Introduction

Consumer behavior is a study that identifies with how, why, when and where individuals purchase or not purchase products and services. There are numerous factors that influence the purchasing pattern of individuals. There are a number of elements that alter the consumer behavior in a positive or a negative pattern. They are sociology, economics, social anthropology and psychology. Consumer behavior is profoundly influenced by the consumer learning processes and the self image. This defines the consumer’s decision making process. People have been identified to act as individuals or in groups. Demographics is a study that relates to the individual consumers. There are various variables that shape the consumer patterns relating to buyer, user and payer (Hoyer & Macinnis, 2009).

There are a number of marketing stimulants that trigger individuals; these are: product brand, place, price and promotion.  Environmental stimulants that influence the consumer patterns are: political effects, natural effects, technological effects, demographic effects, economic effects and cultural effects. All these factors subject the consumer to peculiar characteristics that identify with attitudes, knowledge, perceptions, motivation, lifestyle and the personality status. Stimulants influence the decision process displayed by the consumer. The decision making in the consumers is influenced by alternative evaluation, post purchase behavior, problem recognition, and purchase decision and information search. The responses displayed by the purchaser revolve on purchase amount, product choice, purchase timing, brand choice and dealer choice.

There is a close relationship between stimuli and the consumer behavior pattern. This is closely related to learning and memory. Slogans repeated are etched in the consumers’ minds enabling continuous consumption of the products and services. A research done on dogs by Pavlov indicated that dogs responded to a bell by salivation, after a learning process of identifying the bell with meat powder. In the same way, consumers identify the brand name with the products creating a need. This is the reason behind companies protecting the brand image at all costs. The brands are etched in the consumer memory demanding loyalty. This explains the cognitive learning theory. Self is critical in the consumer behavior. Self identifies with the attitudes and beliefs of oneself. People have the notion that the world is watching over them, this, in turn, influences the consumer pattern. Self is best defined by the self product congruence theory and the symbolic self-completion theory (Hawkins et al, 2010).  Self is greatly influenced by individual levels, family levels, community levels and group levels. This paper considers American Express credit cards, Coca-Cola soft drinks, Facebook/Twitter social networks, Virgin Airlines, Amazon Books, Blackberry mobile phones, Google Search Engine, Aspirin painkillers and Dettol antiseptics.

Learning Process

American Express credit card is a product that is addictive in nature. Credit cards are related with huge spending which is commonly known to be impulse buying. When I have cash, I rarely misuse it. The brand image of American Express is strategically placed at the retail and wholesale outlets. Once I see the brand, my mind triggers spending (Deaton & Muellbauer, 1980). American Express Company urges people not to leave their credit cards at home. This is because the company’s brand is well identified with spending. People have learned to relate American Express card with spending. Consumers fail to control their spending while using the American Express credit cards.

Coca-Cola soft drinks brand is identified with soft drinks and thirst. The company has tacitly defined its product as satisfying the thirst. No wonder, I have learned to relate thirst with Coca-Cola soda. It has been etched in my mind to a point that after a meal in a hotel, it is almost one hundred percent that I will consume a Coca-Cola drink. The Coca-Cola brands are placed in soft drinks departments in outlets and in restaurants. This product is easily available at the next retail outlet. This makes the product to be a choice of many people. People have learned to relate thirst with Coca-Cola. There are numerous adverts in the prints and in television and radio that constantly remind consumers about their feeling of thirst. The company is endeavoured to meet the beverage needs of the consumers every day.

Facebook/Twitter has taken me with surprise. Mention of social networking platforms and the next thing that comes into my mind is Facebook and Twitter. I know there are other social networking platforms like the Google plus, but the Facebook brand and the Twitter brand have been identified with the online communications. Facebook and Twitter has managed to connect people with friends and have extended the services to work programs (Twitter.com, 2012). Facebook has become a platform where news is passed from one individual to another. It is estimated that the majority of the people in the world are using Facebook and Twitter as a communication tool.

Virgin Airlines are critical in my travel schedules. Every time I organize a trip, my mind is triggered with the brand name of Virgin Airlines. I believe that the airline offers the best services which are cheap, reliable and timely. The company has launched flying clubs for people who fly frequently. This has made me glued to the Virgin Atlantic considering the benefits I get. Virgin Atlantic has other enticing services like Virgin holidays and Virgin Atlantic credit cards. Long distance travels resonate with Virgin Atlantic for me. The Virgin brand is in my memory considering that I get satisfied with the services.

Amazon Books are critical for my readings. I like reading books, every time I go online to search for a book. I find myself attached to Amazon books. Amazon books have a wide variety of books online at competitive prices. I have learned to relate books with Amazon. Each and every time I see the Amazon brand, I reflect on books and, at times, I do impulsive buying. There are new and used books (Amazon, 2012). The books are in different formats to suit the needs of consumers.

Blackberry mobile phones have a cutting edge in the market. The phones are developed to suit the needs of consumers with numerous applications in place, incorporating the latest technology in the mobile phones. Blackberry has found a loyal customer. I find myself purchasing Blackberry phones over years. The product is customized to my needs. This makes customers return for more phones due to increased efficiencies. I like the black color and the new shape that fits into my hand making it easy to handle. The integrated emailing system in Blackberry enables me to communicate in an easier manner (Marieke, 2010). Blackberry has a wide variety of choices that makes me come back for the product. I‘ve learned to relate phones with Blackberry Smartphone.

Google Search Engine is the most frequently used search engine in the world. There are a number of search engines in the market offering the same services, but Google takes the lead. Mention search engine, and what comes in my mind is Google. This translates to numerous other internet users. Google has captured the mind of people and etched search engine optimization with Google.  It is very easy to use Google as a first time user. It is worth stating that my first encounter with internet was learning how to use Google. Since then, Google has been with me day in day out.

Aspirin painkillers are readily available in the shops and chemists. Every time I have mild or moderate pains in my body like headaches, which is a common phenomenon, I think of Aspirin only. The brand is clearly fixed in my mind. I identify pain with Aspirin. I have known Aspirin since I was a child. I have come to trust the product, since it satisfies my needs of relieving short term pains like headache and backaches. The mentioning of painkillers brings the image of aspirin in my mind.

Dettol antiseptics products are well known in cleaning and protecting against germs. The product has been in the market for many decades. Every time I have a cut, insect bite, scratch and a bath, my mind lingers with Dettol. I have come to trust the product in protection against the germs. Dettol is light yellow in colour and produces a white cloudy solution in water. Dettol soap has been in my bath tab for many tears. The product is readily available to the market, maintaining consistency. Dettol has been involved in charity work, especially one concerning the children. This aspect encourages me to a point that I continue using the Dettol products to support the charity work. This has enabled the company to sell significant products. I resonates charity work and germs protection with Dettol antiseptics.

Self-image

American Express credit cards represent the self image of the individuals. People spend more money while using the credit cards in proving that they have funds in their accounts. I’m one of the culprits in protecting my image. I find myself picking a lot of things from the supermarket shelves ending up in impulse buying. Credit cards have been associated with people overspending. Shoppers compete who will pick most items from the shelves of the retail outlets. In the process, people pick expensive items that they do not need. There have been calls by the finance analysts urging people to take charge of their spending. The commercials have indicated a wallet portraying a sad face (Solomon et al, 2010).

Coca-Cola soft drinks consumption is driven by jovial mood. The commercial advertisements indicate people during their happy times. This is the reason Coca-Cola products are common in meetings, parties and other social gatherings. People want to associate Coca-Cola with happy moments, as the jovial mood is identified with Coca-Cola products. The Coca-Cola Company has gone further to introducing mineral water products in the market. This is for individuals who like consuming water in public. It represents a classy touch. This is particularly common with the youths. The mineral water is identified with the class of people with some finances.

Facebook/Twitter is identified with the .com generations. People are proving that they are aware of the technological advancements by joining Facebook and Twitter. The platforms have enabled friends to reunite and have created significant job opportunities to the populations in the world. Facebook and Twitter are vital communication tools that have enabled current affairs to be passed on from one person to another in real-time. People are purchasing classy phones so that they can access internet services. It is worth noting that Facebook and Twitter have enabled people from different groups to form and share similar incentives. Facebook and Twitter are identified with my emotional attachment. The platforms have enabled me to express my feelings about people and things. This keeps Facebook and Twitter bonding many people in search of solace.  

Virgin Airlines has a classy feel. When people see or hear that I use Virgin Airlines, they tend to be perplexed. This is in line with the fact that Virgin Atlantic has been identified with wealthy people. I do not have that much funds, but I like being associated with the company and its products. The incentives they provide include caps and T-shirts, I like wearing them in social gatherings to distinguish my feelings from other people, and be identified with the prestigious airlines. Virgin Atlantic targets a specific group of people in the society.

I have feelings that Amazon Books are the best online books in the market. I find myself pushed to buying more and more books in line to the different formats of their products. There are audio, soft copies, hard copies among other formats. Most of the books from Amazon are made from recycled papers. They help a lot in conservation of our environment. I like Amazon books in line to environment conservation (Amazon, 2012). I feel identified with the right group that has the same feelings like I do. This pushes me to buy Amazon books now and then. There are cheaper books in the market; however, I believe that cheap is always expensive in one way or another.

Blackberry mobile phones are identified with people who value the technological advancements in the mobile telephony. I’m one of the individuals who like new things; this is the reason behind my choice of Blackberry. While I’m at the social gatherings, I like putting by Blackberry phone on top of the table so that people can recognize the kind of person I am. Blackberry phones are relatively expensive, a fact that makes people choose other phone models. Blackberry is in my taste and my top choice. I like the reliability and the personalization of the Blackberry mobile phones, which makes me feel that the product was designed specifically for me.

Google Search Engine has the fastest and personified search options. Google has translated its services into different languages making it user friendly across the globe. I like diversifications. This is the reason I identify myself with Google search engine. This has led me in being a regular user of the Gmail which is a platform that enables people to use email services. The diversifications in Google Search are based in Google Plus, Gtalk, Google Trader, Google Voice services among other technological services.

Aspirin painkillers are the best in relieving mild pain. The product is readily available at the next outlet in every homestead or workplace. I like the product in that it relieves pain in seconds and the tablets are small enough to be swallowed with ease. Headache is occasional to people, especially when they are subjected to stressful conditions. Sporting activities like football also cause headaches (Lamb, 2011). I’m a person who likes playing soccer. Headaches are some of the side effects in the football arenas. This makes me buy aspirin and keep it in my bag for the consumption after the soccer in case I have headache.

Dettol antiseptics are common products in every homestead that has children. Children, especially boys, will always get mischievous and get hurt or handle dirty environments. Dettol antiseptics are trusted by people to protect them from germs. I use Dettol soap, because I believe I’m protected from skin disorders that might be caused by germs. I like football. My bag never lacks Dettol antiseptic. I may get hurt in the process of playing soccer and Dettol antiseptic protects my wounds from germs.

Conclusion

Consumer behavior is complex and difficult to predict. It is worth noting that people have different objections and thinking patterns. Relationship marketing is critically involved with customer behavior analysis. Businesses put emphasis on the retention of the existing consumer base and try to woo new customers. This is not an easy task considering that consumer relationship is crucial. Personalization, one to one marketing strategy and customization of products and services is a tool that is being applied by businesses to attract substantial number of customers. It’s important for the companies to identify the critical role of ‘learning’ and ‘self’ which influence the consumer patterns. There are products that people respond involuntarily to by purchasing them. Taking an example of diapers, most people believe that Pampers is the general name for diapers which is not true. The Pampers brand name has been engraved in the minds of people to a point that people think of diapers and involuntarily relate those with pampers.

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