Demystifying Belief Systems

In this chapter, the concept of a belief system is explored from the point of view that a consumer’s core beliefs lead to purchase behavior. A popular methodological example of this perspective is means-end chain analysis, in which the core values associated with a behavior are derived.1 In this type of analysis, a researcher first asks the consumer why he or she purchased a product. Take a tube of toothpaste as an example. The researcher would ask, “Why did you purchase this brand of toothpaste?” The consumer typically responds with an attribute of the toothpaste, for example, “It contains fluoride.” The researcher would then continue to ask why this reason is important—“Why is it important for you to brush ...

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