When you head to the grocery store to pick up a product such as cereal, do you purchase the same one each and every time or, like many consumers, are you comparing and contemplating about which one to grab?
When presented with a large range of choices to fulfill a need, it is in human nature to become confused, thus the inability to quickly make a choice. When we spend too much time comparing the plethora of options we are presented with, the functional differences between each of them soon become blurry. Once the functional differences lose importance, the peripheral aspects take precedence. This means that whichever product’s ad, spokesperson, or packaging color stands out favorably in our minds will most likely influence our product purchase.
What does this signify for those responsible for branding and communications for such low-involvement products?
The peripheral aspects must stand out for products in categories where the number of substitutes is vast enough to cause customer confusion close to the point of purchase. Axe, a brand of male grooming products owned by the British/Dutch company Unilever is a good example of this.
Their marketing messages are well known and hold a great amount of recall. They are likely to be quite popular in the deodorant and body spray isle where men are faced with more brands than they can count. The functional superiority or inferiority takes a back seat in such a situation.
Those factors differ for high-involvement goods, such as in cars, watches and so on, where the customer is not likely to make a grab-and-go purchase. In these cases, functionality, brand values and associations begin to play a key role.
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