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8…Relationship Between Attitudes and BehaviourAttitudes and behaviour
4 Scales and Measurement
4.9 Changing Attitudes
Changing customer attitudes, and changing them positively towards a company
and its products, is the most important activity of businesses across the world
today. Whenever sales of a product fall or market share declines, it becomes
imperative for marketers to identify ways and means to overcome the downturn.
Changing attitudes of stakeholders becomes the top priority in company’s development efforts. Companies can attempt to change the attitudes of customers (an
important stakeholder) towards a product in three ways:
• Altering existing beliefs about a product
• Changing attitudes by changing the importance of beliefs
• Adding new beliefs.
4.9.1 Altering Existing Beliefs About a Product
A marketer’s fundamental responsibility here is to convert the neutral or negative
belief that a customer holds about the product into a positive belief. For this, the
marketer may attempt to change consumer perceptions about the product or service. Several tactics can be used. For instance, petrol stations have long been
viewed as dusty, poorly lit places where weary petrol pump service personnel
dressed shabbily serve. This perception or belief has been entirely changed by
BPCL, which, by branding petroleum products and developing petrol stations into
shopping malls (like in Western countries) has changed existing beliefs about
petrol stations. BPCL’s strategy is discussed in Exhibit 4.4.
However, marketers need to understand that customer beliefs cannot be changed by advertising alone. Any change achieved cannot be sustained if there is no
tangible quality in the product to support advertising claims. Second, marketers
trying to change consumer beliefs should ensure that the change is incremental
rather than drastic. For example, an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at
changing traditional beliefs of a community may meet with customer resistance.
Therefore, the change process should be slow and preferably take the customer
through all the stages in the learning process.
Exhibit 4.4: Bharat Petroleum’s Efforts to Change Face
Petrol pumps in India have come a long way from being dusty, poorly lit places
manned by shabbily clothed and indifferent personnel, to the shopping malls of
the early twenty-first century. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), a
leading player in the Indian petroleum industry, has got wide acclaim for having
brought about this change in the fuel retailing business.
4.9 Changing Attitudes
With the deregulation of the oil industry in April 2002, Indian players realized
the need to become more customer focussed. BPCL’s pioneering efforts to create
brand awareness for its products were thus welcomed. BPCL’s first foray into
petrol pump retailing was through Bharat Shell Ltd. (Shell). The store, offering
eatables, soft drinks, stationery, newspapers, magazines, frozen foods, light
bulbs, audio cassettes and CDs, came as a pleasant surprise to Indian consumers.
By July 1999, 35 of BPCL’s retail outlets across the country had ‘Bazaar’
stores running successfully. In October 2000, BPCL introduced another revolutionary concept by launching a McDonald’s fast food outlet at a petrol pump
near Mathura (UP) on the Delhi–Agra highway. The 4,000 sq.ft., 180-seat
outlet was set up at a cost of Rs 40 million. McDonald’s paid a fixed rent,
besides a percentage of its sales to BPCL for using the facility. The outlet was
expected to pull in foreign and domestic tourists headed to and from Agra,
besides residents of surrounding areas.
In January 2001, BPCL further upgraded the ‘Bazaar’ stores and, a month
later, launched the ‘In and Out’ stores at around 40 outlets in Bangalore,
Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. To offer enhanced customer service,
BPCL tied up with various companies from different industries. These included
fast food, photography, music, financial services, ISPs, e-commerce portals,
document centers, ticketing, greeting cards, ATMs and courier services. All
these efforts have helped BPCL significantly in changing customer beliefs.
4.9.2 Changing Attitudes by Changing the Importance
Another strategy is to change customer attitudes by changing the importance of
beliefs that a customer holds about a particular product feature. For example, when
Kelloggs entered India, it faced a lot of problems initially to sell its products, as a
consequence of which it tried to change the people’s attitude towards its products.
This resulted in significantly improving its sales. Exhibit 4.5 discusses the repositioning strategy of Kelloggs’ for changing customers’ attitude towards the product.
4.9.3 Adding New Beliefs
An altogether different strategy adopted by marketers for changing customer attitudes is to develop new beliefs in customers about products. Adding new beliefs is
an important job for marketers. Once such new beliefs are clearly communicated to
consumers, there is a likelihood of higher sales since customers who previously did
not bother to buy a product may now choose to buy it. For instance, traditionally,
salt has been promoted on the taste attribute. Tata promoted salt with iodine content
4 Scales and Measurement
as essential for health (Iodine helps the growth, development and functioning of the
thyroid gland), thus completely changing common beliefs about salt.
Exhibit 4.5: Kellogg’s Repositioning Strategy
Kellogg’s started its India operations in September 1995. Its initial offerings
were cornflakes, wheat flakes and Basmati rice flakes. Later, it introduced the
breakfast cereals Chocos and Frosties. Despite good quality products and support from the parent company’s technical, managerial and financial resources,
Kellogg’s products failed in the Indian market. Kellogg realized that it was a
tough task to get Indian consumers to accept its products. Kellogg banked
heavily on the quality of its crispy flakes. But pouring hot milk on the flakes
made them soggy. As Indians boil their milk before drinking, unlike in the West,
the milk was usually warm or lukewarm. Americans often use cold milk for
cereals, retaining their crispness. Indians also like to add sugar to their milk.
When Kellogg flakes were put in hot milk, they became soggy and did not taste
good. In cold milk, it was not sweet enough for Indian tastes because the sugar
did not dissolve easily in cold milk. The rice and wheat versions too did not do
well. In fact, some consumers even referred to the rice flakes as rice corn flakes.
Kellogg’s began working towards better positioning for its products. The
company’s research showed that the average Indian consumer did not give
much importance to the level of iron and vitamin intake and looked at quantity,
rather than quality, of food consumed. Kellogg’s worked towards changing the
positioning of Chocos and Frosties—which had not been placed on the health
platform but had been projected instead as ‘fun-filled’ brands.
In 1995, Kellogg had a 53 % share of the Rs 150 million breakfast cereal
market, which had been growing at 4-5 % per annum till then. By 2000, the
market size was Rs 600 million, and Kellogg’s share increased to 65 %.
Analysts claimed that Kellogg’ entry was responsible for this growth. The
company’s improved prospects were clearly attributed to the shift in positioning, increased promotion and an enhanced media budget. The effort to
develop products specifically for the Indian market helped Kellogg make
significant inroads into the Indian market.
4.10 Association Between Measurement of Beliefs
It is generally found that there is a lesser relationship between researchers’ measurements and the actual prevailing situation. In other words, the match between
what the researcher finds and what actually happens is low owing to a number of
reasons. For projecting a favourable attitude towards a product, a respondent should
first have a felt need for the product. For instance, a respondent should need a car;
Association Between Measurement of Beliefs and Situation
only then might he or she display a positive or negative attitude towards a particular
brand of car. A person may have a favourable attitude towards a car, but this is not
sufficient and has to be backed with the ability to purchase the product. Often,
certain parameters of the purchase process are neglected while measuring attitudes.
For example, a person might have decided to buy a product and may have decided
on a particular brand, but on the day of purchase, the person may be lured away by a
competitor’s better promotional campaign. Or the person may decide to buy a brand
that is cheaper and use the money saved for some other purpose. Sometimes the
person’s attitude may change or be influenced by other family members while
making a purchase. These are some issues that will reduce the intensity of association between measurement of beliefs and the actual situation.
4.11 Attitude Scales
We have understood how important it is for marketers to measure attitudes. Marketers try to understand these attitudes and influence them to gain an advantage in
the market. Measuring attitudes is a highly difficult process and unlike measurement
scales in the physical sciences like measuring height, weight etc., measurement
scales for attitude are less precise. In the following sections, we will discuss the
different attitude scales that can be used to measure attitudes as precisely as possible.
Exhibit 4.6: Types of Attitude Scales
Single Items Scales
Source ICMR Centre for Management Research
Multi Item Scales