Ever wondered why you or people around
you drink coffee every morning ? Choices
and behaviour related to consumption and
purchasing are influenced by a large
number of factors. We can classify these
factors in four broad categories; these
are: cultural factors, psychological
factors, social factors and personal
factors. Let's go through them one-by-one
and see what they can tell us about our
behaviour as consumers. Under the cultural
factors category, we can include culture,
subcultures and the socio class system.
Geert Hofstede defines culture as "the
collective programming of the mind that
distinguishes the members of one group
or category of people from others".
Culture is a set of beliefs values and
practices that are shared by most people
within a relatively large group. Culture
is passed on from one group member to
another; from one generation to the next.
It is learned and can change through time,
although such changes tend to be slow.
Subcultures refer to a set of beliefs
shared by a subgroup of the main culture.
This could include nationalities
religions and geographic regions.
Subcultures make up important market
segments and often products and marketing
activities are tailored to their needs.
The social class system refers to an
ordered division in the society, where
people are grouped into a set of
hierarchical social categories, the most
common being: the upper, middle and lower
classes. Social class is measured as a
combination of various factors such as
income, occupation, education, authority.
property. lifestyles. consumption etc
Under the psychological factors we can
include aspects on motivation, perception,
and attitudes. A motive is a need that
urges a person to act. Here the
distinction we have made in a previous
video between physiological and
psychological needs is relevant. Maslow's
hierarchy of needs may also be applied
here. Perception refers to the selection
organization and interpretation of
information in a way that produces a
meaningful experience of the world. In
general we tend to focus on certain
information from our environment, while
actively blocking or modifying messages
that conflict with our values and
attitudes. Beliefs and attitudes we hold
as consumers will affect the way we
interpret information and the way we act.
Behavior also has a learning dimension
which highlights the importance of past
experience. Individuals are not born
consumers; they learn to become consumers,
they develop purchase behaviour patterns
which can involve through time. The
social context is also important; our
behavior patterns, likes and dislikes are
influenced to a great extent by the
people around us. Under this category we
can include reference groups, family,
roles and status. We always seek
confirmation from the people around us
and seldom do things that are not
socially acceptable. A reference group
is a formal or informal group of people
with whom an individual associates.
This could include peer groups,
membership clubs and organizations.
Family is another important factor
influencing an individual's behavior.
The person's position in
a group can be defined in terms of roles
and status. A role points out the
activities that the person is expected
to perform. Each role relates to a
certain status. People choose products that communicate
their role and status in society. In the
personal factors category we can include
more personal characteristics of an
individual such as age, life-cycle stage,
occupation, economic circumstances,
lifestyle, personality traits and self-concept.
One way to understand how
all these factors connect with each
other is by considering the individual
and his or her environment (that is a
context context within which this
consumer is situated). We can then
distinguish between the personal
characteristics of a particular consumer
their immediate social environment which
could include aspects such as family
peers and significant others and the
wider social context which would include
social norms culture other social and
economic conditions. Finally, sometimes
situational factors may also affect our
purchasing decisions, for example a
crowded shop or a busy call center.
which of these factors influenced you the most
when considering a morning coffee?