2.5 Hierarchy of Effects Models From the earliest days of consumer research it was sees that it was rate for consumers to make instant unsupported decisions. Instead it was proposed that consumers went through a number of stages prior to purchase. The many models developed to show this concept have become collectively known as hierarch of effects models. These represent some of the oldest marketing communications models to appear, with the earliest being published in 1898. They continues to have prominence until the 1980s and despite subsequent revisions of thinking they arguable still have important resonance today. As with all models they should be
recognized for what they are –attempts to simplify complex processes and not truths. They are, however useful in explaining the theory behind marketing communication strategy. Proponents of the traditional hierarchy framework suggest that audiences respond to messages in a very ordered way that is firstly cognitively (thinking), then affectively (feeling) and thirdly cognitively (doing) (Barry and Howard 1990. Cognition is typically defined as ‘mental activity’ as reflected in knowledge, believes or thoughts that someone has about some aspect of their world (Barry and Howard 1990). Advertisers have historically relied on measures of memory (such as recall) to gauge cognition. So, for example, in marketing’s ‘Adwartch Survey’ respondents are asked by the pollster ‘Which of the TV commercials do you remember seeing? The affective component is any degree of feeling and emotion, in a general sense, which can be attributed to the brand. This is often associated with what is known as brand personality. Conation refers to either intension to perform a behavior e.g. purchase or the behavior itself. One of the earliest attempts to model the effect of marketing communications was the AIDA model general attributed to Strong in 1925 but which actually originated with E. St Elmo Lewis around 20 to 30 years earlier. Initially designed to qualify the stages a salesperson would take a prospect through a sale, this later become the basic framework against which persuasive communication, particularly advertising, was thought to work, AIDA stood for attention , interest, desire and action and represented the states the rational consumer was supposed to pass through before the ultimate purchase. This can be superimposed and the hierarchy model. Later models similar in construction were also developed to explain the communications process. They included at the decision making in this way enable a matrix to be created that has direct connections with those actors discussed as A and D above. A key advantage of considering hierarchy of effects models, irrespective of any debates around accuracy, is their recognition that brand awareness is important. Another benefit is that they again help distinguish between the likely objectives at each stage of the model. Although the
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- Spring '14