My family recently purchased a Toyota Prius. This is a magnificent car which has a positive effect on the environment. The Toyota Prius runs on both petrol and electricity thus saving both money and the rapidly decreasing ozone layer. My family has always been environmental conscious and this was an important decision considering the current state of the environment and global warming. Not only was there much research put into this purchase but there are also incentives in places such as Westminster City where Eco-cars receive FREE parking permits (“Free Parking”).
Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel have been working together for many years to determine the consumer decision making process.
Together they have created many models and completed much research to support their theories of consumer behavior. Using the Blackwell, Miniard and Engel decision-making model I will show how my family came to the decision of the purchase. There are many steps that one goes through before making an important decision such as a purchase of a new car.
Reviewing these steps in sequence and having an inside look of the though that went into each step will help establish the process of consumer behavior.
Beginning with stimuli, we will review the exposure, attention, comprehension, and retention stage that occurred to cause the thought of this purchase to hold steadfast in the memory, then moving on to need recognition, environmental influences, individual differences influencing the purchase decision, we will see what cause the purchase to became complete, and what happens thereafter with satisfaction/dissatisfaction and divestment stages of the consumer process.
Stimuli: Product Exposure
What better stimuli for a new product are available to the consumer than media exposure? There has been a lot media exposure to global warming and the effects green house gases on having on the ozone layer. There have also been many celebrities choosing to go green and help save the world. Stars Penelope Cruz and Leonardo DiCaprio hosted a Pre-Oscar green party to show their support of electric cars. They, along with several other celebrities, opted to drive themselves to the Oscars in their new electric cars.
The point was clear; everyone needs to take steps to prevent global warming (and you should hurry up and jump on the band wagon celebrities are giving up limo rides!). The Pre-Oscar green party is was a genius idea as the Oscars are huge and people from all over the world partake in the nights events. The marketing behind such an event draws attention to the eco friendly cause and covers all of the beginning stages of the Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel decision making model; exposure, attention, comprehension, acceptance, and retention.
Of course these five characteristics contribute to memory and that is where the consumer behavior process begins. My parents had already decided that it was time to purchase a new car. Need recognition was already determined. But at this point they were just beginning to take a look around. The genius of the marketing ploy/awareness campaign for Eco-friendly cars stayed with my parents as they began to make some decisions about their new car purchase and once again reinforced to memory the importance of eco-friendly vehicles.
Eco-friendly cars are a hot topic and many friends of my parent’s had also started to think about or start purchasing green cars over the last year. Now with the price of petrol constantly on the rise how could you not consider it? The influences of friends have always helped my family move along and make a final decision. In this case all of my parents’ friends were considering taking a step towards a cleaner environment or at least taking a step to stay trendy and up to date with the current issues concerning the world. Of course this is a tough cause to turn your back on as many people are adamant and taking firm stand to lower the rate fossil fuel is burned.
With this heavy exposure to both the cause and the solution my family chose to reevaluate the current car situation and see if it was time for an upgrade which would be the need recognition stage of the model. After a quick internet search on the status of the ozone and the effect of fossil fuels on the greenhouse gases my father discovered; the effects of global warming are being felt worldwide. “Global warming and the melting of polar ice cover is predicted to raise ocean levels worldwide, directly impacting on island nations who plead most strongly for restraint of fossil fuel consumption by industrialized nations” (Mayer).
Some alternative fuel methods have been tried and found to be very successful. “Another strategy for reducing fossil fuel emissions from vehicles is to shift to alternate fueled vehicles. Various choices include electric, natural gas, methane, and fuel cell vehicles” (Mayer).
He decided it was time to step in and help the cause. During the pre purchase evaluation my father decided it was time to upgrade the vehicle and began an internet search to find out everything he could about the Toyota Prius, and other green cars including the Volkswagen Touran, the Peugeot 407, and the Honda Accord. He learned everything possible about each car including the gas mileage, cost, efficiency. He read consumer reports, company reports, and online reviews and eventually evaluated the positives and negatives of each car.
Personality, Values, Lifestyle Choices permit Consumer Buying
My parent’s liberal nature permitted personality, values, and lifestyle choices to properly fall into place with the purchase. For years my organic food was the only thing available in my house and my parents have supported many environmental causes. After the Oscars my father’s motivation to purchase a green car increase ten hold and he begun his thorough investigation. The individual differences of the cars and manufactures had much to do with my family’s purchase of the Prius.
The internet provided all the consumer resources my parent’s needed to come to a narrowed the decision down to either the Toyota Prius or the Volkswagen Touran. The next step was for my parents to go and see both cars. They met with salespeople; test drove each car, learned how much fuel each car consumed per kilometer, and investigated the electric components of the car. Although comparable in design, boot space, and kilometers to the liter, my parents both choose the Prius and after much research were happy to take it home.
My parents are very happy with this vehicle at home. Consumer consumption is a concept that can be defined as “a mean’s of producing one’s self and self-image” (Arnould & Price, 2000, p. 141). The image my parent’s are trying to produce is one of a trendy and environmentally aware people. The Toyota Prius definitely portrays this image. In terms of satisfaction this may be the best purchase my parents have every made. They are more than happy to show it off and tell all of the perks and special features to anyone who cares to listen. In retrospect if Toyota ever needs spokes person for the Prius they should definitely consider my parents.
At this time divestment is not a concept that is considered with this purchase. The social value alone has causes an investment in the environment which is never a lost cause. Friends and neighbors are impressed and this is important to my parents.
My parents played out each step of the decision making process in almost the exact layout of the model provided by Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel. Beginning with stimuli, we will review the exposure, attention, comprehension, and retention stage that occurred to cause the thought of this purchase to hold steadfast in the memory, then moving on to need recognition, environmental influences, individual differences influencing the purchase decision, we will see what cause the purchase to became complete, and what happens thereafter with satisfaction/dissatisfaction and divestment stages of the consumer process. Overall this has been an interesting investigation into the thought process behind such a purchase for our family. Consumers as a whole have a difficult time choosing environmental friendly products
“Until (recently), industrialization had enjoyed an extraordinary and almost continuous success–except for occasional wars. Technological development and its products were widely accepted. Standards of living, prosperity, and welfare were and are closely tied to the successes of industrial society. Energy, particularly in the form of fossil fuels, has been and continues to be essential to an advanced, industrial society. The enterprises and authorities involved in energy production and supply–and the decision making and planning relating to them–enjoyed respect and support. They had well established legitimacy.
An ample supply of energy was seen as crucial for industrial development and for providing important ingredients to everyday comforts and welfare. Since the “golden age of energy” came to an end (around 1970), there have occurred significant changes in our consciousness, in our policies, and to some extent in our practices. In part, this is reflected in the results of energy research. In response to the energy problem, policymakers and planners have tried–and continue to try–a variety of strategies: Attempts to reduce energy consumption, save energy, and increase energy efficiency” (Monnier et al., 1986, p. 54).
These are issues that need to be clear in every consumers thought process. I applaud the thoughtful efforts of celebrities, manufacturers, countries, and individual states that support the cause and try to encourage consumers to be conscious about their buying decisions. It is important to consider the consequences of all of our actions and this includes our action when we purchase a new product.
Arnould, E. J., & Price, L. L. (2000). 8 Authenticating Acts and Authoritative Performances. In The Why of Consumption: Contemporary Perspectives on Consumer Motives, Goals and Desires, Ratneshwar, S., Mick, D. G., & Huffman, C. (Eds.) (pp. 140-163). London: Routledge.
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Mayer, Donald O. “Corporate Governance in the Cause of Peace: An Environmental Perspective.” Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 35.2 (2002): 585+. Questia. 21 Mar. 2007 <http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5000766056>.
“Free Parking Permits for Eco-Cars.” BBC News 15 Mar. 2007. 21 Mar. 2007 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/6453367.stm>.