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Final Project
Graduate Exchange Student (Autumn 2014)
Role of Emotions in Marketing and Communication Management

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Akash Ravi Sharma

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Rev. 2012-05-23


Akash Ravi Sharma

Which roles do emotions presumably play in consumers interest in SLIMs products and their

Emotions refer to a mental state of readiness arising from cognitive appraisals of events and thoughts
and are accompanied by physiological processes (Bagozzi, Gopinath and Nyer, 1999). It differs from
moods which are longer lasting and less intense, and affect, which is an umbrella term. In consumption,
emotions arise when consumers make a decision regarding the value benefit of the consumption or the
experience they feel from it.

Emotions lead to Preference and Intention

Emotions in terms of excitement, interest, happiness and benefits in terms of functionality etc play an
important role in shaping consumer values and hence behavior. The Information Processing Model
(Bettman, 1979) regards consumers as problem solvers in their action of purchasing. It regards them as
rational consumers and takes into account a very logical thought process. The Experiential View
(Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982) adds to it that consumption also involves fantasies, feelings and other
hedonic aspects, which may counter that logical, most optimum consumption as claimed by the former
model. It seems reasonable, as humans often follow feelings more. It is important for consumers what
experience the products provide them and what they subjectively mean for them, whether it plays to
their fantasies and emotions. This aspect of Hedonic consumption is dependent on the perceived value.
These views lead emotions to two of the most common dimensions of value, the Utilitarian and Hedonic
values, both of them play a role in consumers deciding their course of action. Utilitarian Values is
defined as an overall assessment of functional benefits and sacrifices (Overby and Lee, 2006). It
incorporates the economic value for money. Hedonic Value is defined as an overall assessment of
experiential benefits and sacrifices (Overby and Lee, 2006).
So while on one side, consumers look to solve problems and satisfy their basic needs, maximize utility
and look for tangible benefits, on the other side their pleasure needs, emotions, desires and perceived
values play an important role in their behavior.
German based SLIM is a slimming service provider, with offerings of weight loss, fitness training, meals,
support groups etc. Let us consider the current scenario in the world, for the need of such a service, how
important it is to consumers, and how their emotions are involved with it.

In a world with population of roughly 7.1 billion, over 1 million are overweight and 300 million obese.
The consequences of being overweight are two pronged. One dimension is the adverse health effects
including heart diseases, diabetes etc. The other dimension is the social exclusion they face. It can range
from having to buy two airline tickets to not finding clothes of appropriate size. People are looking for
quick fixes or short cuts out of this issue. Their emotions will hence play a role in them choosing SLIM as
a solution for their problems provided SLIM is able to cater to their needs and fit into their perception of
what is valuable, required or simply desired.

Overby and Lee (2003) link these values that a customer perceives to their preferences and they, in turn,
determine their intentions.

The positive relation between customer values judgements and preference, and between preference
and intentions, were given in context of online shopping by Overby and Lee (2003). Here we extend it a
little to generalize and apply it to the case of SLIM.

Emotions as Markers, Mediators and Moderators

Emotions can also act as markers, mediators and moderators (Bagozzi, Gopinath and Nyer, 1999).
Markers meaning that they act as a measure of an emotional state. Moderators meaning they can
influence a third parameter.

Emotion linked to Customer Satisfaction

The emotions regarding the outcome of the purchase will define customer satisfaction. It will vary from
person to person. Emotions will be communicated via complaints, praises, word of mouth and other
sources and play an important role in building brand image. People will talk about how SLIM was
effective, or it was not. How it provided an easier alternative from dieting or working out which
according to Euromonitor report, people avoid. It also skips the pharmaceuticals which people are

skeptical about, but still take, searching for a quick fix. Hence the strong possible link to customer

Happiness, Mood and Arousal

Emotions like happiness, and the extent of it, determine choices. Excitement leads to choosing an
exciting product, and leisurely happiness a calm product and so on (Mogilner, 2012). Level of arousal
affects choice. Peoples moods also highly affect how they decipher information about products. Meloy
(2000) showed that people in good mood react less effectively to negative information about a
competing product. They maintain confidence better about leading choice. They show fewer preference

Emotions can also affect cognitive processes such as memory like retrieval and encoding, categorization,
finding solutions, evaluating stimuli and processing information. It can also motivate you towards a goal
or inhibit you from it. It can affect ones state of happiness which will affect choice

All these factors point us towards the fact that people surely have a problem and from the Information
Processing Model viewpoint, will be looking to solve it. They will be looking at some utilitarian values
and also be influenced by some hedonic aspects, consciously or unconsciously. Hence, the role of
emotions towards influencing the customer

What kind of research study would you suggest SLIM to conduct to provide deeper insights
into which emotions are relevant to SLIMs product portfolio and what contribution do you
expect from the research results?
After being confident that emotions will play an important role in consumers deciding to use SLIMs
services, it is important that we find out which are the emotions which are more relevant.
First, we will need to develop or use an existing scale in order to find out where the emotions of
consumers lie regarding SLIMs products and services. Emotions can be said to operate on a continuum
depending on how much cognitive processing they require (Poels and Dewitte, 2006). At the left end,
are the emotions which require lesser cognitive processing and are more instinctively and automatically

felt, whereas the right end requires more of cognitive processing and are conscious in nature. These are
called type 1 and type 2 emotions (Rossiter and Bellman, 2005).

Babin in 1994, also noted that while any correlation between the two sides is unlikely, it is also
important to note that high of one does not mean low of another.
A large number of scales have been developed, but many face the limitations that they do not include a
lot of daily emotions and/or have complex terminology which may not be understood by the respondent
(Richins, 1997). Richins (1997) developed the CES scale providing the required diversity to capture all
consumer emotions during consumption and showed that it covered a better range than other scales
like DES, PAD and Plutchik based measures. It also uses a 4-point scale in order to make it easier for the
respondent because of its more extensive coverage.
A good scale is necessary for SLIM to judge the correct valence and strength of emotions. A good scale
will cover all aspects and provide enough range and depth for respondents to answer accurately.

In terms of the methods that can be used, different types of emotions has a different method better
suited to measure it, depending on which end of the spectrum it lies on.

Self Report Measures

Self Report Measures focus more on the emotions felt by cognitive processing by a consumer. Hence
they are suited to measure the higher order or complex emotions. Lower order emotions are not
recommended to be researched by this method for the risk of being distorted because of cognitive

Verbal self reports typically use a likert scale or similar in order to help consumer express their emotions
via questionnaires. The PAD scale (Mehrabian and Russel, 1974), Emotion Profile Index (Plutchik, 1980)
are some examples. This format is advantageous in the fact that it is easy, cheap and quick.
Visual Self Report is similar to verbal self report, except it uses cartoon figures to represent the
necessary emotions. These are less boring and cumbersome than verbal self report for the respondents
but Poels and Dewitte (2006) claim that some higher order processing is still involved in this measure
One drawback of these measures is the cognitive bias which affects the Self Report Measures

Autonomic Measures

Autonomic Measures are used to measure the lower order or emotions that are felt without much
cognitive processing. They use various measures like heart rate, facial muscles etc in order to find out
the lower order emotions without cognitive bias. However, they have a disadvantage that they have to
be done in unnatural lab settings thus making the respondent conscious and possibly not give accurate

Hence, for SLIM, it is advisable to use one of both types of measure in order to capture the relevant
emotions at both ends of the spectrum. One can use a self report measure like verbal self report in
order to understand the higher order emotions felt by the consumers of their products and services.
These emotions include those which require high cognitive thought and essentially mean that aspects
which consumers will look closely at like benefits. One Autonomic measure like Facial Electromyography
(EMG) designed by Cacioppo, Losch, Tassinary and Petty (1986) to capture the relevant lower order
emotions like experience of using SLIMs services

Using Analytics
One can use various types of analytics to sort out, understand and derive meaning from the data

Factor Analysis

Factor analysis can depict which variables affect the dependent variables the most. This can be used to
determine which emotions reflect heavily on consumers choice, and can hence then be targeted in
SLIMs advertising efforts. It will help filter out emotions which play a lesser role.

Cluster Analysis

Cluster analysis can be used to group together similar emotions and hence target them together. This
can help SLIM in designing marketing efforts targeted towards one cluster, essentially using one or two
dimensions to target a larger group of emotions which are clustered together based on some depending

From the research results, we will be able to find out which emotions play a more important role
regarding SLIMs products and services. The emotional reactions will also determine how the consumers
react to several facets like advertisements, brand, their intentions and hence the overall performance of
the product/service/company in the market.
Both verbal (Batra and Ray, 1986) and visual measures (Morris et al, 2002) are reported to have strong
relation to attitude towards advertisements. Authors (Batra and Ray, 1986) have also found similar
relations for attitude towards brand and purchase intention.
Emotions also determine happiness and mood and hence affect choices.

Based on your answers to questions 1 and 2, which marketing and communication efforts
would your company recommend SLIM to engage in, in order to improve their market
After obtaining a detailed understanding of the emotions experienced by the consumers of the services
and products of SLIM, SLIM must look towards putting out the appropriate marketing and
communications effort in order to successfully influence the consumers to purchase their services and
hence improve their market position. The advertisements will induce emotions or act as external
stimulus for emotions leading to influence towards some key aspects. These key aspects are brand
awareness (brand recall and brand recognition), attitude towards ad (Aad), attitude towards brand (Ab),
brand preference and finally purchase intention, similar to the earlier discussed theory regarding values,
preference and intentions given by Overby and Lee (2003).

The type of advertisement depends on many factors like product category, target audience, purchase
motivation etc. The FCB grid and the Rossiter-Percy grid are the two most popular grids for identifying
how consumers evaluate the brand. Rossiter, Percy and Donovan (1991) gave several reasons as to why

the Rossiter Percy grid was a better alternative to FCB grid, most important being that it covers the
aspect of brand awareness which is a necessary prerequisite that is missing in FCB grid. Here, we will use
the Rossiter Percy grid to identify some key elements which must be considered while putting out
marketing and communication efforts.

Step 1 : Improving Brand Awareness

The first step SLIM should undertake for its marketing and communications efforts is increasing brand
awareness. Since SLIM is a newly established company, its brand awareness objective depends on brand
recognition more rather than brand recall which will come at later stages. Therefore, SLIM should invest
in activities which show the brand name/package along with the category or need context for a
sufficient exposure time (Rossiter, Percy and Donovan, 1991).
Most common areas could be where people who need SLIM services are searching for alternatives. For
example, healthy eating restaurants, pharmaceutical companies etc, with whom they can tie up. All
major nations like Brazil, China, US , UK, France have a significant large percentage of overweight
population where SLIM can look towards improving its brand awareness. As costs rise, developing
countries and poor people become a large market

However, it must also be noted that Pieters, et al (1999) found attention to advertisements to decrease
with repeated exposures. Hence, later on, less frequency needed.

Step 2: Identifying correct Quadrant in 2x2 Rossiter Percy Grid

If we look at the 2x2 grid, based on which category the product/service lies in different tactics can be
used. SLIM should understand and highlight that the basis of their business is that the consumers have a
problem which they are looking to solve. One billion overweight people and 300 million obese, all with
risk of heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes etc are looking to solve their problem. Sugar, fat,
processed food, bad eating habits due to lack of time etc, are all contributing factors. People are moving
towards healthy eating habits and lifestyle. Pharmaceuticals are becoming an increasingly used option.
This points towards the fact that customers of SLIM would be having Informational Brand Attitude/High
Involvement. They will look carefully if SLIM would be able to resolve their problem or not. SLIM must be
able to showcase enough value benefit.

Based on this quadrant and its dimensions, we can define how the advertisement should present itself
in the two dimensions of Involvement and Motivation.

Step 3 : Involvement Dimension of Attitude

Purchase attitude differs with levels of involvement. Rossiter, Percy and Donovan (1991) gave only the
perceived risk as the defining element for level of involvement as compared to earlier versions of
decision importance, degree of thought and perceived risk. Given the product lies in High Involvement
category, the advertisements benefit claims must be high but not over-do the claim as it must be
acceptable. Though, that does not mean one should under claim. A comparative approach to a
competitor is also possible. Being convincing and acceptable is the key point. One should use correct
portrayal and emphasize it well. The initial attitude of the target audience should also be taken into
SLIM should look towards showcasing to its customers how it tackles the basic elements of the problem
like eating habits, activity level and how it can counter and provide an alternative solution for poorer
people and different cultures. Confronting these issues will satisfy the involvement dimension of its

Step 4 : The Motivational Dimension

The same authors have identified two types of motives. These motives differently define what the
advertising should focus on conveying to the consumers. The informational motives pertain to negative
motivation such as problems consumers face and want to solve versus the transformational motives
which are positive motives. If we consider SLIM and its services, from the informational side, problem
removal or incomplete satisfaction are motives that match their consumers (Rossiter, Percy and
Donovan, 1991). Moving from disappointment to optimism and anger to relief are what could match
their emotions. This flow should be matched in advertisements to make it emotion congruent. People
are searching for a quick fix. Portraying SLIM as an alternative for drugs would be a healthy motivational
aspect as people do not want to consume/are skeptical about something they are not sure what that it.
Diet fads come and go. SLIM should portray itself as a more holistic option of health and wellness. Many
people are also possibly embarrassed or sensitive about the issue. The motivational dimension plays a
large role here in tackling social seclusion which people might face.

The accurate results will come from the research itself.

Role of Product Category

Geuens, Pelsmacker and Faseur (2010) confirmed that emotional ads, using product congruent
emotions, have a more positive effect on brand attitude than non emotional ads, irrespective of level of
involvement or customer/product values. However, care must be taken that the ads have product
congruent emotions. For in the case of SLIM, with high involvement, the same authors also proved that
incongruent emotions in ads can lead to less positive effects as non emotional ads.
Also, Kamp and Maclnnis (1995) showed that flows in emotion from negative to positive were more
effective than vice versa or static emotion.
Hence in accordance with the expected flow of emotions according to the motivational aspect, SLIM
should look towards having emotional congruence.

Target Market

Excess Consumption and Wealth

It must also be noted that a significant cause of excess weight is unhealthy/excess eating. This is two
pronged. As wealth rises, indulgence rises; obesity rises and hence need for SLIM. Targeting wealthier
sector in developed and developing countries is a must. On the other end of the spectrum, poor people
have limited access and healthy food is usually more expensive. Here also, SLIM is required. But they
cannot offer same services/same prices to both the target markets. A difference has to be made


Cultural difference also plays a role in terms of lifestyle habits, eating habits and perception of obesity.


Current trends of increasing consumption of fresh food, higher levels of hydration should be promoted.
People are skeptical of dietary supplements and non natural items. Indulgence is not wrong but it
needs to be propagated that one will need to avoid sugar and fat. Pharmaceuticals are booming but are
also a health hazard. People eating out is an increasing category but care must be taken to reduce
portion size, choose healthier options etc. Health clubs and sports are an increasingly popular and great
option to be promoted

Some other emotions

To be kept in mind while making the communication efforts,


People looking for SLIM products would generally be people dissatisfied by their weights, and feeling
negative by their lack of success in achieving their goal of weight reduction. It is important to note here,
that people will be less susceptible to pre-decision distortion of choice, and favoring of leader in
accordance with Moligner (2012) and Murro & Murray (2012).


Level of arousal affects choice. Depending on whether the particular plan of SLIM is related to being
highly active and intense or laid back, one should ensure congruent emotions in the marketing and
communication efforts for the same.


Efforts should focus on keeping or converting people to good mood as mood affects their feelings
towards the brand/choice.

At the end, people do not want to be given a diet schedule or told to work out for a number of hours.
People want miracle solutions (though not possible) and while skeptical of drugs, try them for the same
reason. This leaves ample gap for SLIM to position itself as a holistic health and wellness provider.

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1. Rossiter Percy Grid