University of Exeter
Module Convenor: Dr Katerina Karanika
Due Date: Monday 18 May 2020
Materials to be supplied: None
Answer both of the following two essays using module theories and consumer
behaviour concepts and examples.
The word limit for each essay is 1,000 words (+ 10%). Each essay will count for
35% of the overall mark. Both essays should be typed with a font size of 12, 1.5
spacing. The structure of each essay should include an introduction, main
body and a conclusion. The essays may be supported by visual or magazine
material, as appropriate. The reference list is not included in the word limit but
in-text citations are included in the word count.
1. “Consider your personal relationship to products, services and brands.
Select a product or service or brand that you are absolutely positive
about. How would you characterize your relationship to that
product/service/brand? Select another product, service or brand that
you are absolutely negative about; what is your relationship to that?
Which personal and cultural factors might explain your relationships to
these products, services or brands? Provide relevant recommendations
to marketers (and if applicable to public policy makers) based on your
2. “Critically discuss how technology and the internet affect consumer
behaviour and the extent to which technology and the internet empower
consumers. Use examples that are relevant to the field of marketing and
consumer behaviour to illustrate your answer”.
The answers will be assessed based on the following five marking criteria that
carry equal weight:
ESSAY MARKING CRITERIA
Argument and logical analysis A B C D F
Use of recommended and other
A B C D F
Use of appropriate examples A B C D F
Quality of conclusions A B C D F
Structure, style and presentation A B C D F
A = 70% and above
B = 60-69%
C = 50-59%
D = 40-49%
F = below 39%
More specifically, the students should consider the following:
Argument & logical analysis (quality of content, logical argument to respond to
set questions, justification of arguments, depth of analysis, critical reasoning and
Use of recommended and other material (powerful application of relevant
module theory and relevant information)
Use of appropriate examples (use of current, contemporary examples that
demonstrate the application of your understanding)
Quality of conclusions (the conclusion should be well developed and explained
in a clear and analytical way; highlight the main essence of your work and
provide relevant recommendations to marketers and if applicable to public policy
makers based on the preceding discussion)
Structure, style & presentation (well-developed introduction, main body and
conclusion, suitable use of sub-headings, logical argument flow, clarity of
expression, suitable use of references based on APA referencing)
In today’s world of advanced technology, it is accepted that consumption has become part of our everyday life, and that our unique practices and habits impact our choices of consumption, thus our lifestyles. The differences of our rituals and norms directly impact our consumption patterns which allows marketers to implement their strategies accordingly. Due to strong cultural and personal factors, over a period of time, a brand relationship is created between both parties and even personal relationship with brands, products and services. As an individual, I have my own distinctive norms, rituals and cultural differences that impact my consumption pattern and brand relationships. In this essay, I will talk about my own personal relationship with a brand that I am happy with and with a product that negatively affects me. Moreover, this essay will provide relevant and applicable recommendations for marketers to achieve a better outcome.
Over a period of time, consumers develop a personal relationship with the brands that they are attached to throughout their life. Brand relationship is the repeated interactions between a brand and a customer that start to reflect similar characteristics of relationships between people, such as love, connection, interdependence, intimacy, and commitment (KWHS, 2020). The brand that made dramatic change in my lifestyle is Riverford. Riverford is an organic farm and UK-wide organic vegetable box delivery company founded by Guy Singh-Watson. All produce from Riverford is 100% organic and healthy. As everything is fresh from the farm, contents are seasonal and change every week. After discovering Riverford, I knew that it was a great opportunity for me to improve my health and diet. It is unfortunate how culture production systems have been promoting large and/or fast food companies for the past decades by making it an enacted norm. However, because of strong crescive norms that I have acquired from my background and country, I was able to take control of my diet and restrain myself from my desires which dramatically improved my health. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions of countries, Azerbaijan, with a low score of 16 on “Indulgence vs Restraint” dimension, can be said to be a very restrained society. It means that we control the gratification of our desires and that our actions are kind of restrained by social norms. This cultural difference is an important factor that made my relationship with Riverford stronger. As I was beginning to realise the positive impacts and the convenience of the brand, I was getting more and more passionate about this relationship which led me to be more personally committed to the brand. Throughout my life, I have always thrived to focus on my well being and be the best version of myself which made me realise there was a self-concept connection with the brand. I believe these relationship dimensions of BRQ model (Fournier, 1998) will lead to a greater positive outcome from this brand relationship.
Furthermore, I would encourage marketers to focus on advertising this type of brands and to specifically target a demographic segmentation of people between the age of 4-21. Even though Riverford marketers are doing a great job with their physical advertising in the UK, I would recommend them to focus on advertising more on social media platforms for the age demographic I mentioned.
In today’s fast-moving world it is impracticable to imagine our day-to-day life without our smartphones. It has become a substitute for most of the things we use and a convenient means of communication. It has almost become a necessity no matter of your cultural difference or personal factors. However, in some cases, because of strong cultural dimensions in some societies the usage and importance may differ. According to Roth (1995) the services that place emphasis on variety and hedonistic experiences can generate value to an individualist society like Azerbaijan, which is one of the cultural factors that affects my usage. Also, Strabub et al., (1997) found that high power distance and collectivist societies would reject the communication media which do not support the social pressures. (Kumudesh, 2012). Even though I use my iPhone for entertainment purposes most of the time, I also fulfil my utilitarian needs. I have had a membership for Apple Developer Program for 2 years now and now I am starting to enjoy loyalty benefits which makes me more passionate about coding on my iPhone. This implies that in respect to Brand connection matrix of (Fetscherin & Heinrich, 2014), considering the fact that I have high emotional and functional connection for my iPhone, I am fully invested in it.
However, being fully invested in my phone has its own negative consequences for me such as decreased attention,insomnia and headaches. In a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, researchers found out that there is a direct link between the psychosocial aspects of cell phone use and mental health symptoms in young adults after a one year follow up (Borelli, 2013). Therefore, marketers and culture production systems (CPS) should be aware of this consequences and act more cautiously when making smartphones part of our everyday life. The communication sub-systems of a CPSs and marketers should try to inspire a lifestyle for the new generations where smartphones are not used as a substitute for everything. Finally, users should be constantly informed about the negative outcomes of high usage such as cancer and brain tumor.
To conclude, it is distinguiashble that there are unique cultural and personal factors that affect our behaviour and consumption. That’s why it is extremely vital to have healthy brand relationships because inevitably, brand relationships become part of our everyday life. Although our crescive norms heavily reflect our consumption pattern, it is quite crucial to be able to determine what’s best for us.
Brand Relationship – Definition from KWHS. (2011). Retrieved 16 May 2020, from https://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/term/brand-relationship/
1 BRQ Model. Fournier (1998). Retrieved 16 May 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/figure/BRQ-Model-Source-Fournier-1998_fig1_278689747
Borelli, L. (2013). 5 Reasons Why Cellphones Are Bad For Your Health. Retrieved 16 May 2020, from
Report, N. (2008). Research Shows the Impact of the Internet on Consumer Behavior. Retrieved 17 May 2020, from https://www.govtech.com/e-government/Research-Shows-the-Impact.html
In recent years, advancement of digital tools has led to a renewed energy about consumption that ultimately benefits both consumers and companies. The growth of e-commerce and social media platforms, have transformed shoppers into active creators and distributors of product information and opinions.
While consumers see the clear benefits of the Internet on their lives, they continue to have concerns about internet safety and the trustworthiness of some online information. In the UK, 66 percent of online consumers say the Internet helps them make better decisions, but just 28 percent trust the information companies provide on the Internet. (Fleishman Hillard, 2008)