Sunday, September 15, 2013

Explicate Explicit/Implicit Attitudes

A half century ago, following publication of the landmark U.S. Surgeon General’s report Smoking and Health, researchers at UCLA asked cigarette smokers. “Why do you smoke?” Most answers were of the form, “I enjoy it and smoking in moderation is fine.” At another point, the smokers were asked to complete sentences like, “Teenagers who smoke are,” and “People who never smoke are.” Responses to the first prompt were words like “crazy” and “foolish.” Typical responses to the second prompt were “happier” and “wiser.”
     This illustrates the distinction between “explicit” and “implicit” attitudes. There’s no reason to think the cigarette smokers in the UCLA study lied. Instead, they were probably not consciously aware of their deep concerns about smoking until given the incomplete sentences task.
     Another technique used to discover implicit attitudes is the depth-oriented focus group. The consumers’ beliefs are assessed beginning with probes in the form, “To what degree do the sales staff at that store want to get you the right product for your needs?” Feelings are assessed starting with probes like, “When you buy a product there, how confident are you that you’ve made a good decision?” The payoff items—concerning intentions—begin with questions like, “Next time you need a product carried by that store, how likely are you to shop there?”
     Those probes are at the surface. The skilled focus group facilitator then uses a technique call laddering, unrolling a series of probes of the form, “What leads you to feel that way?,” “Please tell me more about what you mean,” and “What else?”
     You might lack the thorough training necessary to conduct depth-oriented focus groups. Still, appreciating the difference between explicit and implicit attitudes helps you understand why a consumer might say they don’t like an item and then end up buying it.
     Researchers at University of Virginia and Tilburg University presented consumers with evidence that Brand A apple juice was superb quality, Brand A orange juice was poor quality, Brand B apple juice was poor quality, and Brand B orange juice was good quality.
     When asked directly about their preference in orange juice, most participants answered that they’d prefer Brand B. However, another depth-oriented tool, called the Implicit Association Test, showed that the positive feelings about Brand A apple juice subconsciously spread to make attitudes toward Brand A orange juice more positive in ways which would influence a purchase.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Probe for Intentions in Focus Groups

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