Dissonance/Attribution Hierarchy

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With the three models discussed in the preceding sections above, one might assume that consumers become aware of and knowledgeable about a brand, develop feelings toward it, form a desire or preference, and then make a purchase (Littlejohn & Foss, 2009; Belch & Belch, 2003). While this logical progression is often accurate, they point out, the response sequence does not always operate this way. This led to Michael Ray and his colleagues to challenge the traditional hierarchy and they developed a model of information processing that identifies three alternative orderings of the three stages based on perceived product differentiation and product involvement. These alternative response hierarchies are the standard learning, dissonance/attribution,…show more content…
As indicated by Ray (1973), this response hierarchy is the exact opposite of the standard learning hierarchy. This dissonance/attribution model, also known as do →feel→learn, occurs in situations where consumers must choose between two alternatives that are similar in quality but are complex and may have hidden or unknown attributes (Belch and Belch, 2003; Ray, 1973). In this situation the consumer is forced to make a choice based on some non-media or non-marketing sources as pointed out by Ray (1973). This position is supported Littlejohn & Foss (2009) who note that this model suggests a reversal of the previous model, that is, consumers first behave or act, then develop feelings toward the brand as a result of their actions, and finally create cognitive arguments to support their behaviour. Thus the consumer may purchase the product because of a recommendation obtained from some non-media source and then attempt to support the decision by developing a positive attitude toward the brand and perhaps even developing negative feelings toward the rejected alternative(s) (Belch & Belch, 2003; Ray, 1973). This, they explain, reduces any post purchase dissonance the consumer may experience resulting from doubt over the purchase. They further argue that dissonance reduction involves selective learning, in which the consumer seeks information that supports the choice made and avoids information that would raise doubts about the decision. Belch & Belch (2003) go on to state that according to this model, marketers need to recognize that in some situations, attitudes develop after purchase, as does learning from the mass media. In these situations, they point out, the main effect of the mass media is not the

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