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Do Consumers Have Multiple Ideals Depending on Usage Occasions?

Ennis, D. M. (2007). IFPress, 10(2).



Many products have multiple uses. Some products in a category may be more suitable for particular uses than other products in the same category. One way of looking at this problem is to consider that each consumer has multiple ideal points, one for each type of usage occasion and it would be useful to be able to test this idea. If consumers’ ideals for a particular usage occasion are similar to each other and different from other usage occasions, then clusters of ideals may form identifiable segments to which new or existing products can be marketed. It is also possible that usage occasions may not differ very much with respect to consumer interest and in this case the ideals for each occasion may overlap making it unnecessary to consider multiple ideals. It would be useful to know how these ideals are distributed so that the opportunities for products with possible multiple uses can be assessed. Some products or brands may be highly suitable for only one of the occasions and others may clearly appeal to certain consumers on more than one occasion. Whether a product or brand is specialized or versatile in its appeal depends on the extent to which the item’s consumer attributes appeal to consumers for each of the usage occasions. In this report it will be shown how this problem can be addressed using a model that determines multiple individual ideals and product positions in a map of attributes that drive consumer liking.


Figure 2. Product positions in an LSA space with three usage occasions identified: Snacking (red), exercise (yellow), and breakfast (white)

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