Attitudes are “mental positions” or emotional feelings people have about products, services, companies, ideas, issues, or institutions. 1Attitudes tend to be enduring, and because they are based on people’s values and beliefs, they are hard to change. That doesn’t stop sellers from trying, though. They want people to have positive rather than negative feelings about their offerings. A few years ago, KFC began running ads to the effect that fried chicken was healthy—until the U.S. Federal Trade Commission told the company to stop. Wendy’s slogan to the effect that its products are “way better than fast food” is another example. Fast food has a negative connotation, so Wendy’s is trying to get consumers to think about its offerings as being better.
A good example of a shift in the attitudes of consumers relates to banks. The taxpayer-paid government bailouts of big banks that began in 2008 provoked the wrath of Americans, creating an opportunity for small banks not involved in the credit derivates and subprime mortgage mess. The Worthington National Bank, a small bank in Fort Worth, Texas, ran billboards reading: “Did Your Bank Take a Bailout? We didn’t.” Another read: “Just Say NO to Bailout Banks. Bank Responsibly!” The Worthington Bank received tens of millions in new deposits soon after running these campaigns. 2
Psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that people have to fulfill their basic needs—like the need for food, water, and sleep—before they can begin fulfilling higher-level needs. Perception is how you interpret the world around you and make sense of it in your brain. To be sure their advertising messages get through to you, companies often resort to repetition. Shocking advertising and subliminal advertising are two other methods. Learning is the process by which consumers change their behavior after they gain information about or experience with a product. Consumers’ attitudes are the “mental positions” people take based on their values and beliefs. Attitudes tend to be enduring and are often difficult for companies to change.
- How does Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs help marketing professionals?
- How does the process of perception work and how can companies use it to their advantage in their marketing?
- What types of learning do companies try to get consumers to engage in?