1. Introduction In the old times, there were very few dilemmas when it came to consuming basic products. If you wanted to get something done, you knew exactly what you need for the job, and after choosing between a limited number of options (if any), all that was left was to go to the nearest merchant/field/jungle - depends on the time and place.
Nowadays, things are not so simple for the average home consumer. We are living in an age where that consumer has a choice between numerous brands, technologies, solutions, prices, quality levels and social images that tag along with any item on the shelf. The hypermarkets and shopping centers are full of colorful wrappings of different, promising products, and we may find tens or hundreds of different products, that serve the exact same purpose.
Putting aside the question of how we should deal with these dilemmas when playing the consumers' role, and sticking to the economists' role, we must ask ourselves: what factors lead the consumer to choose one brand over another? What is the balance between those factors? How can we, as producers or suppliers, anticipate the characteristics that would make consumers choose our products, and modify our products accordingly? The traditional economics science may provide us with endless models and figures that would demonstrate, using various charts and graphs, some ground rules regarding the effects of some mostly tangible attributes of offered items on the level of consumption.
Those rules might be a good starting point, but in my opinion, not nearly enough to predict market behavior. There are many different factors (that may sometimes exist only well inside the consumer's mind), which affect the final choice of each and every consumer individually (of course no manufacturer can consider the deep beautiful soul of every single...