A relationship refers to a connection between two or more things. In this context, the “things” refer to both the consumers and the products that they consume. There exists a relationship between product brands and consumers. This analogy is arrived at after close scrutiny of consumer behavior and shopping patterns (Fournier, 1998).
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Relationships come with commitments, and those who are related will always do all it takes to sustain their relationship. This commitment is present in the relationship that Susan talks of in her paper. Products would normally fluctuate in prices, the price fluctuation is brought about by a number of factors, and these factors would, at times, result in the price skyrocketing (Hinde, 1979). Even in a case where prices of products go up, loyal consumers would still part with a lot of money to purchase them. This monetary commitment results from attachments that consumers have with such brands, and this constitutes another important component of relationships that Susan addresses in her journal.
Relationships are normally brought about by attachments that arise either through friendship or kinship. Consumers also find a basis of attachments between them and the brands they consume. These attachments are based on the price or quality of the products, which are two fundamental features that fragment the market.
There are those consumers who attach quality to brands. Such consumers are not bothered by the price of the product provided they get the quality that they are looking for. On the other hand, there are those whose shopping patterns are shaped by the prices of the commodity. The former group tends to have stronger relationship with the brands than the latter that would change from one brand to another given the price variations of the products at the time of their shopping.
Medical services, jewelry and beauty accessories are some of the products that consumers form the strongest relationships with. People attach more importance to their health than any other aspect of their life. These results in lots of skepticism in the choice of health service providers as people always expect to receive the best health services that would enable them live long and fruitful lives. Family physicians are chosen with extra caution based on the income of the family and once a quality doctor is determined, he or she gets treated with the confidentiality of a family member and the relationship gets stronger as more trust is developed with every service he or she renders effectively.
Health services providers being human; they nurture this relationship between them and their service seekers to stronger levels. Social aspect like friendship develops and as it grows, so does the relationship strengthen. Should this be compounded with quality services at friendlier costs, then the relationship blooms (Miller, 1995).
The relationships that consumers form with jewelry is different from the one they form with health services providers. This is because jewelry is never a need to most people and would always be treated with preference by a minority. This attribute of preference makes the relationship with consumers to be strong. Those who decide to use jewelry look at a specific features of the jewel. This could be the quality of the mineral from which it is made and the prestige attached to the mineral. This forms their purchasing patterns.
Diamond necklaces and rings are preferred by most consumers. This preference results from the association of diamond with prestige and class. The general rule for most jewel shoppers is selection on the basis of prestige and value. Jewelries come in a variety of shapes, sizes and makes however, this does not always bother consumers who would always let their affinity for quality reign. The other determinant factor in the relationship that a consumer develops with jewelry is based on the purpose with which the jewel is bought. Wedding rings always form the strongest relationships because they are the spirit of the marriages and should always last a life time. Most people always have a story behind the wedding ring on their fingers and this set in the relationship they want to have with the brands.
Despite existence of relationship between consumers and brands, these relationships do not always exist on every products or every consumer. Some consumers have a tendency of doing spontaneous shopping. Those with irregular shopping patterns would not always attach values on whatever they buy provided they get the services of the products. Without the attachment of any value to a product, there can never result a relationship between the products and the consumers (Guest, 1964).
Food products are normally bought without consumers attaching any value a part from the need for satisfaction. This is coupled with the fact that there are so many brands of food products, a feature that has resulted in the lack of consumer loyalty to the brands they purchase. Lack of value attachment and consumer loyalty eliminates relationship between the consumers and the brands.
The distribution strategy of a product brand would always play a role in the creation of relationship with their consumers. Auto repair and medical service providers are both operating in the service delivery sector of the market. This is a new market sector and the bazaar is expanding towards service delivery as opposed to the conventional retail of products.
How a service provider packages and distributes his or her services always determine the customer base he or she develops. Consumers would always want convenience, quality and faster delivery. An auto repairer who stations his garage at strategic points in the city, promises quality and delivers his services with speed will always attract more clients and develop a wider customer base. These are features that have made the West Coast Custom a number one automobiles repair shop in New York City. Medical services would on the contrary not promise speedy recovery of the patient, but the pace with which clients are attended is the marketing point. These are service delivery components responsible for the higher client loyalty at the Ryan Chelsea Clinton community health center in New York City (Bourdieu, 1984).
In conclusion, the loyalty that consumers develop to brands leads to the consequent development of relationships with the brands. The relationships are further pegged on the features that the product or service has and affects how they perform in the market. Market players must thus find a way of packaging their brands to portray the features admired most by consumers. This can only happen after carrying out an effective market research in order to determine what consumers want most.
Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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Fournier, S. (1998). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. New York, NY: New York Times.
Guest, P. (1964). Brand loyalty revisited. New York, NY: New York Times.
Hinde, R. (1979). Towards understanding relationships. London: Academic Press.
Miller, D. (1995). Acknowledging consumption: A review of new studies. London: Routledge.