Definition

Hierarchy-of-Effects Theory

  • Updated on

What is the Hierarchy of affect theory?

The hierarchy of effect theory was introduced by Gary A. Steiner and Robert J. Lavidge in 1961 through their article “A Model for Predictive Measurements of Advertising Effectiveness.”

The hierarchy of effect theory shows the effect of advertising on the purchase decision of a consumer. The hierarchy indicates the experience a customer goes through while making a purchase decision because of the advertisement. The theory is used by the advertising agencies for a particular product for which a series of advertising messages are created, and successive objective is implemented until the purchase is made by the customer. The objective of an advertising campaign is to create awareness, increase the knowledge of the customers, make customers like the product, change their preferences, remove all the doubts regarding the product until finally the product is purchased by the consumer.

Hierarchy of effect model is an advertising strategy which helps in executing sales through persuasive and well-developed messages, which are built with the aim of creating brand awareness. Most of the companies prefer to conduct an immediate purchase, however, the companies who are employing this strategy acknowledge the fact that consumers will take time in making a purchase decision. Chiefly, the advertiser guides the customer through all the stages of the theory.

The combination of behaviours is adjoint with the hierarchy of effect theory, that is, cognitive, affective, and conative behaviour, or think, feel and do.

 

Summary
  • The hierarchy of effect theory was introduced by Gary A. Steiner and Robert J. Lavidge in 1961 through their article “A Model for Predictive Measurements of Advertising Effectiveness.”
  • The hierarchy of effect theory shows the effect of advertising on the purchase decision of a consumer. The hierarchy indicates the experience a customer goes through while making a purchase decision because of the advertisement.
  • The objective of an advertising campaign is to create awareness, increase the knowledge of the customers, make customers like the product, change their preferences, remove all the doubts regarding the product and lastly the product is purchased by the consumer.
  • Hierarchy of effect model is an advertising strategy which helps in executing sales through persuasive and well-developed messages, which are built with the aim of creating brand awareness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Hierarchy of affect theory?

What are the steps of the hierarchy of effects?

There are six steps in the hierarchy of effect theory:

Awareness – This is the most crucial and first step of advertisement, that is, brands must make sure that their targeted audience is aware of the presence of the brand in the market and within a particular market segment. For instance, if a consumer wants to purchase a pair of shoes, then Adidas will make sure that the consumer is aware of the brand named Adidas which is engaged in selling shoes.

Knowledge – At this stage, the consumer will conduct a comparison between the brands. Therefore, brands must make sure that accurate and positive knowledge is made available among the targeted customers through different market touchpoints such as the internet, broadcasting advertisements, maintaining a positive public image, product packaging, positive product reviews and so on. For instance, the consumer of shoes must be able to differentiate Adidas from the rest of the shoe brands and acknowledge the unique features offered by the brand.

Liking – At this step, the consumer must build a liking towards the product. The role of the advertising agency is to make the brand prominent in the eyes of the consumers by taking into consideration the emotional aspect. For instance, the customer of shoes will assess the pros and cons of buying Adidas shoes and might feel that his purpose of buying shoes is not fulfilled by the brand. At this point, it is the responsibility of the brand to establish an emotional connection between the customer and the brand.

Preferences – Before this stage, a customer might be convinced to make a purchase but is not 100% sure about his/her decision as they see advantages in buying a competitive brand too. At this point, the role of the brand is to prioritise itself in the eyes of the consumer by highlighting the unique selling points and differentiating the product. Points should ensure that your brand is liked by the customer. For instance, a customer is considering buying Adidas, but will he/she buy it once or repeat the buying decision.

Conviction – After making the brand preference in the eyes of the customers, the customer’s opinion about making a purchase should be converted into action. The step can be combined with the test drives, free samples and so on. It is a crucial step as after testing the sample, the consumer might switch to the competitive brand. For instance, the consumer of Adidas tries out the shoes in the retail outlet. However, after visiting the outlet he/ she is not satisfied with the product and might switch to Puma.

Purchase – The success of the advertising is dependent upon the final purchase decision of the consumer. It is the responsibility of the marketing department to ensure that the buying experience is enjoyable for the consumers and ease should be added. The purchase can be made enjoyable and easy by providing multiple payment options, access to the predict, easy to understand instructions and services to help the user utilize the product thoroughly (in case of the technical product). For instance, if the consumer has decided to buy, then the consumer can make a purchase from multiple sources (online and retail) and can use multiple options to make the payment.

The aim of the whole process is to make the consumer buys the product, even if consumer skips any of the steps.

What criticism was received against the hierarchy of effects?

The hierarchy of effect theory is closely associated with the behaviour of the customers. Thus, the model was criticized because of its ineffectiveness in cognitive psychology (processing of brain).

As per the hierarchy of effect, purchase behaviour can be broken down into steps, however, scholars in the field of cognitive psychology stated that consumers are exposed to a vast amount of information and the final decision is affected. The noise in the background makes it difficult for a particular brand to move with the consumer along the hierarchy of effect stages.

The theory assumes that six stages will be adopted by all the brands and in effect, the differentiation will become difficult for the brands and creating confusion among the targeted customers.