The need or problem identification isdefined as the first step of consumers’ purchase decision making process andusually occurs when there is a discrepancy between the actual state and thedesired state of the consumer, a discrepancy sufficient enough to activate thewhole decision-making process. The second stage, information search,begins with internal search, namely, from the consumer’s already existingknowledge and experience of the product, or product category and then moves toexternal search, where the consumer seeks for relevant information via varioussources, that will help him/her satisfy their need. During the third stage, the evaluation ofalternatives, the consumer utilizes the information gathered in the previousstage, in order to evaluate alternative brands in the product or servicecategory, before proceeding to the final decision. The fourth stage, is the actual output ofconsumer decision making, the purchase behavior, and the fifth stage is thepost-purchase evaluation, where the actual performance of the product orservice either matches, exceeds or is below the expectations of the consumer. Coming back to the third stage, theevaluation of alternatives, it is important to be noted that while the consumeris evaluating the alternatives for satisfying his/her need, the evaluationincludes only a small evoked set of alternatives (Howard & Sheth, 1969),something that is also been referred to as the consideration set (Hauser &Wernerfelt, 1990).
The consideration set is defined as “the set of brandsbrought to the consumer’s mind on a particular choice occasion” (Nedungadi,1990). Consumers today are brought upon anabundance of brands and choices, something that makes their buying process morecomplex and difficult, and at the same time, the marketer’s job harder thanever. How will and how can a brand move from the complete market set, to theawareness set, where the consumer places all the available alternatives awarefrom the internal and external search, from there to the evoked set, andfinally, to the consideration set, where are the brands actually consideredfrom the consumer to solve the problem/need of the particular choice occasion?In this brand-cluttered world, the significance of branding and morespecifically, the need for firms to build their brand equity, in order to breakthrough the clutter, and ultimately, become the number one choice in consumers’minds, is becoming more urgent than ever.