Chapter 8- Problem Recognition and Information Search
The perceieved diference between an actual and ideal state
Ideal state- the way we want things to be
Actual state- the way things actually are
Problem recognition occurs if consumers become aware of a discrepancy
between the actual state and the ideal state.
Problem recognition relates to consumption and disposition as well as to
Consumers can recognize problems
The Ideal State: Where we want to be
We consider certain things; how clean our house should be, how we should
look in certain clothes,
The ideal state can be a function of our own goals or aspirations
Both of these are stimulated by our own personal motivations- what we want
to be based on our self image, and by aspects of our own culture
Society, reference groups can play a critical role
Major changes in personal circumstances can instigate new ideal states
o i.e. getting a new promotion can instigate new ideal states
The Actual State: Where we are now
Physical factors often affect this; running out of a product, having a product
malfunction or become obsolete, or unexpectedly needing a service.
External stimuli also affect this; if someone tells you its mothers day next
week; you might realize you have not bought a card or a present as of yet.
Internal Search: Searching for Information from Memory
Internal search: the process of recalling stored information from memory
This is the next step after problem recognition has been stimulated
Consumers are likely to recall only a small subset of stored information when
they engage in internal search
How much do we engage in internal search?
These can vary form recalling only a brand name to more extensive searches
through memory for relevant experience, feelings, and information
MAO to process information is correlated to how much effort consumers
devote to internal search
Consumers will attempt to recall more information when felt involvement,
perceived risk, or the need for cognition is high.
Active internal search occurs only if the information is stored in memory.
Consumers with a greater degree of knowledge and experience have a
greater ability to search internally. What kinds of information is retrieved form internal search
Much of the research on the rols of internal search in consumer judgment
and decision-making has focused on what is recalled.
Recall of Brands
Consumers tend to recall a subset of two to eight brands known as
consideration or evoked set (the subset of top-of-mind brands evaluated
when making a choice)
Studies indicate that consideration sets vary in terms of their size, stability,
variety, and preference dispersion (the equality of preference towards or
brands in the products in the set)
Companies should enhance their products linkage with an occasion or
situation familiar to consumers
Research states that brands that are recalled are more likely to be chosen.
However, a brand simply being recalled doesnt not guarantee that it will be
in a consumers consideration set because consumers can recall a number of
brands and then reject undesirable alternatives.
Thus, if consumers cannot recall brands from memory to form a
consideration set, the set will tend to be determined by external factors such
as the availability of products on the shelf or the suggestions of salespeople.
Researchers have looked at the following factors that increase the possibility
of consumers recalling a particular brand during internal search and
including that brand in their consideration set
Brands that are closest to the prototype or that most resemble
other category members
o Brand familiarity
Well known brands are easily recalled
o Goals and usage situations
i.e. drinks to bring to the beach, drinks to take to a soccer game
marketers can therefore attempt to associate products with
certain goals and usage situations
o Brand preference
Brands toward which the consumer has positive attitudes tend
to be recalled more easily and tend to be included in the
consideration set more often than brands that evoke negative
o Retrieval cues
By strongly associating the brand with a retrieval cue,
marketers can increase the chance that the brand will be
include in the consumers considerations set.Recall of Attributes
The attribute information we recall tends to be in summary or simplified
form rather than in its original detail.
Consumers can often recall some details when they engage in internal search,
and the recalled attribute information can strongly influence their brand
The following factors influence the recall of attribute information in the
information search and decision-making processes:
o Accessibility or availability
Information that is more accessible or available- having the
strongest associative links- is the most likely to be recalled and
entered into the decision process.
Information that is perceived as being easy to recall is also
more likely to be accessible
o Diagnosticity Diagnostic Information- That which helps us
discriminate among objects
If all brands of computers are the same price, then price is not
diagnostic, if prices vary; consumers can distinguish amongst
them, so then it IS diagnostic.
If accessible information is not diagnostic, it is less likely to be
Negative information tends to be more diagnostic than positive