This thesis springs from a wish to contribute further insight into the growing research field of consumer behaviour in marketing. The rational cognitive ontology of consumer behaviour is still dominant in marketing theory and research. This is demonstrated by the use of data collection methods such as focus groups and questionnaires to examine consumer preferences, Methods that focuses on conscious processing and in turn neglect non conscious emotions. But within the last couple of years, the cognitive view on consumer behaviour has been partially challenged by research results from the field brainscience and related fields of research. This has promoted the emergence of neuromarketing, even though the influence of this new paradigm is somewhat limited. Nonetheless, this paper owes some inspirational debt to this new branch in marketing. In this paper, I examine whether preferences for a company's brand has a non-conscious basis founded in emotions, and if so, how it can be measured in objective terms. Drawing upon research in non-conscious/subliminal processing and from alternative studies of consumer behaviour, I attempt to clarify what emotions are and how they influence the processing of company brands and facilitate development of specific preferences and behaviours among consumers. First, I argue that emotions fit into the field of marketing and the study of consumer behaviour. Next I define the term “emotion” and discus how it influences our choices. Then I examine how emotions and their influence on consumer behaviour can be measured. The focus here is especially directed towards measures that use priming in order to induce different stimuli and reactions. Results from research in brainscience are then included in order to validate the concepts “unconscious” and “emotion”. In the final part of the paper I argue that brands do indeed have an unconscious foundation that can be defined as emotional and that this can be measured and documented. In this paper it is done by practically applying the use of a subliminal affective priming paradigm in an empirical study. This method illustrates the possibility of describing a non-conscious element in brand processing by measuring the amount of time participants use to solve a simple secondary task. The result of the test shows a statistically significant difference in response time in congruent test rounds compared to incongruent test rounds; F = 11.4. Based on the results of the conducted research, a number of additional questions of interest to brand owners could be raised. For example, to what extent does an unconsciously activated brand preference guide real life consumer behaviour? And to what extent do unconscious experiences with brands affect post buying behavior?
|Educations||MSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||97|