Communicating Consumer Behavior - An Exercise Using Personal Consumption Journals
In consumer behavior, it is vital that upon completion of the course students have acquired a sound understanding of how consumers search for, purchase, and use products and services. Furthermore, students should also be exposed to the social and psychological influences on these behaviors. Finally, to have garnered the most benefit, students should understand how to integrate the theoretical concepts into their real world experiences. To achieve these broad objectives, a large amount of information must be presented by the instructor and then processed by the students. The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of consumption journals. This exercise enables students to not only observe and record their own consumption habits, but also to explore the social and psychological factors which may be influencing their and others' purchase decisions. Furthermore the greatest benefit is that they enjoy the learning process. Exercise Overview
This exercise is designed to be an incremental three part assignment. The first part requires students to maintain a personal consumption journal. In the second part, each student is told to construct a portrait of themselves as a consumer by developing a list of ten products or services typically purchased. The third portion of the assignment is an advertisement evaluation. This requires students to select two products from their ten product list and locate advertisements or promotions for them. For each advertisement selected, students are required to identify four to six consumer behavior concepts used in the ad, to describe the demographic and psychographic segments to which the ad was targeted and to explain the reasoning for their conclusions. Finally, students are asked to assess whether or not they are representative of these segments. Consumption Journal
Each student is responsible for maintaining a consumption journal which describes the products and services which they purchase. Descriptions include what products and services are purchased, where the items are purchased, why the items are purchased, and what feelings are associated with the purchase. Students are required to complete a minimum of two entries each week. Students are asked to submit the preceding weeks' entries with the new entries, allowing the instructor to view the weekly progress and making the students more aware of the patterns present in their consumption behavior. Part 1: Consumption Journal
You are responsible for maintaining a consumption journal which describes the products and services which you purchase/used. Descriptions should include what products and services are purchased/used, where the items are purchased/used, why the items are purchased/used, and what feelings/thoughts/actions were associated with the purchase. You must bring your consumption journals to every class. Dos and Don'ts
1. Do describe the consumption activity and your own thoughts, feelings and actions in some detail, but you do not have to detail every tiny bit. I would consider the sample below as fairly detailed. Do not make it much more detailed unless you have to. 2. Do limit it to consumption activity that can be described in public. 3. Do focus on more important consumption activities. If there aren't any, then drop down to the more mundane activities. 4. Try to get at least 15 entries during the month (obviously many of them would be ordinary activities, but if you have two activities for the same product---as below---that counts as two activities. 5. Don't limit yourself only to purchases....consumption is defined broadly as pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase situations in which you experience feelings, thoughts and actions in regards to achieving satisfaction or reducing dissatisfaction.
For each product-related consumption activity (i.e., products you purchase, plan to...
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