Decision Making Process: How Consumers Make Buying Decision?

Red Bull dominates energy drink, Xerox dominates copier category, Coca Cola dominates cola category, Domino’s dominates pizza home delivery category.

Why? Perhaps, there are many reasons. However, the most important steps these brands took were to create a category and develop brands based on these categories.

Consumers think category, not brands. When they even think to have energy drink, Red Bull takes all the advantages.

Why? Simple, Red Bull created the category. Who else has right to claim the ownership of energy drink category?

Let’s watch following two videos for more explanation:

Step1: Decision Making Process:Why Marketers Should Care, What Consumers Buy?

Step2: Cartoon: Decision Making Process:How Consumers Make Buying Decision?

(Now Available in HD)


Did I miss something? Got ideas what more I could explain? Any suggestions, comments or questions? Let me know in the comments below at the end of the page!

I would love to hear from you. I read every single comment!

Reference book: At this stage, I recommend you to read following book(s).

Yes, you can always ask questions from following books too. The list will keep on increasing with more upcoming posts.

(The more you read, the more you’re capable of generating ideas)




Eric: Do you know, what is Decision Making Process? To know, how consumers make buying decision.

Open Me

Kimberly: Oh! Stop it! I’m Thirsty!

Eric: Let’s get something to drink from corridor

Kimberly: You talk too much! Thanks God! For the first time you asked something to drink

Eric: My treat! So what do you want to drink? Water, Soft drink, cocktail, beer, wine?

Kimberly : (thinks)Water, Soft drink, cocktail, beer or wine

Kimberly : I’d like a Coke!

Eric: One Coke, comin’ up!

Here you go

Kimberly : Now I’m feeling better, so where were we?

Eric: We were….

Kimberly : Oh! Wait a minute!


Sorry! So where were we?

Eric, where are you?

Eric : I’m here! I hate you and your burp. I’ll never buy you a drink again, i promise

Kimberly : Ok, I’m sorry, please i really need to learn that topic, so where were we?

Eric : How consumers make buying decision?

Kimberly : So, how they do that?

Eric : Let’s recall, why did you drink Coke?

Kimberly : You asked me, what did i want to drink?

Not this one. Go to the initial stage. Why did you want to drink?

(Flashback) Kimberly : Oh! Stop it! I’m thirsty!

Kimberly : Oh yeah! I was feeling thirsty!


Decision Making Process: Kimberly’s example:

Eric: First of all, you recognize a need, I’m thirsty. Then, you search information you already have to drink water, soft drink, cocktail, beer or wine.

You evaluate alternatives, in your mind, and after a moment’s thought, you asked for the brand, Coke

This is called, Decision Making Process, to know, how consumers make buying decision. Now let’s discuss it in greater detail, with more examples:

Decision Making Process: How Consumers Make Buying Decision?

Decision Making Process diagram



Eric: First of all, consumers recognize the need, then they go for information search to collect alternative.

So that, they can evaluate the alternative.

Then they make decision of what they buy, finally, they evaluate again after buying whether their decision of buying specific brand satisfy them or not ?


How consumers buy car?

Decision Making Process, buying car Volvo


Open Me

For example:

1. Need Recognition: consumer thinks, I need a car which is safe for my family.

2. Information Search: So, he goes online for search or asks a friend for cars offer safety,

3. Evaluation of Alternatives: After information search, consumer collected list of brand to evaluate that, which brand satisfies my need of safety? Volvo, Toyota, Lexus or Ferrari?

4. Buy: After evaluating, consumer makes decision to buy Volvo, as he found it’s the safest car and satisfy his need and then.

5. Post Buy Evaluation: Finally, after buying and experiencing the brand, consumer observes, whether, Volvo is really a safest car or not? What others are saying about my decision of buying Volvo?

When Volvo’s new model arrives, consumer decides whether to buy the Volvo brand again or not. Based on his post buy evaluation or experience, he will buy again, if he’s satisfied


Decision Making Process: How Consumers Adapt Short-cut to Make Buying Decision?

Here’s another scenario: sometimes consumers pass through all decision making process. Sometimes they don’t, and jump directly to buying a brand, just after need recognition.

For example, when brands are famous in its category, consumer bypasses all other stages. First of all, he thinks of his need, and then, buy the top brand already exist in his mind


Why Marketers Should Know It?

Here’s the catch! Did you notice, first of all, you think of the category, and then, you asked for the brand?

Kimberly: Yeah!

Eric: Consumers also think the same way, they think of the category, and then, translate that category into brand name, to tell what, exactly, they would like to have.

This is also the major reason why a brand stands for something, in the mind of consumers. It can be achieved through positioning concept, we learnt in previous meetings.


World’s top branding expert, Al Ries and Laura Ries , wrote in their famous book, War in the boardroom:

“The brand is the visible face of the category. But the consumer’s first decision is the selection of the category. The brand always follows that choice.

Consumer think categories, but they frequently express their category choices in terms of brands. It might seem like the brand is the dominant decision when it’s not”

ries War in the boardroom


1. Marketers need to understand the Decision Making Process.

2. Consumers love category, not brand. That’s why they think of a category first and then brand second.

3. Marketers should also focus on creating a new category first and brand second.



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Decision Making Process How Consumers Make Buying Decision

Did I miss something? Got ideas what more I could explain? Any suggestions, comments or questions? Let me know in the comments below at the end of the page!

I would love to hear from you. I read every single comment!



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  • what the best way to understand Decision Making Process in a few minutes

    • Thanks @Manny_mz:twitter In fact, the whole marketing cartoon series has been designed to make people understand easily and quickly

  • Dear Kamil its really worthy to watch & learn from it…
    I have 2 questions
    1)Is the CONSUMER decision making process and the CUSTOMER decision making process same? because sometimes a customer is not a consumer.. 
    2) I’m not much clarify about how category translate into brand..what i get is that whatever the brand is dominating in the customer mind the category converts or reshapes into that..or for example if coke is dominating then soft drink means coke.. 

    • Thanks for your questions Ahmer and kind words.

      This, world’s first marketing cartoon video series, is actually designed to watch and learn in a few minutes. However, if greater detail is required any one can ask question through this comment box.

      1. Yes, this process is same for both, consumers and customer. Consumer is a much broader term. Feel free to replace the word with Customer!

      2. Let’s watch the cartoon again. How Kimberly asks for Coke? At the back of her head. She thought a category first, soft drink. And after a moment thought she asked for Coke. Whenever a customers would like to buy something, they think of what they need first, e.g. Water. Secondly, they think, which brand will satisfy the need,e.g. Nestle Pure Life or Aquafina? Most of the customer will buy  Nestle Pure Life as it’s top on customer’s or consumer’s mind.

      3. As you asked, brand is dominating in the customer mind the category converts or reshapes into that.
       The question is how brand become dominate into the mind of consumer? Due to category. Consumer thinks category first, brand second. I think you should watch Positioning cartoon series for get into the real stuff, click here:

      Even better, sign up and get all episodes in your inbox for free! Click here:

      Feel free the comment / questions on that page and share with others!
      All the best.

  • Sahil_kitalsh

    sir plz tell me if i will made a project on consumer behaviour than tell me which need i have to discuss company product etc plz guide me can i take traveling as need or analyze the Daweoo bus service of pakistan 

    • Sahil, thanks for your question,

      Yes, travelling category will work. You can take Daewoo bus service as a consumer behavior’s project.

      In fact you can take any brand to work on consumer behavior.My videos have many examples related to consumers.All the best!

  • Qamar khan

    great work Kamil Sir…you make all the marketing topic so easy…thank a ton

    • Thanks Qamar, that’s why I’m here for:)

  • Afra Abrar

    woah! the marketing explanation was awesome!! i had a moths lecture at my college but didn’t understood a word….but as soon as i read these notes and the cute cartoon video…all is set in my brain at once!! thank you kamil sir!!

    • Thanks for the kind words Afra! That’s one of major objective to get through the concept of marketing easily!