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Consumer behaviour is the set of actions undertaken by a shopper in a given market place. There is a huge link between personality and consumer behaviour (Leung and Bozionelos, 2004). It is the specific personality of shopper that has profound effects on their behaviour, branding decisions while he or she does shopping (Hansen and Christensen, 2003). Hence, there is a need to take care of the possible influences that affect the success of purchase decision made by any consumer. The present report provides a critical literature review towards developing a solid understanding of personality traits possessed by consumers and how they have an impact on the buying decision. Along with this various concepts of branding would also be critically evaluated so as to determine the best ways in which companies can merchandise their product and service offering (Keller, 2008).
What are the major branding influences on consumer’s personality? What are the key influences of branding on consumer buying behavior? The objective involves the analysis of the key influences of branding on consumer personality and their buying behaviour. Consumer behavior is those actions undertaken by shopper when they go to the market with an aim to buy a variety of goods and services. The given literate review is a critical evaluation of various concepts pertaining to consumer buying behavior and there linked with personality traits and concepts of branding.
Whenever a consumer goes to buy a particular product or service in the market he has to choose from a wide number of alternatives that are available in front of him or her (Ravens and Nigel, 2003). Most of the marketers have focussed on the given concept and tried to develop the strategies on basis of link between personality and consumer purchasing behavior (Magrath and McCormick, 2013). This is the major reason behind the development of brand personalities which help them to see the best prospects for purchasing a product. For example, dove brand represents honest and feminine touch which makes it a hit among females. But the problem is that most of the firms lack brand personality. This creates issues as buyers do not care about what role is played by the products offered by company in their life. Hence some of the brands are ignored if no practical value is found from them. Thus, there should be a clear depiction of brand personality via celebrity endorsements to foster towards an increased buying behavior (Personality and Related Characteristics Affecting Consumer Buying Behavior, 2013).
The trait theory given by Gordon Allport, 2007 suggests that individual personalities are composed of broad dispositions. It is the interaction between different traits that forms a personality and is unique to every individual (Allport, 2007). There have been times when for example, a person who is wealthy and highly successful and having a preference for high speed may buy Porsche as compared to Ford (Silva and Alwi, 2006). This shows that personality does have a major part to affect the buying behaviour of individuals. But on another note, according to many authors the theory fails to establish that atmospheric factor also play a role to decide buying behaviour (Papadatos, 2006). Consumer buying is all about understanding the mechanism that drives a person to make a purchase. For example, when a person goes to buy a particular product in the market, he may not behave in the same manner in every situation (Leif and HemNina, 2004). An introvert individual on being dissatisfied with a particular product may show an aggressive nature. Hence the trait theory does play a key role to describe the persons but it can never understand them (Trait theory of personality, 2013).
Another approach known as big five model of trait personality, represents that all personality characters are a result of five common traits. All other features of personality are derived from the same (Hunt and Johns, 2013). Hence consumer buying behaviour revolves around the give set of traits. For example, consumer showing feature of openness in high levels are most likely to respond to advertising which are violent and involve a heavy usage of graphic (Lefa, 2008). Hence an individual with open personality traits is likely to get attracted by the advertisements thereby fostering a process of positive buying behaviour. But according to many critics, the five factor personality model may not play a role when consumers show an impulsive buying behaviour in case of lottery tickets and scratch cards (Degrauwe, Brengman, Wauters and Rossi, 2013). It was found that extraversion personality trait was positively linked and intellect trait was negatively associated with compulsive buying behaviour (Leung and Bozionelos, 2004).
Different brands have been found to increase or decrease the consumer buying behaviour. According to Tunis and Nnis, 2011, “branding is considered to be a collection of activities that convey a particular message and influence the purchasing behaviour of consumers” (Tonnis and Nnis, 2011). For example, Porsche brand image is linked with excellence, reliability, sporty styling, high speed and high prices on the part of the owner. Hence, branding does provide an identity to a particular product and at times elicit a positive consumer response from buyer (Herrera, 2007). However, if the consumer feels that alternative product with no brand is better in terms of quality and pricing then he may buy the other product as compared to the branded entity. But there are times like economic recession when branding may lose its meaning and people may start buying a particular product, like car to satisfy their needs of transport as compared to getting attracted by its identity (Tuttle, 2012). Brand equity encompasses the elements of loyalty, functionality and brand image. They play a significant role to have a positive impact on brand equity. However, it is required that the companies must focus on quality of product as well as service offering also for inducing positive response from consumers.
According to Edward Russell, 2009, “a consumer seldom prefers unknown names or those with less information. Moreover, brand names are also found to be linked with good quality and higher cost” (Russell, 2009). But the concept lose acceptance during great recession when consumers were eager to save bucks and thus moved towards cheaper brands or no name brands (Tuttle, 2012). This concept is also not applicable to goods of daily use and of low costs (Lovelock and Gummesson, 2004). For example, brand names are not important while buying matchsticks, staples like sugar, salt, flour, bleach and many other items (Lamb, Hair, Mc Daniel, 2010).
Branding has founded out to have a great influence during consumer buying behavior. This can clearly be represented by the stages involved in the consumer buying process.
Information search – Companies have been found to send out messages via advertising and word of mouth for luring the consumers to buy their goods and services (Lin, 2010). But advertising can play a role in fulfilling demand, not creating it. For example, no amount of advertising will create demand for fifth quart of milk if a family consumes only four quarts per week (Fou, 2009).
Alternatives evaluation – This stage involves where consumers get a chance to choose from a set of alternatives. They mostly keep in mind that alternative that is perceived by them to be belonging to the best brand. While purchasing they tend to buy those brands that have provided for a positive experience in previous situations (Yolles, 2009).
Post Purchase – This is the step where communication stops and there is visualization about genuineness shown by the company. This leads to the development of a brand loyalty. However, if a company is unable to provide after sales service then the same consumer may move to other brand and also generate negative word of mouth publicity. (Quiston, 2004). This concept of branding and its influence on consumer behavior are found to be true for those items that are very closely related and require no compromise with quality. (Herseil and Gamliel, 2006). These are inclusive of beauty products as well as goods of high net worth etc. (Keller, 2006). But the same concepts may not hold true when consumers come to buy items of grocery which are required for daily use and where prices, availability low and ease of use plays a key role. The concept does not apply when there is non-availability of a particular brand and consumer feels and urgent need to use a product or service offering (Louis and Lombart, 2010).
Consumer buying behaviour is influenced by a number of processes and is dependent on personality traits exhibited by an individual. The varied concepts of branding also apply to consumer behaviour (Arora and Stoner, 2009). Hence there are various market implications of these concepts which would help companies to decide on their strategies for influencing the consumers. Branding plays a key role in goods of high net worth and those which are not bought on a frequent basis (Marken, 2003). However, this may not apply to vegetables, fruits, sugar and salt etc. Here it is the quality; pricing, freshness and availability which are dominant to influence the buying behaviour of consumers. Hence companies selling these goods should focus on availability and freshness of product. They should also target the shoppers in the same manner for generating a positive buying experience (Anderson, 2011). In the same manner, many trait theories have been given on a individuality which states that there are some personality traits that play a dominant role in influencing the consumer behaviour (Koufaris, 2003). For example, a wealthy person having a likeness for speed would purchase Porsche. Porsche represents a brand image of high worth (Leung and Bozionelos, 2004). According to Sharma, 2011, “this buying tendency may not hold true in times of economic recession or similar situations”. (Sharma, 2011). Here the market implication is that companies making products keeping in mind the personality of consumers must also take care of the current situations involve so as causing a positive buying behaviour of individuals (Schiffman, 2005).
Various knowledge gaps in the present critical literature review have been identified by the researcher. Most of the literary works have focussed on the detailed concepts related to brand personality, equity and different personality types of consumers. Several gaps have been identified with respect to understanding of current consumer needs, factors behind consumer buying behaviour in different situations, level of effectiveness in knowledge provision. There have also been differing levels with respect to efficiency of providing information to clients for inducing a positive buying behaviour. Consequently, there is a presence of little basis other than the researcher's own experience as well as works made by some authors for developing the understanding of consumer behavior in different contexts (Quiston, 2004).
After performing a thorough critical literature review on various dimensions of consumer behaviour, models on personality traits as well as concepts of branding. It can be concluded that consumer buying behaviour is affected by differences in traits possessed by individual personalities (Arslan and Altuna, 2010). Along with this branding also helps to generate a positive influence from consumers. But it would be incorrect to universalize the concept in all situations. Different environmental factor has diverse influences on the buying behaviour exhibited by individuals (Hatch and Schultz, 2003). All the situations must be analyzed carefully. There is a need on part of marketers to undertake thorough research of consumers. It is only after identifying their needs as well as focussing on what adds to differences in buying patterns, there can be fulfilment of buyer requirement in a positive manner. Establishment of a central body can work no improving the linkages between informal and intermediary information providers. This will aid in providing research on consumer behavior to ensure the effectiveness of processes.
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