A mammoth challenge faces modern markets in the contemporary business world in the quest to convince the consumer market to buy their products. This has led to a booming advertising industry. Numerous strategies have been deployed by this industry to win the consumers in accepting a particular product. Efforts have been made by companies to keep at par with the latest advertising dynamics. The challenge becomes bigger if the brand been advertised has multi-cultural market consumption. This is because branding involves the choice of colors, sounds and scents that are not universal to all the cultures. The sole goal of every marketer is to achieve loyalty of consumers for its product or brand. This involves developing an emotional attachment to the brand by appealing to the five senses of the human beings. This process, however, derailed by several factors as discussed in this paper. Possible remedies to such factors will also be highlighted later in the paper.
The process of creating consumer loyalty to a particular product or brand is a complex process. It entails coming up with a brand that is adaptable, transferable and protectable. In order to achieve this, marketers make use of elements that will live long-lasting effects to the consumer to make them link to the products easily. Key among the factors that marketers consider in designing a product is color. This is because it has different sociological connotations across cultures and if used inconsiderately may result to low sales. The other factor is numbers. There are marketers who like to sell their products in specific groups like in pairs or fours. Just like colors, numerology is very important in marketing because different numbers have different associations in different cultures. This calls for informed decisions in designing advertisements for brands. This will in turn affect how the consumers perceive such products and consequently their decisions to buy them or not (Hellriegel, 2007).
Perception is the procedure in which people choose, put in order, deduce and react to information from the world around them. The information is gathered from the five senses of smell, sight, touch, taste and hearing. The perceptual process consists of six elements- objects in the person’s environment, observation, perceptual selection perceptual organization, interpretation and response. The perceptual process is, however, not altogether unmarred. It may lead to gross errors or distortions that may affect a consumption of a particular product (Scribid.com, 2011).
The most common types of perceptual distortion are stereotyping, projection, the halo effect, self-fulfilling prophecy and cross-cultural misperceptions. Stereotyping is a tendency to attribute characteristics to an individual based on the assessment of the group the individual belongs. In branding, it involves having a generalized perception about the brand being marketed or the consumers by either the buyer or the marketer. Stereotyping in the side of the marketer can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous (Ehret, 2008). If a second hand car dealer despises his work because the public assigns that notion to his job, this will lead to demoralization and fall in sales. On the other hand, a dealer of Lexus or Mercedes cars enjoys a ‘superior- quality’ stereotype from both the marker and the consumer and hence enhancing the sales. Stereotyping results to problems as the generalizations do not apply equally to all members of the group.
The halo effect is a tendency to use a general impression based on one or a few characteristics of an individual or product to judge other characteristics of that individual or product. This distortion is very common in marketing. For instance, a marketer may realize that a particular brand sold highly in a certain region or with a particular group. In an effort to expand the business, the producers of that company may market the brand in other regions expecting similar returns because they had succeeded earlier. This may lead to drastic fall inn sales if the consumers are comfortable with the product (Kardes et al., 2010).
Another perception inaccuracy is projection. This is an assumption that others share one’s thoughts, feelings and characteristics. This leads to a one-way communication. In the branding arena, this may be experienced if branders assume what is best for them suits the consumers. They end up projecting their preferences at the expense of those of the customers. If a customer’s taste is not prioritized, this has direct impact on the sales, as they will opt to other brands where they can get their desires honored.
The last perceptual distortion to be discussed in this paper is the self-fulfilling prophecy or the Pygmalion effect. This is the tendency to create or find in another situation or individual that which one expected to find. The Pygmalion effect may be caused by the distortions discussed above. Sometimes, consumers expect certain behaviors from other consumers. This may be regardless of whether these behaviors are actually occurring or not. This may affect their decisions to purchase a particular brand.
Having discussed the different perceptual distortions, it is evidently clear that these errors lead to misundersting a brand, which may affect its popularity in the consumer market. There are a number of remedies that may be used to curb this menace. To begin with, a marketer needs to gather information about the customers’ behaviors and attitudes before making decisions that are personal and which may not resonator with those of the customers. After gathering the information, the brander or marketer should draw informed conclusions from the observations in order to ensure they are valid (Scribid.com, 2011). This will aid in determining facts and assumptions to base the perceptions. It is also crucial to differentiate the various aspects of the individual consumers’ behavior instead of grouping the individuals on superficial grounds. Lastly, it would be paramount to identify one’s genuine feelings and ensure they do not project them to others especially with the branders.