Kit Kat

Kit Kat

Buyer Behaviour: Theoretical Analysis

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Section 1: Brand Overview

Brand Overview & Theory identification

Kit Kat is a wafer covered by chocolate first produced in 1935. It is produced by Nestle across the world.

TheoriesProblem recognition                       Information search/evaluation of alternativePurchase/consumption/ post purchase.
Main TheoryMaslow’s TheoryCompensatory/non-compensatory rules:Perceived risk theory
Linking TheoryMcGuire’s theory of motivesConsumer Socialisation modelCAD theory

Section 2: PROBLEM RECOGNITION

Maslow’s theory

Sarah loves being social and enjoys the company of other people. This means that she needs to feel loved and accepted by the youths. Therefore, buying an attractive product will ensure that the social group gives a positive opinion about her, approves, and loves her. Maslow’s theory explains how needs on lower levels must be satisfied for a consumer to seek others.

According to Maslow’s theory, a consumer must satisfy the needs at the lower levels to desire the needs in the next upper levels. Maslow provides a hierarchy of needs which shows what needs must be fulfilled in each level (figure 1).

At the lower level is the physiological needs. These are the basic needs of every consumer. The needs seek to satisfy basic biological motives such as food, water, and shelter. Lack of these needs can cause discomfort and dissatisfaction. Such feelings motivate people to seek the needs. If the needs are fulfilled, then a consumer seeks to fulfil the security needs. These needs seek to ensure that an individual is safe from the chaotic world. The needs seek to promote physical survival (Andersone & Gaile-Sarkane, 2014). Some of the products that a consumer may seek at this level include retirement, investments, and alarm systems among others.

Next are the affective and social needs. They address the need of being affiliated. The need to be accepted and loved by other people. According to Maslow, people seek to satisfy the social needs to overcome alienation and feelings of loneliness. They therefore look for love, and affection as well as the sense of belonging. Some of the products that a consumer would seek at this level include drinks, clubs, and clothing (Andersone & Gaile-Sarkane, 2014). The next level is esteem needs. The needs seek to gain self-respect and respect from other people as well. Fulfilling the needs makes one feel valuable. Lastly, when needs in other lower levels are fulfilled, people seek to explore for personal growth. Some products they may seek include education and travel.

Through intense advertisements, and sales promotion, Kit Kat has managed to activate a purchase need. Kit Kat has also managed to provide the right information at the right time and place especially online ensuring that consumers are able to access the information efficiently associated with a favourable behaviour (Andersone & Gaile-Sarkane, 2014). However, it is important that information is also available offline for the population that prefers the world. This will help the company activate need.

McGuire’s theory of motives

Sarah, is driven by the need to be accepted by friends. Therefore, the need for accompanying rewards, in this case, approval and acceptance from friends would influence her behaviour by creating a need to purchase snacks from the right brand.

According to McGuires, consumers are driven by 12 reasons to make purchases. People are motivated by different factors in buying certain products. First is the consistency need. A consumer will buy a product that is consistent with what they like. Second is the need to attribute causation. This is a need to determine who causes things to happen. The third is the need to categorize (Rabontu & Boncea, 2007). Through categories people are able to process large information. Such information enables consumers to rapidly narrow down their choices. Fourth is the need for cues.

According to Mcguire, consumers may purchase certain products for a feeling of independence. Sixth is a need for self-expression. This motive drives people to certain products that will make other people know them. For instance, one may buy a car to express their identity to others. Seventh is an ego-defense need. A customer may buy a certain brand to avoid being labelled as incorrect (Rabontu & Boncea, 2007). Eighth, some consumers are motivated to purchase certain products because of the accompanying reward.

Consumers may also have an affiliation need essential for developing a satisfying relationship. The tenth is the modelling need which involves copying the behaviors of other people. Eleventh is the freshness need one can require a product for stability while others may seek change. Consumers are driven by the need to engage in practices that boost self-esteem in other people (Rabontu & Boncea, 2007). By offering the best taste, Kit Kat remains the favourite chocolate snack. Being a globally recognized brand, it is best positioned to earn Sarah, love, acceptance, and approval from the social group.

Section 3: Information search/Evaluation of alternatives

Compensatory and non-compensatory rules models

After recognizing the need, Sarah will engage in information search which will enable her to make a proper purchase decision. Kit Kat snacks compete with other products such as Cadburys chocolate, Ferreo Rohcer chocolate, and Hershey’s chocolate. For Sarah to select the best product, she will have to engage in information search and then evaluate the alternatives.  The information will be on product categories, alternatives, and brands. With sufficient information, the consumer will evaluate available alternatives.

Compensatory and non-compensatory rules models provide proper guidance on making the final choice. The decision rules simplify the decision making process for a consumer (Hauser et al., 2009). According to compensatory rules, consumers list evaluative criteria which are then scored and rated for all alternatives. A higher rating on a given attribute can compensate for a lower rating in another attribute. With the final scores, every alternative is ranked. The alternative with the highest score is considered the best option. In this case, a consumer selects the best alternative (Hauser et al., 2009). With this approach, a consumer can rate the attributes of each alternative and then the scores are summed. An alternative is weighting the attributes first based on importance and then the attributes are rated and scored after multiplying the weights with the rates. The consumer then totals the weighted scores.

A consumer can alternatively rely on non-compensatory rules. Any negative evaluation of an attribute eliminates an alternative from being considered. A higher rating of any attribute cannot compensate a lower rating of another attribute. The alternative that scores highest is the best alternative. With the conjunctive rule, a consumer sets a minimum cut off for every attribute. The alternatives are then evaluated. The alternative with any attributes falling below the cut off is rejected (Hauser et al., 2009). The disjunctive rule involves setting a cut off that is minimally accepted for every attribute.

A consumer then evaluates the alternatives. Any alternative that falls above the minimally accepted point is selected. Else, a consumer can choose the lexicographic rule where attributes are ranked based on perceived importance. The first step under the rule is evaluating an alternative on the attribute regarded most essential. The alternative that scores high on the attribute compared to others is considered the best alternative (Hauser et al., 2009). Kit Kat is well positioned. Kit Kat has an excellent visibility and advertising. This means that Sarah will easily find information about the brand easily compared to competitors. This gives the brand an added advantage.

Consumer socialization

Since Sarah loves socializing and enjoys the company of other people their use of the product or any opinion about a product would influence her buying decision. Additionally, advertisements of the snacks would also determine the product she buys. Products that are more advertised will definitely attract her attention.

Consumer socialization also has an influence on the selection of alternatives. Various factors such as mass media, culture, peers, family, and gender influence a consumer’s behaviour especially in evaluating alternatives. Among the younger people, friends influence their behaviour. For instance, if friends consider a certain product as good, then a consumer will select that product (Mau et al., 2014). Gender influences consumer behaviour. After searching for sufficient information about the alternatives, gender influences evaluation of the alternatives.

Mass media also influences consumer decision. Through observation, people are able to learn. Therefore, viewing lifestyles and advertisements through mass media influences a consumer when evaluating alternatives. A brand that well-advertised will be more attract ice compared to one that is rarely viewed. Additionally, family influences consumer behaviour. Families tend to impart consumer behaviour through parent supervision, observations, and direct discussions (Mau et al., 2014). Previous familial experiences thus influence consumer behaviour.

Several sources of information specifically use of digital networks, and social media platforms, ensure that the Kit Kat consumers are able to access any information they require about the brand. People across the globe follow the company on Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel to collect essential information. In the platforms, product features are well highlighted. This enables a consumer to compare the features with competitors’ products in efforts of evaluating the alternatives (Huang & Smith, 2010). More sources are however required to make it easy in searching the information about Kit Kat. Effective promotion of Kit Kat ensures that more people view the problem eventually influencing consumers to select the alternative.

Section 4: Purchase/consumption/post-purchase

Perceived risk theory

After selecting the best alternative, the consumer at this stage knows what and where to buy the chosen brand (Stankevich, 2017). The consumer therefore goes ahead and purchases the product. The next step is checking whether the product meets her expectations. If Sarah finds the product to exceed the set expectations, she will become a brand ambassador. The chance of future purchases becomes high. If the product fails to meet the expectations, the chance of post-purchase is lower.

According to perceived risk theory, consumer decisions are influenced by the perceived risk. The risks can be social, time, physical, performance, financial, or psychological. On purchase decision making, consumers buy a product with the least perceived risk. If a product cannot be bought at the needed time, there is a substantial risk. If the product is not readily available, the consumer faces another risk (Samadi, 2009). To avoid such risks, a consumer engages in sub-purchase decisions which he or she evaluates the reputation of after-sales service, how to save time, and money. The consumer avoids the risk of getting it wrong.

At the post purchase stage, consumers are usually very sensitive to opinions from social groups. Any negative opinion is a great turn off. To avoid such opinions, a consumer will pick a product that they have re-evaluated to avoid the risk of making wrong decisions (Samadi, 2009). In this case of Kit Kat will is seen to have less perceive risks, a consumer will go for the product. This ensures that the opinions from social groups are satisfying. However, if Kit Kat is found to have a higher perceived risk, a consumer will opt for other brands.

In post-purchase behaviour, if a consumer finds the product to be below expectations, they are dissatisfied and suffer from the mismatch. In this case, he or she will try to reduce cognitive dissonance by exhibiting strategies of reducing risks (Udo-Imeh et al., 2015). The strategies are aimed at the consequences of the unsatisfactory purchase. The strategies include returning the product which can ruin the brand reputation or rejecting the brand and considering another competitive brand (Samadi, 2009). Kit Kat has positioned the product at the right time and place enabling the consumer to access the product efficiently reducing the related perceived risk. Kit Kat also communicates with consumers on benefits of the product compared to alternatives in an attempt to encourage post-purchase. However, the product is not available in rural areas associated with higher perceived risk.

CAD theory

Sarah wants to ensure that the product she buys earns her love, approval, and acceptance. She therefore requires a quality and known brand that will ensure her friends have a positive opinion about her, hence the admiration, love, and appreciation.

CAD theory, is useful in studying consumer behaviour at this level. According to the theory by Homey, social factors play a key role in shaping personality which influences consumer behavior. According to Homey, people whose love and affection needs are unsatisfied develop anxiety. In this case, consumes are divided into three personalities. First is the compliant consumers (Sarker et al., 2013). These are people who experience helplessness and seek to relate to other people with the purpose of gaining acceptance and help. They move towards other people to be accepted and approved. This group of consumers prefers known brands.

The second is the aggressive group characterized by people who seek to overcome their anxieties by dominating, and excelling other people. Forcing their power over others make them feel secured. These people are not only manipulative but also tend to move against others (Sarker et al., 2013). They greatly need success, power, and achievement. Such consumers prefer specific brands.

The third group is the detached people who choose to move away from people. The group desires independence and freedom from obligations. They prefer their own lifestyle. The group does not care about brands. They prefer products that give them freedom such as being able to eat a chocolate bar anywhere anytime (Sarker et al., 2013). Kit Kat offers quality products and is among the known brand in the world (Bandalkul, 2014). Therefore, buying the brand will ensure that the consumer gains a positive opinion from the youth friends eventually earning love, appreciation, approval, and acceptance from the social group. However, the breakage element of the wafer can make the consumer frustrated affecting their post-purchase decision.

Section 5: Marketing Strategy Recommendations

Promote the product offline

One of the strengths with Kit Kat is excellent advertising and visibility especially in the online world. However, with such a strategy, the company is only able to reach a certain population, specifically people who prefer online environment (Nestle, 2018). However, there is another population that prefers offline world. Reaching the population will increase sales and eventually revenues. Specifically, the company should embrace the use of promotional items to promote the product offline. The giveaways to all population segments will be helpful in creating its need because the items remains a strong reminder of the product. The products should have information about the company, logo, and benefits of the product not found in other similar products. Such items will help in activating needs among consumers (Rabontu & Boncea, 2007). However, the company should not reduce the investment in online advertising. The strategy allows reaching of many people.

Rural penetration

Kit Kat’s production is on over 16 countries. The distribution is however in over 100 countries (Kit Kat Nestlé, 2010). The company uses already established sales channels to reach a wider consumer base. However, in the rural areas especially in developing nations the information as well as the products are not readily available. This is even when such markets have great potential boosting sales. The company should therefore, expand to these regions. This way the brand will have minimal perceived risks especially on its availability (Zhang et al., 2012). Eventually, consumers in the regions will purchase the brand associated with increased sales and revenues. Additionally, the marketing strategy will strengthen the brand essential in competing with other brands (Ekmekci, 2010).

Improving packaging

Since Kit Kat is precisely a wafer, it breaks easily during packaging. Often, consumers get broken wafer pieces. For consumers such as Sarah, such pieces would really be frustration considering that she needs positive opinions from friends. The company should therefore adopt a packaging process that will reduce the breakage. Alternatively, the company can increase the contribution of chocolate to the wafer. Apart from reducing the trend of breaking easily, consumers will get a richer taste. Such an improvement, will ensure that the product meets the expectations of consumers encouraging post-purchase (Jisana, 2014).

References

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Hauser, J., Ding. M. & Gaskin, S. (2009). Non-compensatory (and Compensatory) Models of      Consideration-Set Decisions, pp.1-33.

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Kit Kat Nestlé. (2010). Happy 75th birthday Kit Kat. Available at

            http://www.nestle.com/media/newsandfeatures/happy-75th-birthday-kitkat, October

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