willing pay model it will stimulate ongoing consumption and get competitive advantages.(Ketchum agency, 2009) Consequently, my requirements for contact lenses were health, comfort and making sure I can see everything clearly and widely.
The second brand of focus is Crabtree&Evelyn rose shower gel. I have used this brand of shower gel for 10 years ago. Initially, my mother bought the brand because she loves the rose flavor so much. Furthermore, my father and I are sensitive skins; we cannot use unnatural formula shower gel. Crabtree&Evelyn is made by herb extracted from the flowers and fruits, as well as the essence of fragrance that making it a well-known brand throughout the world. After using this product our skin became more smooth, soft, and clean, and both of us feel comfortable because the products are made in natural. Thanks to my mother let me know Crabtree&Evelyn, especially the rose formula merchandises. I affected by her deeply, and had a good brand image in their goods. To start with, it is just the habit to buy what I would always use at home. After several years, this habit became my personal behavior. From then on, we cannot stop using rose body care product. Our family had became the fans of Crabtree&Evelyn, no matter it is not easy to buy or costly than other products. The key factor for us is the quality and made by natural materials, we have confidence in their commodity. Then we expect they will produce high quality merchandises for us to use.
Linking with Susan Fournier's brand relationship forms, "Kinship" and "Committed partnership" fit to explain my connection to Crabtree&Evelyn rose shower gel. The definition Susan provides of kinship is: "Non voluntary union with lineage ties". The production was brought into my life by my mother, at the beginning, it was not my will to use it, and it belongs to nonvoluntary receipt. The definition of "committed partnership" is about long term, voluntarily imposed, socially supported union high in love, intimacy, trust, and a commitment to stay together despite adverse circumstances. Adherence to exclusivity rules expected. (Fournier, S.1998) When I was living in school at the age of 13 years old, I was willing to use this brand of shower gel until now. My relationship with the product is 6 years old and I trust the quality of brand and love them, it continues to satisfy my needs very well.
Consumer socialization: 'processes by which young people acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes relevant to their functioning as consumers in the marketplace'. A finding of U.S. children's consumer decision-making skills shows Children's influence increase with their age, children followed parents' consumption model to create their consumption model. (Arnould et al, 2004.p561-562) Family plays an important role of influence on their children's consumption behavior. (Kratt, P.2000) This coincides with the concept relating my relationship with the brand. My consumption behavior originates from me is copying my mother and I keep going with this model when creating my own behavior.
The last brand is Dolce & Gabanna (D&G) light blue perfume. I often use that in the weekends; light blue can help me to relax myself deeply keeping a fresh attitude. I have always believed that perfume represents a life style and a kind of life attitude. Different fragrances provide different feelings to life; this is a romantic style of life. Key reason I love this brand is the influence from my friend. This brand is my friend's favorite brand. She bought shoes, clothes, and sun glasses and so on. Through shopping with her, she introduced some elements of Dolce & Gabanna (D&G) to me, allowing me to become familiar with this brand's product that because my friend knows I would like to collect different perfumes with special outlook. Therefore my friend chooses this D&G light blue for me. In my 17th birthday she gave me a gift, which is Dolce & Gabanna (D&G) light blue. When I opened the gift box I became obsessed with it, which makes me smell very refreshing and expansive. I still keep one light blue perfume in my room. Especially in summer light blue can help you keep fresh during the heat wave. After using it for 2 years, most of my friends can easily find me in the public area based on light blue's fragrance. They told me that light blue's fragrance and I have already mixed together. Finally, the smell stands for a personal image.
The type of Susan's form to explain relationship between the brand and I is "dependencies". The definition is obsessive, highly emotional, selfish attractions cemented by feeling that the other is irreplaceable. Separation from other yields anxiety. High tolerance of other's transgressions. (Fournier, S.1998) I use light blue in the long term and I'm always obsessed with it. I do not want others to use the same as me; I want light blue to only be available for me. Hence, if someone uses the same light blue I feel unhappy. I'm accustomed to wearing the clothes which attach light blue's fragrance. Moreover, if I forget to use light blue I will feel a little tired and lacking the fresh factor. Light blue has become one part of my mind.
Group influence is the relative concept suitable to explain D&G and I. 'A group whose presumed perspectives, attitudes or behaviours are used by an individual as the basis for his or her perspectives, attitudes, or behaviours' (Arnould et al., 2004, p609). One type of membership is a secondary information group, which have no strong cohesion, but influence purchasing behaviour directly, for example friends or family members. Park and Lessig provide "peer, parent, and media influences in teen apparel shopping" when a consumer needs to make decisions regarding purchasing, this reference group can come up with information and experience of products. Memberships have the common habits and interests and they usually trust the information provided by reference group. (Mascarenhas et al. 1993 p53-58). My friend has similar interests as me. Therefore, I would trust her choices and recommendations. One Japanese's famous actor Ueto Aya use light blue perfume as well, it is increase my acceptance of brand. Thus I maintain an ongoing relationship with D&G due to reinforcement confirming my friend's social approval.
Through analysis of the three brands which I discussed in this essay and association of them to Fournier relationship types; I have found Fournier's relationship types are not the authorities' theory because there is no evidence that can support such theory. The other illogical deduction is some relationship types are very similar, the definitions cannot be distinguished very clearly. For example, 'committed partnership' and 'best friendship', both include voluntary, stable and fixed uses relationship. In my opinion, some relationships can be changed in the long term. For example, the relationship of Rose shower gel and I, which my mother brings it to me, is a kinship. However, I create my own purchasing behavior; I keep ongoing relations with that brand, as a committed partnership. In spite of Fournier's relationship type having some possible irrational theories, these relationship types explain relations between people and brand clearly in general cases. Besides, the examples of relationship type are representative samples. In conclusion, there are many different factors to influence consumers' decisions of purchasing; it might be family, friends, and consumer themselves and so on. The basis of these behaviors should be formed on satisfied consumer's requests. However, there is still the existence of some invisible psychology factors which can influence consumer behavior.
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