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Essays on How Reference Groups, Family, Culture, Subculture, and Social Class Individually Affect Consumer Behaviour towards Dettol Soaps Case Study

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The paper “ How Reference Groups, Family, Culture, Subculture, and Social Class Individually Affect Consumer Behaviour towards Dettol Soaps” is a   fascinating variant of case study on marketing. The essay indicates that each of the five aforementioned factors has some effect on Dettol's soaps penetration of the Indian market. Theoretically and in reality, it is clear that different factors in the consumer environment affect the purchase behaviour seen in a person. Such influences are largely categorised as external and internal factors. This essay focuses on external environmental factors, which include cultural influences (culture, sub-culture and social class); social (reference group, family and status); personal (occupation, lifestyle, personality, self-concept, age and lifecycle stage); and psychological (motivation; perception, learning, beliefs, and attitudes).

This essay will review the relevance of some of the aforementioned external factors as portrayed in consumer behaviours towards the Dettol range of soaps in the Indian market. Specifically, the essay will review how reference groups, family, culture, subculture and social class have individually affected consumer behaviour towards Dettol soaps. Dettol soaps and consumer behaviour in the Indian marketThe Dettol soaps used in India is a product of Reckitt Benckiser (India) Limited.

The active ingredient in the soap is Triclosan, which has been described as an effective chemical that cleans bacteria and a wide range of germs from the skin (Balaj, 2010). Additionally, Dettol is defined as having 73 per cent of Total Fatty Matter (TFM), while other average soaps have 70 per cent TFM. According to Balaj (2010), TFM is a combination of natural fats derived from plans and artificial fats and is responsible for the lather that is seen when soaps are used.

The higher the TFM content in a soap, the more lather it forms and the better it is for cleansing. Reckitt Benckiser has positioned Dettol in the Indian market (and elsewhere in the world) as hygiene soap. The product thus targets the hygiene conscious consumer and assumes a brand personality if a fastidious, sensible and clean person (Balaj, 2010). Over the years that Dettol antibacterial soap (Dettol original) has been in the Indian market, it has succeeded in penetrating the market and currently has 80% of the hygiene soap market (Balaj, 2010).

The success of Dettol soap in the Indian market has been partly influenced by external environmental factorsReference groupsKhan (2006) defines reference groups as a “ group of people whom one refers to while making decisions” (p. 58). They affect consumer behaviour by shaping aspirations for individuals and helping them identify and chose a product that suits a specific lifestyle. When Reckitt Benckiser, for example, says that six out of ten mums use Dettol Soap to provide a germ-free bath for their children, it is arguably appealing to mothers who like to be associated with caregiving and wishing the best for their families.

Reference groups regulate lives and set the standards norms and conduct for people. For Dettol soap, conformity pressures in reference groups are not direct; however, they are passively passed through marketing messages that indicate that the best mums care for their families, and such care is evident in the use of Dettol products. Ideally, every mother wants to be counted among the groups of women who are revered as being a good mother. As such, in an attempt to conform to the standards of the supposedly good mums, a significant percentage of women would be expected to purchase Dettol products.  

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