This piece will be looking at the ability of attitudes held by potential consumers to help predict consumer behaviour. How well can our thoughts and feelings, our attitudes help predict what our behaviour is going to be towards something, a company, brand or even and end product. Then after discussing the level to which our attitudes can help, we will then look at the ways in which marketers have used attitude change strategies in an attempt to also change consumer behaviour in their favour, persuading consumers to purchase and try their product.
Attitudes represent our covert feelings of favourability or unfavourably toward an object, person, issue, or behaviour. Formally, attitude is defined as “a learned predisposition to response in a consistently favourable or unfavourable manner with respect to a given object” (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975, p. 6). Consumers learn these attitudes over time by being exposed to the object directly, by experiencing, or through receiving information about the object through advertising for example. Our learned attitudes serve as general guides to our overt behaviour with respect to the attitude object, giving rise to a consistently favourable or unfavourable pattern of response. An attitude is a permanent combination of emotion, motivation, perceptual and cognitive processes in relation to an aspect our environment. An attitude is the way we think and feel about and act towards some aspect of our environment such as a retail store, a television program or a product. Thus an attitude can be summarised as an overall evaluation. (Neal, Quester, Hawkins 2006, p.333)
There are three main attitude components, these being cognitive, for example beliefs, affective, also known as feelings and behavioural component, which are our response tendencies. The cognitive aspect of an attitude consists of a consumer’s beliefs and knowledge about the object in question. An important thing to remember