Companies are concerned with how to keep their customers in order to perpetuate the brand equity. The answer is creating a bond between customer and the company and getting them to prefer the company’s brand and products over the competitors’. The tighter the bond is the more loyal the customer is. However, it is not easy to build customer relationship in today’s competitive business environment. The companies need to stand out and offer something unique for the consumers.
Marketers have adopted two schools of learning theory into their marketing strategies in order to reach these goals. Learning influences the behavior of customers and via well designed commercials marketers strive to desired learning outcomes that are beneficial to the company. The aim is to move consumers to action by attaining the consumers’ attention, capture their interests for a period of time to convince the consumers’ to change their behaviors, try the advertiser’s product or build brand loyalty.
The behavior theory relies on classical conditioning and instrumental learning, wherein the first approach is about learning through conditioned association and the latter deals with reinforcement or punishment followed by the behavior. A good example of application of classical conditioning in marketing is IF- the insurance company’s commercial. They repeats the song ”Don’t you worry ‘bout the thing” in most of their TV- advertisements (unconditioned stimulus) so that consumer will learn to associate the song (conditioned stimulus) to the company. The result is that when consumers hear the song they could recall the name of the company (response) and its services even without seeing any company’s advertisements. Herein the repetitions of the ads are very important, so that it’ll stay in consumers’ memory. Here is one of their TV-commercial including the song.
As a reinforcement the product’s quality could work, a reward or and an extra service. For instance a dentist office may offer coffee to customers in the waiting room as well as a magazine brand may give their customers a surprise gift or discount. This kind of positive reinforcement encountered customers are more committed to the company. Reinforcement is a very important tool that helps to create the connections between the customer and the company. It should be involved in different phases of customer relationship.
On the contrary the school of cognitive learning theory explains that learning is more profound and complex information processing which involves observing, storage activity and memory system. The principles of observational learning, also known as vicarious learning and modeling, are very much applied in many of today’s advertisements i.e. in AXE deodorant commercials where all women are attracted to the man who sprays himself with the deodorant. Consumers learn that by using this product it may also have the same effect regarding the attraction of women.
In application of the cognitive learning theory to advertising, the advertisement should catch the customers’ eyes and then it should be able to develop in customers the mental pattern base of associations for customers to build up the connection to the product and the want to purchase it. The objective of the cognitive learning approach is to aim at consolidating the relationship and build the trust between the customers and the company/brand by informing them and apprising them about the brand. A great example can be found from the ad of Nokia below. The slogan “Connecting People” conveys the message that Nokia brings people together and thus creates the association of a life experience that has a meaning for its customers. The connection to the brand was made.
A good advertisement creates connection between customers and the product and adds values to the customers. The more knowledge and experience consumers have on a product, the better they are capable to process information related to that product and this will affect their purchase decision-making. Thus an informed and appraised customer is a potential high-involved customer. Therefore a learning relationship with customer is necessary in building brand loyalty and breeding the brand equity.