The Elaboration Likelihood Model

Researchers have identified two ways promotion communication can persuade consumers: the central and peripheral routes to persuasion. Like learning theory, each depends on the consumer’s level of involvement with the product and the message. When the consumer’s level of involvement is higher, the central route to persuasion is more likely. On the other hand, the peripheral route to persuasion is more likely when consumer involvement is low.


  • Central route to persuasion: In the central route to persuasion, consumers have a higher level of involvement with the product or the message, so they are motivated to pay attention to the central, product-related information, such as product attributes and benefits or demonstrations of positive functional or psychological consequences. Because of their high involvement, consumers tend to learn cognitively and comprehend the ad-delivered information at deeper, more elaborate levels. This can lead to product beliefs, positive brand attitudes, and purchase intention.


  • Peripheral route to persuasion: The peripheral route to persuasion is very different. It’s more like stimulus response learning. People who are not in the market for a product typically have low involvement with the product message. They have little or no reason to pay attention to it or to comprehend the central information of the ad. As a result, direct persuasion is also low, and consumers form few if any brand beliefs, attitudes, or purchase intentions. However, these consumers might attend to some peripheral aspects, the pictures or the colors in an ad or the actors in a commercial for their entertainment value.




Learning Produces Attitudes and Interest

An attitude is our acquired mental position regarding some idea or object. It is the positive or negative evaluations, feelings, or action tendencies that we learn and cling to. To advertisers, gaining positive consumer attitudes is critical to success. Attitudes must be either capitalized on or changed. For mature brands in categories with familiar, frequently purchased products, brand interest is even more critical for motivating action. Brand interest is an individual’s openness or curiosity about a brand. Enjoyable, entertaining advertising can enhance interest in the brand and reduce the variety-seeking tendencies of consumers who become bored with using the same old product.


Learning Leads to Habits and Brand Loyalty

Attitude is the mental side and habits the behavioral side of the same coin. Habit is the acquired behavior pattern that becomes nearly or completely involuntary and is the natural extension of learning. We really are creatures of habit. The major objective of all brand marketers is to produce brand loyalty, a direct result of the habit of repurchasing and the reinforcement of continuous advertising. Brand loyalty is the consumer’s conscious or unconscious decision, expressed through intention or behavior, to repurchase a brand continually. It occurs because the consumer perceives that the brand offers the right product features, image, quality, or relationship at the right price.


9.5 Learning Defines Needs and Wants

The learning process is both immediate and long-term. The moment we file a perception, some learning takes place. When we see a succulent food ad, we may suddenly feel hungry; we need food. As we collate the information in our mental files, comparing new perceptions with old ones, further learning takes place. The need may become a want.