Project on Change in life-style that leads to preference of branded products
Name: Rajan Christian
Brand preferences are usually studied by attempting to profile and understand loyal consumers. This paper presents a study of changes in brand preferences. Theory and research is used to propose and test a model based on the proposition that changes in brand preferences and their development are the result of life events that serve as markers of life transitions. Changes are viewed to be the result of adjustments to new life conditions and changes in consumption lifestyles that reflect consumer efforts to cope with stressful life changes. The data support these notions and suggest implications for consumer research.
The question of "why consumers change their brand preferences" has intrigued marketers and consumer researchers for decades. Early attempts to understand brand-switching behaviour focussed on the effect of past purchases on current purchase behaviour. More recent studies have shown that brand-switching behaviour is related to three types of factors consumer characteristics, marketing mix factors, and situational influences. The purpose of the present research is to present a relatively unexplored approach to understanding changes in brand preferences. Specifically, it is proposed that changes in brand preferences are the result of life changes (events) that signify transitions into new roles and create stress, forcing the individual to modify his or her consumption life styles (including brand preferences) to adapt to new life circumstances. Theoretical perspectives are presented followed by the results of a large-scale national study.
Recent studies have revealed that periods of life transitions are associated with significant changes in consumer behaviour. Two different theoretical perspectives help us find explanations for these changes: role transition perspective and stress perspective. The first perspective holds that as people change roles, adopt new roles, or give up old roles their consumer behaviour also changes. These changes in consumer behaviour are either because of their need to redefine their self-concepts as a result of the assumption of a new role; or due to role relinquishment as people attempt to dispose of products relevant to the enactment of a previous role. Previous research has shown that possessions are integral to the definition of self and the expression and performance of 1
roles (Belk 1988); and their disposition is necessary in communicating important changes both to the consumer and to others. The second perspective on behavioural changes is based on stress theory and research. Stress refers to environmental, social, or internal demands which require the individual to readjust his or her usual behaviour patterns. These demands cause disruptions of previously more or less balanced states. Major life changes and transitions are often treated as "stressors" that create a generalized demand for readjustment by the individual. Thus, the assumption of a new role or its anticipation requires major adjustment of one’s lifestyle which can be stressful. People attempt to restore balance and relieve frustrations and tensions accompanying disequilibrium by initiating or modifying behaviours, which are viewed as coping strategies. Coping refers to actions and thoughts that enable the individual to handle difficult situations, solve problems, and reduce stress. Based on these two theoretical perspectives, it is proposed that changes in brand preferences are the result of life changes (events) that (a) signify transition into new roles and (b) create stress that forces the individual to modify his or her consumption behaviour. While changes in brand preferences have not been linked empirically to life transitions or stress, there are reasons to believe that brand-preference change is a consequence of life changes for at least two...
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