iBusiness, 2012, 4, 246-255
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ib.2012.43031 Published Online September 2012 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ib)
Explanatory Models of Ch ange of Consumer Behavior
Applied to Social Marketing
Nayeli Manzano1, Luis Rivas1, George Bonilla2
1Instituto Politécnico Nacional, México City, México; 2CETYS Universidad, Tijuana, México.
Email: nayeli_manzano@yahoo.com.mx, larivas33@hotmail.com, gbon53@gmail.com
Received January 16th, 2012; revised February 9th, 2012; accepted March 25th, 2012
This work describes consumer behavior models that present sustainable empirical evidence on consumer behavior with
social marketing applications given in the state of art. For this research, the most important and relevant databases were
consulted in order to get to the fron tier of knowledge. It analyzes model differences and their variables, and presents a
comparison among the models. One of the most interesting findings is the description of the stages of evolution in the
purchasing decisions and the identification of the inhibitors of each stage. Five models were founded and compered as a
result of the analysis. The five phases of fair consumers’ behavior: disinterest, concern, attitude, action and commitment
behavior will be discussed.
Keywords: Social Marketing; Sustainable; Consumer Behavior; Fair Trade
1. Introduction
The foundation of social marketing is behavior change.
According to Leal (2000) [1] consumer behavior en-
compasses all the activities that precede, accompany and
follow purchasing decisions and in which the individual
or organization are actively involved in order to make
informed choices.
In social marketing, the behaviors that need to change
are those that carry important consequences. The cones-
quences mean the degree of involvement in a specific act
of purchase and the perceived risk that such purchase
may be associated with (Leal [1]). In other words, con-
sumers gather information, think their decision through
and most often find themselves emotionally involved in
the selection process.
These behaviors are not spontaneously realized. They
have been researched and it has been concluded that
there are different answers depending on which stage of
the model the individual finds himself, the information
that has been compiled and the stimuli used. Furthermore,
these behaviors are carried out gradually and through
clearly defined stages. From research, different models
have been developed which are explained below.
Research Background
The issue of behavioral change has been approached
from several perspectives, mainly from the standpoint of
health, as it aims to change unhealthy behaviors of indi-
viduals and improve health, reduce risk of diseases,
chronic diseases and thus improve the quality of life of
the population. The field of research has focused on the
study of behavior change both at the individual and
group levels. At the individual level, we have studied
intrapersonal factors such as knowledge, attitudes, beliefs,
motivation, opinions of themselves, developmental history,
experience, skills and behavior (Glanz and Rimer 1996)
[2]. According to Prochaska and DiClemente (1983) [3],
for a person to change, behavior must go through a five-
stage process:
1) Precontemplation
The individu al is not aware of the problem and has not
thought abou t changing.
2) Contemplation
The person is thinking of changing in the near future.
3) Decision
Making plans to change.
4) Action
Implementation of specific action plans.
5) Maintenance
Continuation of desirable actions, or repeating periodic
recommended step.
It is also relevant to mention the theory of behavioral
change at the individual level advanced by the Health
Belief Model (HBM), developed by researchers at the US
Public Health Service in the 1950s. Th is social cognition
model suggests that if people hav e information about the
severity of their disease and their own susceptibility to it,
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Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing 247
will adopt healthy behaviors if they perceive that the
recommended b ehavior will be effective (Ca brera, Ta scó n
and Lucumí, 2001) [4]. The HBM model is one of the
most influential and widely used models to explain pre-
ventive actions, people’s responses to symptoms, dis-
ease diagnosed and health related behaviors.
Another work of relevance is the consumer’s theory of
information processing, which addresses the processes by
which consumers receive and use information in their
decision-making. This work proposed by James Bettman
in 1979 [5] reflects a combination of rational, intellectual
and motivational concep ts, the main assumptions are that
individuals are limited in terms of how much information
can be processed and to increase the use of information,
people combine bits of information in “blocks” and cre-
ate decision rules, called heuristics, to make faster and
easier choices. It describes a cyclical process of informa-
tion search, selection, use and learning as well as feed-
back for future decision s.
Another interesting work published a comprehensive
framework for understanding human behavior, based on
a cognitive formulation of the theory of social learning
(Glanz and Rimer [2], Bandura [6]).
In group-level models is important to mentioned Glanz
and Rimer [2], and Rothman [7], because of their at-
tempts to achieve goals of better health for individuals,
groups, institution s and communities.
Is relevant to mentioned the theory of diffusion of in-
novations, used to understand costumers concerns re-
garding the application of new products or technologies
and for dissemination of strategies and promotional tools
2. Research Methods
2.1. Data Source
This research utilized the Literature Review method con-
ducted using the following databases:
ProQuest digit al dissertat i o n
ProQuest Multiple Databases
ABI Inform
Green FILE, EBS CO Host D a tabas e
The research focuses on themes related to the types
and models of consumer behavior of social marketing
products. As a result, an analysis of the models supported
by the state of the art was conducted.
2.2. Explicative Models of Behavior Change
2.2.1. Prochaska, DiClemente, and Norcross (1992)
Spiral Mo d el of the Ph as es of Change
Andreasen (1995) [9] suggests that the most useful
model for applying social marketing is the transtheoreti-
cal model of change behavior developed by James O.
Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente in 1983 [3]. Since
1983, Prochaska and DiClemente have completed vari-
ous studies that have evolved into their spiral model of
the phases of change (Prochaska, DiClemente and Nor-
cross, 1992) [10]. Prochaska is Director of Cancer Pre-
vention Research Center and Professor of Clinical and
Health Psychology at the University of Rhode Island.
DiClemente is Professor and Chair, Department of Psy-
chology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County,
and Norcross is Professor of psychology at the Univer-
sity of Scranton.
This model emerges out of the various researches un-
dertaken by Prochaska and DiClemente since 1983. They
have focused their research principally on behavior mo-
dification in cases of addictive behaviors. They have con-
centrated their studies mainly on smokers (Prochaska and
DiClemente [3]), but also with people experiencing psy-
chological stress (Prochaska and DiClemente [11]), indi-
viduals undergoing psychotherapy (Prochaska y Costa,
[12]), individuals using addictive substances (DiClemente
et al., [13]), and persons enrolled in weight control pro-
grams (Prochas ka, et al. [14]).
As a result of the above studies, these researchers de-
veloped the Spiral Model of the Phases of Change, which
infers change as a progressive five-step process. Figure 1
will help explain th e five-step model.
Precontemplation Stage. In this phase many individu-
als are unconscious about their problems. In this
phase individuals have no intention of changing their
behavior in the immediate future. However, family,
friends, neighbors are clearly conscious of the prob-
lem. Often, individuals change their behavior because
of internal and external pressures, but when such
pressures subside they fall back into their old habits.
(Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross, [10]) confirm
that resistance to recognize or to modify the problem
behavior is the hallmark of the precontemplation
Contemplation Stage. People in this stage are con-
scious that a problem exist and are seriously thinking
of overcoming it, but they have yet to make a com-
mitment. The authors found in their studies that peo-
ple can remain in this stage for long periods of time,
even years. In a study conducted by Prochaska and
DiClemente they followed for two years a self-as-
sisted, without external help, group of 200 smokers
on the contemplation stage (Prochaska and DiCle-
mente, [11]). Another aspect found by investigators at
this stage is that people in this stage weight the pros
and cons of the problem and the solution to the prob-
lem. People who are at this stage seem to struggle
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Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing
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Figure 1. Spiral model of the phases of change (Prochaska, DiClemente, and Norcross, [10]).
with the positive ev aluation s of the add ictive b ehav ior
and the amount of time and energ y that will cost them
to so- lve the problem (DiClemente, et al., [13]). The
principal elements of the contemplation stage are to 1)
focus on the solution rather than the problem, and 2)
think more about the future than the past.
Preparation Stage. This is the stage that combines in-
tention and behavioral criteria. Individuals at this
stage intend to act in the next month but have been
unsuccessful in the previous year. As a group, indi-
viduals who are ready for action, report some small
behavioral changes, such as smoking five cigarettes
less or delaying their first cigarette of the day 30
minutes longer than people in the contemplation or
precontemplation stages (DiClemente, et al., [13]).
Although these people have made some reductions in
their disruptive behavior such a reduction does not
reach a criterion for effective action. However, they
intent to take action in the near future. The authors
originally called this stage decision-making.
Action Stage. According to the authors, it is at this
stage in which individuals modify their behavior,
their experiences, or environment to overcome their
problems. It is also at this stage that the most evident
behavioral changes take place and require consider-
able commitment of time and energy. At this stage
individuals received much external recognition and
the changes to the addictive behavior are more visible.
The authors classify individuals into the action stage
if they have altered their addictive behavior over a
period of one day to six months. A successful change
to addictive behavior means reaching a particular cri-
terion such as abstinence. The hallmarks of this stage
are behavior modification to an acceptable criterion
and significant effort to ch ange.
Maintenance and Relapse Prevention Stage. This is
the stage where people work to prevent relapse and
consolidate the gains made in the action stage (Pro-
chaska, DiClemente, Norcross [10]). This stage is a
continuation of change, not lack of it, so it should no t
be considered as a static stage. For addictive behav-
iors this stage lasts from six months to an indetermi-
nate period past the initial action, rather some main-
tenance behaviors persist throughout life. The authors
classified people who abstain from falling back into
addictive behavior and consistently pursue a new be-
havior for more than six months during this phase.
The hallmarks of this stage are to stabilize the behav-
ior change and avoid relapse.
Studies in the withdrawal process of smoking and al-
cohol consumption show that it is typical for a person to
be in repeated suspension and relapse cycles many times
before attaining permanent abstinence. Therefore, Pro-
chaska, et al. 1992, [14] illustrate this change as a spiral
model in which the person goes through suspension and
relapse, return to contemplation or preparation, but al-
ways from a more favorable starting point than in the
previous cycle. Progression through the stages is cyclical,
Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing 249
not linear.
2.2.2. Kotler and Andreasen Model (1991) [15]
According to Leal [1], Kotler and Andreasen [15] pro-
posed a model during which the stages are grouped into
five categories according to the marketing tasks that must
be performed by a specialist in behavioral change. Ac-
cording to the author, these tasks referred to the five
stages of Prochaska and DiClemente [3].
In Figure 2, you can observe the different phases of
the model proposed by Kotler and Andreasen, and the
steps of the marketing efforts for behavior change.
1) Recalling the model of Prochaska and DiClemente,
social marketing agents must educate consumers who are
in the precontemplation stage to start to change their va-
lues with the objective to help themselves begin the
change process.
2) For consumers who are already in the contempla-
tion stage, what social marketing agents need to do is to
persuade and motivate them to move to the next stage
and consequently change their behavior.
3) In the preparation phase consumers need help to
figure out how to behave and perhaps support on control-
ling their behavior.
4) For consumers in the action phase who have already
performed the behavior once or several times the social
marketing agents must confirm the behavior change by
reinforcing it through training to finally move the con-
sumers to the final phase of the model which is the final
Leal [1] makes a model comparison between the
change behavior model of Prochaska and DiClemente
and the Kotler and Andreasen model which is presented
in Table 1. Through comparison analysis between these
two models, Leal [1] found that: “The social marketing
task facing those who wish to produce a change in be-
havior, differ for each of the five categories of the ge-
neral stages of Prochaska and DiClemente model there-
fore, the main techniques for behavior change in use will
also change.”
2.2.3. Leal’s M o d e l of the Beha vior Chan ge P r oc ess
Antonio Leal Jimenez researcher at the University of
Cadiz, Spain, proposes a new model called Model of be-
havior change process. Leal builds on explanatory mod-
els of behavior change in marketing, psychosocial studies
on attitudes and the process of change, and in his own
experience. The model Leal proposes is divided into four
significant phases for social marketing. The focus given
by the author to these phases is from the perspective of
the adopted objective and the appropriate marketing
strategies. This model is illustrated in Figure 3.
The phases of Leal’s model are:
1) Observation. At this stage the target adopter does
Figure 2. Kotler and Andrease n mode l [15].
Table 1. Comparison between two models of consumer
change behavior.
DiClemente’ s phasesMarketing tasks Phases modify by
Precontemplation Creating conscience
and interest changing
values Precontemplation
Contemplation Persuation, motivation Contemplation
Preparation To order
Action Creating action Action
Confirmation Maintaining ch ange Maintenance
not even contemplate the desired action. This may be due
to three reasons: first, because the individual is unaware
of the social problem, for example, the effects of certain
drugs, and second because he mistakenly believes he is
not directly affected by the problem, for example hetero-
sexual couples who do not consume drugs and the spread
of AIDS, and finally because the individual has values
and beliefs that are different from the proposed behavior
change, for example, certain religions that are against
donating bl o od.
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Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing
Figure 3. Leal [1] model of behavior change process.
2) Analysis. In this phase the author includes th e adop-
ters that are conscious of th e possibility of chang ing their
attitude. They’re not against the change but are still ana-
lyzing the pros and cons of such change.
3) Behavior. Once the individual has reflected upon
the advantages and disadvantages of change the individ-
ual may finally decide to adopt the new behavior.
The author suggests that the way to motivate depends
on whether the behavior is to be carried out once (organ
donation), whether the behavior should be performed in a
consistent manner (detoxification programs), if the be-
havior change is permanent (conservation of natural re-
sources), or if the change is permanent but related to sp e-
cific situations (who drives a vehicle after alcohol con-
4) Affirmation. A reminder strategy is sometimes nec-
essary with certain individuals as not to let the socially
desirable behavior wane. Leal [1] mentions that this is a
crucial stage, since it depends on the previous work for
its continued success.
Once the model was proposed, Leal [1] continues to
direct his research focus on the challenges faced in each
stage of the model and the most effective strategies
through which the social marketing program can get in-
dividuals to move from one phase to another in a sequen-
tial continuously moving process until the final affirma-
tion phase of the behavior is reached.
2.2.4. Shoppi n g Behavior Model of the Ecological
Consumer (Bañeguil and Chamorro, [16])
This model was developed from research conducted by
professors Tomás Bañeguil and Antonio Chamorro, Fac-
ulty of Economics and Business, University of Extre-
madura, Spain. As presented in previous models the aim
of this research was to develop a model of behavior
change specifically directed to the ecological consumer
buying behavior and in this research to find the factors
that hinder or prevent the individuals’ initial concerns to
transform into action in terms of environmental respon-
sibility. Bañeguil’s and Chamorro’s [16] research was
based partially on models developed by other authors
such as Calomarde, J. (2000) [17], Fuller, D. (1999) [18]
and Kalafatis, Pollard, East an d Tsogas, (1999) [19].
The authors state that not all environmentally con-
cerned citizens become green consumers, for example,
persons that embrace ecological values are not necessar-
ily making purchasing decisions of organic products.
Starting from the idea that environmental awareness can
occur in an individual in varying degrees (Kalafatis, Pol-
lard, East and Tsogas [19]), the model proposed by the
authors considers that a person can be located in five
different dimensions of environmental awareness and to
move from one dimension to another requires overcom-
ing a number of inhibitors, as shown in Figure 4.
The first stage, which the authors denominate “eco-
logical indifference”, places all people who espouse the
belief that the damaged to the natural environment is not
a grave problem for humanity. Although they claimed
that most individuals from developed nations are con-
scious that this is indeed a real problem.
The authors call the next stage “environmental con-
cern” which places people who believe that there is a
problem to be solved and in this stage they measure the
individual’s level of interest in environmental issues and
their perception of the gravity of the problem. The same
individual may have varying degrees of concern about
various environmental problems such as water pollution,
air pollution, etc. Concern is a previous step to behavior
change and in this case an ecological behavior change.
The more concerned an individual is about environ-
mental problems the greater the possibility that this con-
cern will translate into purchasing behavior (Kalafatis,
Pollard, East and Tsogas [19]).
The phase of “ecological attitude” measures the ten-
dency to take personal action to solve environmental pro-
blems and the willingness to accept established or pro-
posed government measures. There are certain people
who are called “eco-actives” which are those persons that
accept that a problem exists and they should do some-
thing about it, that is, a person with a positive attitude
toward the environment. Unlike the “eco-passives” or
free riders who hope that the actions of others are benefi-
cial to them or they think that the solution to a problem
belongs to others. The authors do believe that there are
inhibiting factors to move from one stage to another.
The author’s call this fourth phase, the ecological de-
cision phase in which the individual decides to take real
measures to protect the environment. However, an eco-
logical attitude does not always translate into a decision
to act. The authors believe that this gap is due to some
inhibiting factors that p revent indiv iduals to decide to act
even though they know they should.
In the last phase of the Bañguil and Chamorro model, e
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Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Buying inhibitors:
Figure 4. Ecological consumer purchasing model of Bañeguil and Chamorro.
action implementation or actual environmental perform-
ance is when the individual implements the measures for
environmental protection. These measures may relate to
social behavior, buying behavior or consumer behavior.
The individual will make an assessment among real eco-
logical alternatives and those that are not. This will help
to move from the decision phase to the action phase.
Inhibiting Factors
Knowing what factors make it difficult or impede the
initial environmental concern from transforming into
action is key for companies to design an effective (so cial,
ecological) marketing strategy. For an individual to move
from one stage to a higher one of the previously de-
scribed model he/she must overcome a number of in-
As a result of their investigations the authors consider
the following factors as inhibitors to the creation of an
ecological attitude :
The perceived effectiveness of the consumer (PEC):
the ability that the person believes it has to influence
the environment (Noya, Gomez and Paniagua, 1999)
The perception of the effectiveness of the action. The
capacity that the individual ascribes to a concrete way
to influence the environment, for example, waste re-
cycling or buying organic products. Perhaps the per-
son believes he/she could and should do something to
affect change, but do not give the same value to buy-
ing green products that to recycling waste.
Perceived personal benefit of the action. Individuals
who have good environmental behavior do not nec-
essarily gain a personal benefit by this action, on the
contrary, it takes money, time, effort, and comfort to
adopt good environmental behaviors, although these
behaviors do generate a benefit to society. Further-
more, because environmental benefits are long term
the individual will not known whether adopting this
behavior was good or not for the environment. In this
case, ecological concerns will become ecological at-
titude only when the individual adopts an altruistic at-
titude and not a selfish one. If the person is not altru-
istic he or she will move to the stage of ecological at-
titude only if the problem affects the person directly.
Individuals who are at the ecological decision phase
compare ecological behaviors with normal behaviors.
The following will explain the variables identified by
the authors as inhibitors to move to the ecological deci-
sion phase, in other words the variables that prevent a
person from doing something even though he or she
knows they must do something: 1) Confusion created by
ignorance. The fact that the individual knows that a pro-
blem exist and must act, does not necessarily means the
Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing
individual knows how to act. A positive ecological atti-
tude is not necessarily indicative of a high level of envi-
ronmental training (Schlegelmilch, Diamantopoulos and
Tassel, 1996) [21]; 2) Skepticism. This research results
show that today’s consumers do not believe that state-
ments about ecological organic products are true. The au-
thors mentioned that th is lack of credibility is mainly due
to the lack of tangibility of the ecological quality of the
product. For example, it is easy to check the quality of
trousers or the sound quality of a stereo system, but not
environmental quality even for consumers with sufficient
knowledge on the subject.
To reach the final phase, action implementation or real
ecological behavior, individuals must confront certain
inhibitors of ecological shopping which are:
Price. The researchers concluded that the segment of
buyers that pay a bit more for ecological products is
not that large as suggested by Philips (1999) [22].
What is sprouting is a generation of consumers that
expect “products respectful to the environment as
well as respectful to the pocketbook”.
Perception of quality and effectiveness. Some indi-
viduals may have the perception that environmental
friendly products are lower in quality when compared
to normal products. However, according to research
results conducted by the Entorno Foundation (2000)
[23] shows only 3 percent of those individuals sur-
veyed mentioned that they don’t purchase ecologi-
cally friendly products because they have lower qual-
Product availability in the marketplace. The ecologi-
cal consumer does not easily find products with the
ecological attributes required. In a survey conducted
by the Entorno Foundation in 2000, 19% of the re-
spondents to the question “Reasons for not buying
ecological products” stated that they could not find
Brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is a barrier for consum-
ers to acquire ecological friendly products because
they are usually satisfied with the products they al-
ready use due to product satisfaction and met needs.
Ecological brands must demonstrate that it not only
satisfies needs but it is environmentally friendly.
Lifestyle and comfort. Even when the ecological pro-
duct has good price and quality in comparison to tra-
ditional products it implies a change in lifestyle and
therefore consumers may stop purchasing such item.
For example, a mother may enforce her family to re-
cycle paper however, but she may not be willing to
use cloth diapers in place of disposable ones.
The conclusions reached by the researchers showed
that even though society may worry about the environ-
ment the percentage of people reaching the last stage of
the model is not sufficient enough to reach sustainable
development. According to the Bañeguil’s and Chamor-
ros’s model the gap between phases is due to certain fac-
tors that they cluster into three types:
1) Attitude inhibiting factors. These include percep-
tions of personal efficiency, perception of efficiency of
action, and the perception of personal be nefit.
2) Decision inhibiting factors. Here the authors group
ignorance and skepticism together.
3) Purchase inhibiting factors. This is where price,
perceived quality, brand loyalty toward traditional brands
and models, lifestyle, and the availability of commercial
establishments are clustered.
To overcome inhibiting factors, the authors recom-
mend the increase of ecologically responsible behaviors
and the demand for ecological products through social
marketing ad campaigns, commercial marketing ads, and
environmental marketing for the purpose of allowing in-
dividuals to overcome inhibiting factors.
2.2.5. Awarene ss Mod el Phases during Adopt ion
Behaviors of Fair Trade Products, Sampedro
This model was designed by Fernando Sampedro, De-
partment of Economics and Business Administration,
University of Valladolid, Spain. It is based on Bañeguil’s
and Chamorro’s model of ecological consumer shopping
To deepen the role of the factors that influence the de-
cision process to consume fair trade products, Sampedro
(2003) [24] created a model of stages of awareness ap-
plicable to the consumption decision process of fair trade
products, which is based on the existence of different
levels of social awareness. The author suggests that the
transition from one stage to another requires overcoming
some inhibiting factors (see Figure 5).
To clarify the proposed model, the author utilized in-
depth interviews with several groups working in the field
of fair trade in the city of Valladolid these were: Engi-
neers Without Borders-Castilla y Leo n, Intermon- Oxfam,
and Sodepaz-Castilla and Leon. They also surveyed a
sample of 111 individuals in the city of Valladolid. This
included 59 consumers of fair trade products and 52 con-
sumers who had never purchased fair trade products.
Following is an explanation of each of the phases that
comprise this model.
1) Social disinterest. Individuals who are at this stage
believe they should do nothing to solve the underdevel-
opment of the Third World. These individuals have a low
degree of personal involvement on this issue.
2) Social attitude. The author mentions that people
with positive social attitude are those who have consid-
ered taking action to address underdevelopment and there-
fore believe that they are part of the solution.
) Ethical behavior. Individuals found at this stage are
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Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing
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Figure 5. Stages of awareness model for the consumption decision process of fair trade pr oducts.
those who sporadically purchase fair trade products and
do it to feel socially responsible about th eir consumption
4) Social commitment behavior. In this phase one
finds individuals who purchase fair trade products are
truly committed and take responsibility for their social
action role.
Inhibiting Factors
According to the author, in this model for an individ-
ual to move from the disinterest stage or from the first
stage to the next, it is necessary for the individual to face
an inhibiting factor called indifferenc e.
Indifference. While in developed countries now exist
greater concern about the situation of third world coun-
tries, there is still a large majority of individuals that do
not considered this situation to be a problem and are not
concerned. This indifference blocks the way towards a
more positive social attitude. Thus, the absence of social
and ecological values of these individuals is reflected by
the low importance given to the purchase decision of fair
trade products (Sampedro [24]). Therefore the resear-
cher infers that these individuals do not look at the origin
of the product and are less willing to buy fair trade prod-
ucts or to pay more for such products and are not even
interested in knowing where one can purchase such pro-
Once an individual reaches the indifference attitude
stage other factors that will prevent progress to the next
stage will be encountered:
1) Ignorance. As long as individuals have less knowl-
edge about international trade, the causes of underdevel-
opment, and the impact the purchase of certain products
may have to help solve the problem of underdevelopment,
the less they may consider taking action to resolve this
situation. The knowledge of what is fair for underdevel-
oped countries, which forms of consumption are more
friendly to them (that is to say the impact of consumption
and trade on poor countries), Sampedro considers this
ignorance a factor that positively influences the predis-
position of individuals to purchase fair trade products
and perhaps even pay more for them.
2) Perceived low effectiveness. The ability that an in-
dividual thinks he or she has to solve a problem deter-
mines the decision to try these products. If the person
believes it can do little to solve the problem the person
may feel powerless and this may interfere with the inten -
tion to act. Furthermore, if the individual is not con-
vinced that fair trade is effective as a tool for develop-
ment the individual will be unwilling to purchase fair
trade pro d uc ts.
3) Skepticism. If the consumer has doubts about the
veracity of the social responsibility of fair trade prod ucts
the purchase of such products will be difficult. This can
happen because the individual may intuit that social re-
sponsibility is less than or equal to that of other products.
As a result of his research, Sampedro considers these
factors to be inhibitors to the development of committed
1) Lack of commitment. A weak commitment on the
consumption of fair trade products can act as an inhibitor
Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing
of committed behavior (Sampedro [24]). The author
mentions that if the individual belongs to social organi-
zations it would be easier for such a person to turn their
social responsibility to the consumption of ethical prod-
2) Infidelity. When an individu al has a lower degree of
social awareness he/she infrequently purchases fair trade
products and alternates purchases with other types of
produ cts. The more aw areness th e consumer has , the less
the purchases of low social responsibility products will
3) Unfavorable valuation of the attributes of fair trade
products. In this section, the researcher suggests that if
consumers make a comparison of fair trade products with
other products and find they are worse, they will not
purchase them even if these products guarantee greater
social responsibility.
From the model proposed by Sampedro [24] one may
conclude that the consumption behavior of fair trade
products is mainly explained by variables related to the
level of commitment, the knowledge of social responsi-
bility initiatives, and the social and ecological values of
the individual, and not as much as to the characteristics
of the products or the usual socio-demographic variables.
3. Results and Analysis
In the models of Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross
[10], Kotler and Andreasen (1991), and Leal [1], the au-
thors focus on behavior change in general, which is one
of the main objectives of social marketing. Prochaska, Di
Clemente and Norcross initiated behavior change studies
in 1983 and are considered the fathers of behavior chan-
ge models. Bañeguil and Chamorro [16], proposed a mo-
del that focuses on purchasing behavior particularly in
the area of organic products. Sampedro [24], mentioned
by Bañeguil and Chamorro, proposes a model of behav-
ior for the purchase of fair trade products. As a result of
conducting a state-of-the-art literature review we fou nd a
total of 5 models, which are illustrated and compared in
Table 2.
4. Conclusions
If we analyze the five models presented in Table 2 we
can observe that for individuals in process of behavior
change a set of sequential stages have to be followed. In
other words, individuals have to go through each of the
stages and cannot leap from the first to the last stage. We
must point out that all models have equivalent phases
regardless of the name ascribed to them by their authors.
Following is a summary of the characteristics presented
by individuals passing through each of these stages.
In the first phase, all the authors mentioned in this
study agree that individuals do not even consider that the
behavior is appropriate for them. They believe they
should not do anything to change. In the second stage,
individuals are becoming aware of a change in attitude,
they are thinking and starting to be concern that a prob-
lem exists and that it must be solved. In the third phase,
the individuals finally decide to personally act to solve
the problem. In the fourth stage, individuals perform the
behavior for the first time, that is, they decide to take real
steps to fix the problem.
Finally, in the last stage the authors agree that indi-
viduals are already committed in the conduct and prac-
tice of the behavior as part of their habits and have no
desire to return to previous behaviors. Let us not forget
that in these models the authors are attempting behavior
modification with a high degree of involvement, not
spontaneously, but in a gradual way through distinct and
clearly defined phases and as we observed, all the models
take the individual through distinct and clearly define
Derived from the research, we found that there is very
little information about the purchasing behavior of
Mexican consumers specifically related to fair trade pro-
ducts. The state of the art literature review revealed a
single stage model of awareness in the purchasing be-
havior of fair trade products and it was developed in
Spain. Therefore, there are areas of opportunity for
Mexican researchers to explore and get to know the be-
havior of domestic consumers of fair trade products.
Table 2. Synthesis of models and phases.
Spiral model of phases
of change Prochaska,
DiClemente and
Norcross [10]
Kotler and Andr easen
model [15]
Leal’s model of the
behavior change
process [1]
Shopping behavior
model of the ecological
consummer Bañeguil
and Chamorr o [ 16]
Awareness model for the
comsumption decision
process of fair trade
products Sampedro [24]
Precontemplation Precontemplation Observation Carelessness Disinterest
Contemplation Contemplation Analysis Concern
Preparation Attitude Attitude
Action Action Behacior Action decision Behavior
Confirmation Maintenance Affirmation Real action Commitment
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Explanatory Models of Change of Consumer Behavior Applied to Social Marketing 255
Our conclusion is that the most compressive model to
understand the behavior of consumers in fair trade has
five phases which are: disinterest, concern, attitude, ac-
tion, and commitment behavior.
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