Means End Chains Analysis

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Advancing Means–EndChains by Incorporating Heider’s Balance Theoryand Fournier’s Consumer-Brand RelationshipTypology.

SUMMARY

Means–end chain theory proposes that knowledge held in consumer’s memory is organized in a hierarchy with concrete thoughts linked to more abstract thoughts in a sequence progressingfrom means (i.e., product features), to psychological and social consequences, and finally to ends (i.e., fulfillment of personal values).

The theoretical and practical usefulness of means–end research increases from asking consumers to name an acceptable alternative to the product and brand used in a recent consumption situation, as well as an unacceptable option, and to describe the features consequences–values of these options; consequently, Fournier’s alternative relationships of consumer–brands become relevant for means–endchain theory.

To examine the propositions empirically, the article describes psychological schemas for four means–end chains that link two consumers’ recent lived consumption situations to personal values.

Surfacing unconscious processes may result in tension and stress because unbalanced associations occur among concepts now in a consumer’s working memory.

Advancing Heider’s balance theory to person, brand, and attribute (and attribute-to-benefit-to-instrumental and terminal values) enables more robust means–end chain laddering research because the resulting ladders may uncover and display stress and stress resolution, as well as harmonious associations.

HEIDER’S BALANCE THEORY

By a balanced state is meant a situation in which the relations among the entities fit together harmoniously; there is no stress toward change. A basic assumption is that sentiment relations and unit relations tend toward a balanced state. This means that sentiments are not entirely independent of the perceptions of unit connections between entities and that the latter, in turn, are not entirely independent of sentiments. Sentiments and unit relations are mutually interdependent. It also means that if a balanced state does not exist, then forces toward this state will arise. If a change is not possible, the state of imbalance will produce tension.

Unbalanced situations stimulate us to further thinking; they have the character of interesting puzzles, problems which make us suspect a depth of interesting background. Stories in which the stress is laid on unbalanced situations are felt to have a deep psychological meaning.

This article proposes several advances in the theory.First, specific buying and consumption situations serve as frames of reference when consumers are thinking about products and alternative features of products and brands. Second, states of psychological imbalance may occur in consumers’ minds among linkages retrieved automatically for features consequences and consequences–values; thus, Heider’s balance theory informs means–end chain theory and research.

Interview two people and apply the concept of the article. Identify their motivation of purchase.

I took an interview of two females regarding the brand of milk, they consumed today. Both are tetra pack consumers as they are health conscious.

The first respondent is Anza, a 23 years old Mba student, who takes milk twice a day, once before going to bed and once when she gets up in the morning. The brand that she consumes is NESVITA, as she is very much diet conscious. She is very much concerned about her physique and prefers low fat milk over the creamy rich milks like Olpers. She says she takes a glass of milk whenever she feels like taking it.

The attributes that she associates with Nesvita are that it tastes good, smells good and its good for thebone health, heart health as well as digestive health.

She says that our body loses a certain amount of calcium each day that must be replenished on a daily basis. Nestle Nesvita Pro-Bones has more calcium than regular milk. It has CALCI-LOCK,...
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