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Consumer Behaviour Analysis (CAP)

of

VIP Industries Limited

(Word count total: 6950)

By: Adebayo Odunowo (Student ID: 15280250)

Class ID: MBASHR-CR-100304-01 Instructor: Dr Debra Black

University of Liverpool March 2010

Executive Summary
Consumers behavior and perception towards Topklass hair relaxer is the focus of this CAP coupled with VIP Industries inability to expand their market share for hair relaxer despite the regional market success they achieved with their conditioner and shampoo. As an umbrella brand for all its products, Topklass is a well known brand and it is synonymous with their shampoo and conditioner but when it comes to hair relaxers, its either consumers are surprised of its existence in the marketplace or are unsure of its functionality vis--vis its effectiveness; moreover being a product that relies so much on word-of-mouth during the consumers purchase decision process, Topklass brand of hair relaxer does not enjoy this luxury due to its unfamiliarity among consumers. VIP Industries have always promoted all their product range as one indivisible brand and whilst consumers developed preferences for Topklass shampoo and conditioner, they didnt do so for Topklass hair relaxer despite being exposed to the same and equal amount of stimuli. An understanding of why this is so by VIP Industries is the key that will enable them build the kind of preference that will be in congruence with the consumers VABEs such that will motivate a change in behavior thus ensuring greater patronage and loyalty, furthermore these preferences can be built through behavior modification, subconscious motivation, cognitive processing, model emulation, needs and mood association (Alreck and Settle, 1999). Perceived risks associated with physical damage to the hair and scalp is one of the major reasons why consumers avoid Topklass relaxer moreover the very weak ethnocentric behaviour among consumers contributed in no small measure as imported hair relaxers are perceived to be of higher quality than locally made ones. Hence apart from generating awareness for their brand, VIP Industries will need to change consumers perception about their brand by using various advertising and marketing tools that will make the brand more familiar thus generating stronger conversion and strengthening consumers ethnocentric behavior that will make them to proudly buy made in Nigeria products.

Table of Contents
i. Cover page ii. Executive Summary iii. Table of Contents 1. Introduction 1.1. Company Background 1.2. The Target Market 1.2.1. Demographic Segmentation 1.2.2. Psychographic Segmentation 1.2.3. Needs-Based Segmentation 1.3. Conclusion 2. Current Promotional Methods 2.1. Introduction 2.2. Analysis of Promotion 2.3. Conclusion 3. The Consumer - An In-depth look 3.1. Introduction 3.2. Consumer Market 3.3. Decision Making Process 3.3.1. Problem Recognition 3.3.2. Information Search 3.3.3. Evaluation of Alternatives 3.3.4. Making the Decision 3.4. Conclusion 4. Literature Review 4.1. Research Purpose 4.2. Literature Review Findings 4.3. Conclusion p. 6 p. 7 p. 8 p. 9 p. 9 p. 10 p. 11 p. 11 p. 11 p. 14 p. 16 p. 16 p. 17 p. 18 p. 19 p. 20 p. 20 p. 21 p. 21 p. 23 p. 23 p. 23 p. 26 p. 1 p. 2 p. 3 p. 5

5. Conclusion and Recommendations 5.1. Introduction 5.2. Research Findings 5.3. Recommendations 5.3. Conclusion 6. Appendices 7. References

p. 28 p. 28 p. 28 p. 31 p. 33 p. 34 p. 36

1.

Introduction

The role of advertising in the pursuance of organizations strategic and financial objectives through creating and sustaining competitive advantage cannot be overemphasized, while some school of thought believes that advertising is very useful todays contemporary society, others believe that advertising has become a nuisance as consumers are being bombarded with a lot of adverts at home, on the road, on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, on-line and on every available space around the consumer thereby intruding on their privacy; irrespective of what people might think about advertising, its objective is to create awareness about an existence for a need coupled with the aim of creating immediate impression (McMullan and Miller, 2009) that influence the way consumer perceive a brand/product by means of emphasizing the brand salient attribute that could lead to a change in the consumer perception, beliefs and attitude (Yi, 1992), hence advertising breaks the unspoken bond between the consumer and the organization (Shananan, 2006).

Consumers are at the heart of any organization marketing activities that are channel towards meeting and satisfying their needs, hence it is important for marketers and their advertisers to know and understand who they consumers are, why they buy, how they buy and where they buy. It is the aggregation of all these information that will enable the marketers to formulate strategies on how best to develop consumer value for their brand and the best channel to communicate these values to them. This communication should reflect the lifestyle and personality of the consumer within its socio-cultural environment; this was why Goffman (1976, cited in McMullan and Miller, 2009) stated

that advertising mirrors the personality of the consumer hence it will be difficult if not impossible to divorce advertising from the consumer cultural practices and social values.

Consumers purchase and consumption of a brand and its repeat purchase and consumption are success indicator of the marketing of organizations that have invested in conceptualizing, designing, producing, promoting and selling of its brand; hence it is necessary of organization to understand what motivates its consumer within their psychosocial and socio-cultural framework.

1.1. Company Background VIP Industries was founded as a private limited liability company by Mr. Dominic Umeh and commenced operation in 1994 at 34 Idowu Oshinfodunrin Street, Ire-Akari Estate, Isolo, Lagos, Nigeria; they specialized in the manufacture of range cosmetic and personal care products which they market under the brand name of Topklass and Viola that includes hair and bath shampoo, hair conditional, hair shampoo, oil moisturizers, weavon oil, hair relaxer among others; however focus of this paper will be on Topclass hair relaxer. As a result of the consistency they have shown in manufacturing high quality and standard products which is in line with their vision that states - to maintain an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction through quality products - their products are all approved and registered by the NAFDAC and SON.

VIP Industries Limited purpose of existence and their present business is to become a major player in the Nigeria cosmetic industry by developing brands that will be household names in the country and beyond, and they have succeeded in marketing their products across the length and breadth of Nigeria through a network of depots and distributors scattered all over the country thus becoming one of the major indigenous players in the Nigeria cosmetic industry. In recognition of their contributions towards uplifting the beauty of Nigeria lady and the Nigeria cosmetic industry in general, the company has won and received numerous awards from all over the country.

1.2. The Target Market Nigeria market is of great importance to VIP Industries Limited and it competitors comprising local manufacturers and importers of foreign brand due to the huge population of females that is estimated to be about 73.15m (CIA World Factbook, 2008) which is 49.02% of the total human population in Nigeria and it comprises both active and potential consumer of VIPs products. Targeting the male segment of the market is not an option for VIP industries as majority of men in Nigeria visit the barbing salon regularly to cut their hairs moreover mens hair care market is an under-explored and slow growing market accounting for less than 5% of global hair care sales in 2007 (Kirillov, 2008).

According to Kolter and Keller (2009, pp. 53) it is practically impossible for marketing organizations to meet the needs of everyone in the market profitably moreover such market is heterogeneity in nature making it difficult for organization to tailor their product

offering and advertising strategies to it hence it is important for them to select and segment market they want to sell to. As segmentation is a crucial element to a successful deployment of marketing mix management, there is a need for VIP Industries to segment it target market, however such target market needs to be measurable, accessible, differentiable, actionable and sustainable (Kotler and Armstrong, 2003 cited in Lee, Morrison and OLeary, 2006), this is in addition to durability, defensibility, homogeneity, compatibility and competitiveness as suggested by Morrison (2002 cited in Lee, Morrison and OLeary, 2006). It is with understanding of some of these criteria that VIP has chosen its target market which is articulated in a set of segmentation variables namely demographic, psychographic and need-based variables.

1.2.1. Demographics Segmentation The overall market for hair product is a huge market, dividing it into relevant and manageable segment allows for better development of segment-specific marketing and promotional strategies. Demographic segmentation for hair relaxer is done principally based on age and is rather homogenous as males do not relax their hair, hence females between the ages 15 60 which are 55.46% of the total female population in Nigeria are considered to be the prime target for hair relaxers as they are the group that have extra hedonic motives to look attractive and enhance their self esteem hence they are motivated to enhance their beauty; however Olasode (2009) reported a segment of ages 11 60, the difference in ages is cultural as some ethnic group will not allow girls below the ages of 15 to visit the salon as such practice is seen as a precursor to moral corruption. In spite of the fact that, females of all ethnic groups, social class and religion

all uses hair relaxers; however with the Nigeria society comprising lower class, lowermiddle, upper-middle and upper class, VIP Industries targets the lower class comprising the low income earners and grass-root females.

1.2.2. Psychographics Segmentation Psychographic data in conjunction with demographic data helps organizations to have a clear picture of what their target market look like and enables them to formulate an appropriate marketing and advertising strategy as consumers exhibit different personalities and lifestyles within the same demographics segment. The demographic target of VIP Industries cut across both urban and rural territories and since about 48% of target market are in the urban cities (CIA World Factbook, 2008), VIP concentrated its marketing efforts in the urban market as majority of the females in the rural villages plait their hair apparently due to cultural reasons and poor distribution of beauty salons which is a fall-out of the rural-urban migration and lack of electricity. The urban market comprises females with life-styles and personalities differences that explains their attitudes and behaviour towards the use of relaxers (Kergoat et al, 2010) hence while the professional career ladies, undergraduates, graduates and successful business ladies prefers the imported Relaxers, the artisans and market women prefers the locally manufactured ones.

1.2.3. Needs-Based Segmentation The way and manner Nigerian females transform their hair shaped by societal pressure

Hair types of Nigerian females is curly and is of basically three categories namely fine, medium and coarse, this determines the strength of hair relaxer to be used which could be mild, regular or super strength in that order. VIP manufactures just one strength type which is suitable for all types of hair. The use of hair relaxer by females cut across all ages but its use by career female who need to put up a corporate appearance at work is not negotiable as it has a direct bearing on their body image and self-esteem (Olasode, 2009), hence they are more of image-seekers than traditionalist that like to use brands they have heard of from other users.

1.3. Conclusion Current market performance of Topklass Relaxer indicate that despite VIP promotional efforts, consumers still prefer to buy other brands of relaxer, most especially imported ones based on the premise that they are not aware that VIP manufactures hair relaxer, in spite of VIP position that their relaxer is one of the best in terms of quality in Nigeria market. Since marketing is about creating, communicating and delivering superior value to customers (Kotler and Keller, 2009), in the face of proliferation of hair relaxer in the marketplace VIP will have to beyond relying on their current promotional strategy and the market success of their shampoo and hair conditional in ensuring that they not only communicate, but persuade the consumers to purchase, consume, repurchase and reconsume their hair relaxer, hence they will have to develop market and communication strategies that will reposition their brand of hair relaxer as a choice brand.

2.

Current Promotional Methods


2.1. Introduction

Though VIP Industries primarily engage in the manufacturing of cosmetics and personal care products under the brand name Topclass and Viola, knowing full well that their brand is more than a hair care product, it is beauty personified and a rational set of beauty dreams in the mind of their consumers, thus they consider their brand as a roadmap to increasing their visibility in the marketplace moreover it provides ample opportunities for creating value (Lisanti, 2009). The need to create brand equity is the basis of VIP Industries marketing activities and they utilizes a combination of promotional mix which according to Kotler and Keller (2009, pp. 513) is an integrated marketing communication strategy that includes three or more of the communication modes such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, events and experience, personal selling, word-of-mouth, personal selling and direct marketing to communicate the value of their brand; nevertheless VIP employ the use of print adverts, posters, event sponsorship, sales promotion, merchandising, word-of-mouth and promotion through distributors to ensure message consistency, build brand equity and generate greater sales impact.

2.2. Analysis of Promotion The thrust of VIP industries communication strategy is their tagline Nothings suits your hair better hence they try position their range of hair care products as the best for Nigeria ladies.VIP Industries wanted to do more than to selling hair care products, they wanted to change the way ladies perceive locally made hair care products and allow

them experience of feeling of being beautiful since ladies had to rely on imported hair care products before they can experience this feeling unfortunately they have not done enough in this regards. Nevertheless, VIP Industries tries to get their consumers involve by appealing to their five senses so that they can have a good perception of their brand, which according to Syverson (2006) is likely to lead to double brand awareness and strengthen the impression the brand leaves on the conscious and sub-conscious mind of their consumers.

Every Nigerian lady wants to look attractive and it is believed that having long straight hairs that can be styled like their western counterparts will enhance their attractiveness as their traditional hair is curly and difficult to comb, hence they prefer to undergo a beatification process by using hair relaxer to straighten their curly hair such that it will be easy to comb and style; this is the schema of an average Nigeria lady since she prides herself in her hairstyle (Olasode, 2009). All the promotional activities of VIP Industries apart from building brand equity, is intended to generate enough sensation that will trigger off and aid brand perception building process. The intrinsic symbols such as the product itself, packaging, appearance and the extrinsic symbols such as brand name, quality, price and marketing efforts all influences perception of VIP Industries products by consumers hence most of their promotion effort is based on working on the extrinsic symbols and signs such that significant and favourable perception can be produced (Ailawadi and Keller, 2004 cited in Chen and Shergill, 2008) that will lead to purchase and repeated purchase.

Though VIP does not advertise in the electronic media such as radio and Television, they however sponsor fashion television and radio programs related to hair beauty on these media, in addition they however occasionally advertise (Appendix 1) in fashion and soft sell magazines so as to reinforce consumers memory of their products with repeated exposure. They utilize posters (Appendix 11) that are pasted in many hairdressing salons and retails outlets as they are in an ideal position to transfer the positive brand image to their consumers (Schmitt, 2003 cited in Chen and Shergill, 2008). Since Nigerian ladies do not make their rational purchase decision based on adverts alone, VIP print adverts uses more of imagery so as to appeal to their consumers emotional needs, the absence of product information is to prompt consumers to perceive the message totality and to seek additional either from their memory or from other sources such as retailers or/and hairdressers. The idea is to get consumers involve and to discover product attributes (Pinson, 1986) towards forming a perception that will not only lead to a purchase decision but aid recognition and recall of their brand in future even if no immediate purchase is made on exposure.

By sponsoring the events of the beauty sub-sector of the fashion industries, VIP Industries objective is to use this mode of promotion to reinforce brand familiarity and build brand association, increase market share and open up opportunities for the development of relations between hair-dressers and their employees (Lough et al, 2000 cited in Papadimitriou, Apostolopoulou and Dounis, 2008) moreover such sponsorship creates an avenue for meaningful interaction with consumers (Papadimitriou, Apostolopoulou and Dounis, 2008), enables them to achieve a better consumer

connection and demonstrate the practical application of their products (Johnson, 2008) therefore creating a favourable brand impression as consumers will be to able apply all their multi-sensory receptors to better evaluate the quality of Topklass brand. Other benefits of event sponsorship such as goodwill created and good public relations image can be leveraged upon during their word-of mouth promotion as Nigerian ladies before they try any hair relaxers want to hear from one or two consumers who have had experience with such product or from their hairdresser; the overall effect of this is a favourable perception on part of the consumers. 2.3. Conclusion Consumers commitment to purchase and consume a product after been exposed to promotion stimuli or his ability to recall a brand whenever the need arises is an indication that the promotion activities of the company is effective as they have been able to successfully persuade and convince consumers which is a fallout of how the organization has been able to shape and influence consumer perception. Has VIP succeeded in influencing consumers perception either positively or negatively through their promotional activities? I would say yes and no; YES - because VIP has succeeded in increasing the awareness their shampoo, pink oil and hair condition in the Nigeria hair-care industry and NO - because they are still lagging behind in the hair-relaxer sector. While majority of the consumers I spoke with in Lagos were able to recall the Topclass brand with little or no effort they find it difficult to remember if VIP produces hair-relaxer or not. This is not surprising because of VIP strategy of collectively promoting all their products; hence future promotion activities should be focused on promoting their brand of hair-relaxer without compromising current promotion activities

so as to continue to build brand equity. Moreover, studies have shown that repeated promotions most especially sales promotion will eventually diminish brand equity (Mela, Ataman, and Van Heerde, 2006 cited in Valette-Florence, Guizani and Merunka, 2009) therefore they have to ensure that they continue to study the market so as to have a realistic picture and understanding of who their consumer are, what they want, how best and the most effective ways to reach them.

3.

The Consumer - An In-Depth Look


3.1. Introduction

The prime market target for hair-relaxer is based on female consumers between the ages 11 60 (Olasode, 2009), this segment despite the gender homogeneity is heterogeneous due to the fact that ladies within the demographic age group have different lifestyles and personality which play an important role in shaping their selfconcept and the way they want people to perceive them. The primary motivation for consumers to want to use hair relaxer is their need to have a beautiful hair as opposed to their natural, coarse, curly, stubborn hair that will not enhance their appearance and personality, thus satisfying their psychosocial needs, which according to Tauber (1972, cited in Jamal et al, 2006) comprises their personal and social desires. While the consumers degree of motivation to buy and consume hair relaxers varies and is a function of the psychographics of the consumers, consuming Topklass brand is a function of social class based demographics and psychographics hence motivating factor alone is not enough. It is paramount for VIP Industries to have good understanding of their consumers, how and why they buy hair relaxer, (Lu, 2003 cited in Wagner et al, n. d.) their value and attitude toward caring for their hair so that they can adapt their brand to not only meet their consumers need but to be congruent with their VABEs and schemas; moreover identifying and segmenting consumers into groups will enable VIP Industries to formulate and implement a more effective and profitable marketing communication strategies.

3.2. Consumer Market Based on Nigerias generational cohort, the consumer market for hair relaxer comprises the Nexters, Baby busters, and Baby boomers. The Nexter cohort A consumers market comprises females who are yet to

attain young adulthood and are between 10 to 17 years, this group of consumers apart from having little or no disposable and discretionary income rely on their mothers to buy their hair relaxer, their major motivation is attractiveness within their socio-cultural settings hence visit to the salon is regular but not weekly. The brand of hair relaxers they use and their visit to the salon is usually determined by their mothers. The Nexter cohort B consumers market comprises females nexters who are just

attaining young adulthood and are between 18 to 29 years, this sub-cohort are considered the most active in the beauty industry as they are driven by the motivation to assert their femininity to the opposite gender, also their psychosocial need is very high, as this age offer ladies the opportunity to establish their status in the society; hence to enhance their societal acceptability, they attach so much value to their physical appearance thus making visit to the salon a weekly affair. Due to their similarity of needs, I have combined the baby buster and boomers as

one group, while the Baby busters comprise female consumers of ages 32 to 45, the baby boomers are of ages 46 and 66. Consumers in this cohorts are already settled into their career and their respective family life hence lie their focus, they still recognize the need to look beautiful but due to their career and marital responsibilities, hence they tend to look for alternative hair style such as weaving

and braiding that will reduce their weekly visit to the salon and as they advance in age the zeal to visit the salon diminishes.

One other major demographic variable used to classify consumers is social class which is a function of income and educational background and this comprises the upper, upper-middle, lower-middle and lower class; motivation is the same across social class but while value varies according to cohort groupings, attitude towards brands vary according to the social class. Thus the upper, upper-middle and lower-middle class usually rely on imported brands because apart from the fact that it is affordable for them, consumers ethnocentricity is very weak as they perceived the imported brands to be of superior quality unlike the local brands such as Topklass, and Ozone that are manufactured in Nigeria (Okechuku and Onyemah, 1999). Consumers in the lower class, on the other hand perceives Topklass to be of high quality moreover it is affordable for them unlike the imported ones.

Based on the above, I think that VIP Industries should focus their market on the nexters and baby busters in the lower class.

3.3. Decision Making Process One of the biggest consumer challenges facing VIP industries is knowing their consumers very well such as their preferences, who takes the decision and who influences it, as this give them a better insight into their purchase behavior. Many female consumers have a good knowledge of what they want, however they lack the

insight about their own preferences (Riquelme, 2001). Consumers may engage in purchase behaviour either to solve a problem, to create experiential feelings or to react to social pressure such as cohort influences (Mowen, 1988) hence the onus is on VIP Industries to tailor their brand of relaxer not only to meet the purchase objectives of their consumers but to appeal to both the decision makers and the decision influencers vis-vis their VABEs. In arriving at a buying decision, a consumer usually goes through several phases in the buying process starting with the recognition of the problem, information search, evaluation of alternatives and making the purchase (Solomon et al, 2010) and post-purchase evaluation, however it is not all consumers decisions that follow this process, while some decisions are heuristically taken, some are impulsively taken and this depends on the environmental context within which the purchase is made and the product type coupled with the inherent value (Ligas, 2000). Topklass hair relaxer and other similar brands are functional products that are used repeatedly by consumers to achieve a desired end which is to chemically straighten their hair; hence decision taking usually does not follow the afore-mentioned process except when the consumer wants to change their brand of hair relaxer which hardly happens. Olasode (2009) stated that about 78% of Nigerians adhere strictly to one brand of hair relaxer on a continual basis and they change if their brand no longer meets their expectations or is no longer in the market.

3.3.1. Problem Recognition This is the starting point of any purchase decision, and is initiated with the regeneration of under-growth hairs which make the consumers hair looks lackluster, rough and

difficult to comb, this appearance makes the female consumer less attractive thus negatively affecting her self-esteem and creating tension that needs to be resolved. At times, a problem may also be recognized when the consumer is fed up with the style on her head even without the presence of undergrowth hair and this is common among the nexters.

3.3.2. Information Search It is not necessary that consumers of hair relaxers go through this stage because as a regular functional product, consumers already have relaxers they are using having been introduced to them by their mothers, friends or family members. However if there is a need to change hair relaxer, the consumers circle of family, social network and their hair-dressers are usually the reliable sources of information because exposure to adverts is not enough to generate stimuli that will influence the consumers choice though it will create awareness that will come in handy during the evaluation of alternatives. Moreover, information gathered will assist in reducing the consumers perceived risk which according to Olasode (2009) includes scalp burn, loss of hair, hair breakage, hair discolouration and itchy scalp; and the hair relaxer that is not likely to cause these damages is most likely to be considered.

3.3.3. Evaluation of Alternatives Due to the chemical nature of hair relaxers, consumers are not motivated to process complex information, rather they rely on the information gathered from social and family network and brand experiences of their hair-dressers to consider all available

alternatives; moreover due to the low involvement of the consumers in assessing product quality, heuristic indicators are often used to evaluate the quality of hair relaxer as a means of reducing perceived risks of purchase (Dawar and Parker, 1994 cited in Hansen, 2005). Other evaluative criteria that will be considered by consumers are country of origin, price, product effectiveness and risk of usage.

3.3.4. Making the Decision Consumers attitude towards hair relaxers is behavioural and not due to cognitive information processing as consumers will, based on information gathered, form a belief which will cause them to buy and use the hair-relaxer after which they will carry out an evaluation which is based on the relaxers effectiveness and its ability in not causing hair and scalp damage. Once the relaxer meets the expectation of the consumer, her loyalty to the brand will become a life-long relationship except if the brand fails or if a new and better alternative is introduced into the market.

3.4. Conclusion Consumers buying decision is quite a complex process that involves a number of perceptions (Hansen, 2005) and in line with the above consumer behavioural analysis it has become imperative for VIP Industries not only to continually develop its consumers behavior competencies but to continually to consider strategies that will endear the Nexters and Baby busters to its brand, moreover their brand offerings coupled with their communication message should be such that will appeal to their utilitarian and experiential needs which will encourage a trial of their hair relaxer. Consumers attached a lot of emotions to their hairs hence VIP Industries should further focus on the

personality and other responses that may negatively affect the emotions of their consumers so that they dont lose them to competition.

4.

Literature Review
4.1. Research Purpose

The hair care sub-sector of the Nigeria cosmetics industry comprises shampoo, conditioners, styling agents, perms and relaxants, and 2-in-1 products, with perms and relaxants, styling agents, shampoo and conditioners contributing around 52%, 35% 6.67% and 5.6% respectively to annual market turnover which is estimated to be in the region of N7.858 billion ($52.39m) as at 2008 (Euromonitor, 2009). Though Topklass hair shampoo and conditioners have a strong presence in Lagos state and some states in the Eastern and Northern parts of the country, their brand of relaxer is unknown. Why would consumers who have been used to purchasing and consuming Topklass shampoo and conditioner not purchase and consume their relaxant? Why would VIP Industries not concentrate their marketing efforts on products that contribute a significant percentage to market turnover? Is it a matter of product quality or insufficient awareness? The main purpose of this research is to try and understand the behavior of consumers towards the purchase and consumption of Topklass relaxant vis--vis VIP Industries marketing activities.

4.2. Literature Review Findings There is no denying the fact that a good amount of research studies have been conducted on the subject of perceived risk being one of the earliest and most generally accepted principle of consumer behavior (Verhage et al, 1990), however in spite of the critical role research have played in the understanding of consumer behaviour, studies into perceived risk in low-involvement products consumption vis--vis consumer

purchase decision seems to be limited which Quintal et al (2009) attributed to definitional and operation inconsistency; Hart and Stapleton (1992, cited in Gbadamosi, 2009) alluded to the impulse nature of low-involvement products which make consumers to purchase without any prior cognitive effort thus making it insignificant, moreover Gbadamosi (2009) attributed this insignificance to the fact that acquisition costs and benefits are low. Whilst several arguments have been posited to support this assertion, Ratchford (1987 cited in Bosnjak and Rudolph, 2008) stated consumer involvement in product depends on the degree of personal value to the consumer, the amount of perceived risk and the amount of cognitive effort invested in making a purchase decision.

Although researchers have linked perceived risk to different type of potential losses, with financial, functional, physical, social and psychological risks being identified (Solomon et al, 2010) however physical risk poses a major hazard to consumers of hair relaxer and this varies from across consumers. This variation was explained by Chaudhuri (1998) from an emotional dimension in his study, he concluded that negative and positive emotional factors plays a considerable role as moderator in consumer purchase behavior and they account significantly for the variation observed. Nevertheless, Olasode (2009) listed the physical risks as burnt scalp, itchy scalp, allergic reaction to the relaxant chemicals, weakening of hair shaft, hair discolouration and dandruff; thus while some low-involvement product such as chocolate requires minimal or no cognitive effort in purchase decision (Bosnjak and Rudolph, 2008) due to the very low perceived risk, hair relaxants will require some degree of cognitive efforts

due to its high perceived risk. In view of this high risk, what then motivates consumers to consume this product? Quintal et al (2009, citing Lam and Hsu, 2006) stated that consumer will engage in high risk purchase behavior if they believe that the behaviour will lead to a valued outcome, have the support and approval of their reference and social network group and have the necessary opportunities and resource capabilities to carry out such

behavior.

Whilst Verhage et al (1990) citing Bauer (1960) stated that consumers are concerned about the inability of the products to meet their needs and the consequences of the product failure in their purchase decision making process; Kim et al (2002) took the argument further by stating that consumers may choose a particular product not only because of its endowed utilitarian benefits but because it expresses the consumer personality; hence the consumer desires to make her hair more manageable for styling that will enhance her acceptability in the social environment is assumed to be the main motivation. In any purchase decision making process consumers are usually faced with two or more alternatives, each with varying degree of risk since all brand of hair relaxer due to their chemical nature carries risk that are inherent in them (Olasode, 2009) and this will play a crucial role in the consumers purchase decision making. So how does the consumer respond this perceived risk?

Several studies have proposed various consumer responses among which is brand loyalty in which the consumer repeatedly purchased trusted and tried brand as a way of

reducing perceived risk (Ross, 1975 cited in Verhage et al, 1990), however study conducted by Verhage et al, (1990) concluded that brand loyalty cannot be used as a perceived risk reduction strategy as it correlated negatively with perceived risk thus repeated purchase of the same brand is not capable of reducing perceived risk; they suggested that marketers should supply consumer with adequate information and evidences to encourage behavior intent which might lead to purchase. However, in country where ethnocentrism is very weak such as Nigeria, Okechuku and Onyemah (1999) stated that consumers will often used country-of-origin as a perceived risk reduction tactics as they consider it more important than price and other intrinsic and extrinsic product attributes. Okechuku and Onyemahs findings was however collaborated by Ahmed et al (2004) whose result showed that country-of-origin does matters in low-involvement products but in the presence of other products attributes such as strong brand name and favourable pricing, the power of country-of-origin becomes weak and brand become the determining factor in reducing the level of perceived risk which is enough to convert consumers purchase intent into actual purchase. Similarly, low income women whose major purchase motivation is price and value for money shows less inclination to country-of-origin hence are not loyal to any brand (Gbadamosi, 2009).

4.3. Conclusion It has been observed that perceived risk does have an impact on consumer purchase behavior intent and subsequent purchase most especially in low-involvement products such as hair relaxant that is characterized by routine purchase behavoiur (Gbadamosi,

2009), moreover peoples opinion greatly influences consumers purchase hence advertising such be such that will create awareness and reinforce habit coupled with the propagation of word-of-mouth marketing which Verhage et al, (1990) have been found to be an effective strategy of inducing purchase of low-involvement product. VIP Industries might have to look at these marketing options along with other recommendations in the next chapter with a view of having a good understanding of how their target consumers perceived and handled risks associated in purchasing and consuming their Topklass relaxer and the concomitant motivating factors, as this will enable them develop an appropriate marketing and promotion strategy.

5.

Conclusion and Recommendations


5.1. Introduction

The main objective of this research is to explore why VIP Industries was yet to capture a good share of the hair relaxant market in spite of the numerous opportunities and huge market potential of about N7.858 billion (Euromonitor, 2009) even in their very strong area of shampoo and hair conditioner they are not among the top national 25 players as they account for below 0.05% of the total market share in Nigeria (Euromonitor, 2009). It is an indication that VIP Industries current promotional methods that include advertising in fashion magazines, sales promotion, merchandising, event sponsorship, trade fair, word-of-mouth and promotion through distributors are not sufficient to position their brand of hair relaxer and other hair products in the market vis--vis their consumers needs, its either that VIP Industries does not have a good insight about the needs of their consumers or do not know how best to communicate with them effectively and efficiently. A good understanding of their consumer VABEs, perceived risk of consuming their hair relaxers coupled with their overall perception and how purchase decision is being taken in face of this risk is a critical knowledge VIP industries needed so as to be able to craft and tailor their communication messages that will not only be applicable but will influence and motivate consumers into purchasing.

5.2. Research Findings To develop a successful product, marketers must make their brand distinctive, create and build brand awareness coupled with reaching consumers heart and mind, and encouraging them to develop a preference for the brand; creating awareness for

Topklass brand of hair relaxer is a critical promotional activity for VIP Industries because it is usually the consumers first step in its readiness to develop brand preference thus moving closer to purchase (Ross and Harradine, 2004 cited in Radder and Huang, 2008) since consumers must be aware of a brand before she can purchase it. While perceptions of VIP Industries hair relaxer has been found to differ significantly among consumers of different social class which in turn affects their value and purchase behaviour, such perceptions is crucial during the purchase decision process, however, it was revealed during my research that physical risk perceptions is the most critical determinant influencing consumers behaviour towards Topklasss hair relaxer. Hence VIP Industries faces the challenge of getting consumers to build association with its brand despite their concerns about the perceived risks and the utilitarian effect of Topklass relaxer on their hair (Solomon et al, 2010, pp. 86).

As mentioned earlier, VIP Industries current marketing and promotional activities is not well suited enough to address these consumers concerns which is partly responsible for their present situation in the hair relaxer market; ordinarily hair relaxer being a habitual and low-involvement product is suppose to be less affected by consumers peers and social network but because of its high perceived risk, it is subject to the influence of the consumers peers and social network vis--vis their self-concept. In the Nigeria society where the tendency of allocentrism is very high due to the countrys collectivistic cultural values (Hofstede, n. d.), consumer tend to define their self-concept in relation to others; however this tendency shows more in the consumers in-groups such as friend and family (Hui, 1988, cited in Huang et al, 2008) which incidentally are

the primary source of information that will aid the consumers in evaluating Topklass hair relaxer and thus build brand image. Consequently consumers use brand image as a criterion for evaluating product, while they use brand familiarity as a heuristic in purchase decision (Hoyer and Brown, 1990 cited in Radder and Huang, 2008) which is enough to initiate purchase; unfortunately for VIP Industries, all their marketing efforts rather than building brand image and familiarity for their hair relaxer, built brand image and familiarity for their shampoo and hair conditioner due to the very low perceived risk associated with these products. If VIP had in their marketing communication addressed the consumers perceived risk concerns associated with their hair relaxers they might have succeeded moreover many of the important marketing stimuli were not applied (Solomon et al, 2010, pp. 279) as they relied heavily on sales promotion and merchandizing which are all restricted to Lagos State coupled with trade fairs attendance.

VIP Industries practice of grouping their brand of product as shown in appendix 1 and 11 does not provide enough stimuli for consumer to process information thus to encourage brand association, in addition no room is given for Topklass hair relaxer to be positioned; whereas, the ability of marketing and advertising stimuli to attract the attention of consumers is a prerequisite for consumer to process information about brands they come in contact with, but this depends on how well the brand is positioned and categorized, as it afford the consumer the opportunity to compare Topklass hair relaxer with other competing products using similar criteria (Solomon et al, 2010).

5.3. Recommendations Todays era of hyper-competition coupled with the dynamism in consumer behavior demand an exceptional higher level of knowledge about the consumers in terms of what they need, when, how, and how often they want the offerings (Gbadamosi, 2009), thus this CAP has deepened my understanding on consumers VABEs and motivation vis-vis perceived risks of Topklass hair relaxers which is a locally manufactured lowinvolvement product, within this framework, it behooves VIP Industries to plan their marketing and promotional strategies in such a way that will make their marketing stimuli align with the behavioural response of their target consumers so as to evoke purchase. Solomon et al (2010) stated that companies marketing low-involvement

products must utilize as many important stimuli as possible so as to induce consumer purchase; nevertheless creating brand awareness, reinforcing hair straightening habits (Gbadamosi, 2009) and addressing the perceived risk anxiety should be at the heart of VIP Industries marketing activities because consumers have the option of plating, weaving or braiding their hair if the perceived risk anxiety is not addressed.

Hence the first task of VIP industries is to rebrand and create awareness for their Topklass hair relaxers while simultaneously addressing the perceived risk worry. Rebranding will entail repacking Topklass in a small, aesthetics cardboard box that is design in such a way that will appeal to the consumers hedonistic needs and contain little information that will that will assuage the perceived risk, since consumers lacks the motivation to seek and process complex information, rather they rely on extrinsic cue (Gbadamosi, 2009) or heuristics (Grimes, 2008) or their social network (Kuenzel and

Musters, 2007) to arrive at a purchase decision, moreover consumers lack the stimulus to actively evaluate alternatives (Gbadamosi, 2009) as physical risk is similar across brands. Advertising of Topklass relaxer in soft sell magazine with a wide national circulation should be embark upon, and message should be framed in such a way that will recognize differences in consumers information need and appeal to consumers across demographic and generational cohort segments, posters that will be distributed and pasted at hairdressing salons, wholesale and retail outlets should also be implemented as this will not only create and build awareness but will trigger word-ofmouth and point-of-sale advertising, moreover repeated visual exposure will increase brand familiarity which Keller (2003 cited in Kuenzel and Musters, 2007) reported will result in consumers having experienced the brand because the entrenched brand name in the memory of the consumer will aid brand recognition and recall thus enhancing brand equity (Aaker, 2002, pp. 17). Due to the fragmentation of the electronic media coupled with inadequate access to electricity, I would not recommend television advertising rather VIP industries should devote effort in sponsoring fashion and beauty programs with special emphasis on their relaxer; getting involve in undergraduates social events at colligate level and organizing event marketing such as beauty pageant, publicity and merchandizing, apart from being able to influence consumers perception and feeling, will build consumer experience and brand association. Unknown faces used for VIP Industries advert did little to position their brand in the market hence popular actresses and female musicians should be use to endorse Topklass relaxer to persuade consumers to change their present VABEs towards it, besides brand will be better position in the marketplace (Solomon et al, 2010,

pp. 286, 298) while conveying archetypal meaning to the consumers. Consumers in the lower income segment of the market are highly motivated in getting value for money when making habitual purchase (Gbadamosi, 2009) hence VIP Industries sales promotion should include promotional price reductions, gifts and salon displays to encourage consumer to switch brand.

5.4. Conclusion The major aim of any marketers is to build a relationship with its brand and consumers, which goes beyond just making sales (Alreck and Settle, 1999), and hair relaxer being a product that requires regular usage, consumers tend to purchase brands that they are most familiar with either due to frequent consumption or popularity of the brand in the marketplace (Ahmed et al, 2004) hence it is imperative for VIP Industries to approach the market with a total communication package that will not only address all consumption concerns of the consumer vis--vis her VABEs but with the aim of forming a strong bond with its consumers such that their passive consumers are persuaded to active and loyal consumers through creating brand awareness and familiarity.

Appendix 1

VIP Industries magazine Advert

Appendix 11

VIP Industries Poster

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