An attitude can be defined as the evaluation of an object as positive or negative. The term "object" in this definition should be understood in a broad sense; an attitude object may be any concrete or abstract entity that is in some way represented in our thoughts and memory. In other words, attitude objects are simply the things we like or dislike. Consumer researchers are mainly interested in attitude objects of two classes, products and services, including the attributes, issues, persons, communications, situations, and behaviours related to them. Research on consumer attitudes takes two perspectives: Understanding attitude structure: how is an attitude cognitively represented in a consumer's mind, including its components (intra-attitudinal structure) and its associations with other psychological variables (inter-attitudinal structure)? Understanding information processing: what are the psychological processes through which consumers evaluate new objects (attitude formation), retrieve evaluations from memory (attitude activation), and update evaluations in response to new information (attitude change)? The purpose of this chapter is to familiarise the reader with classical and contemporary attitude theory. Why is this important? Attitudinal concepts can be found in every area of marketing. Concepts like ad liking, brand attitude, quality perception, product preference, perceived benefit, perceived risk, perceived value, and customer satisfaction can all be understood as particular types of attitudes. This is the reason why a thorough understanding of attitudes is one of the most important skills a marketer can have. That same is true in related areas such as communications research: concepts like public opinion, corporate reputation, and corporate image are nothing more than particular types of attitudes. Even the utility concept in economics can simply be regarded as a synonym for attitudes.
Consumer Behavior: A Nordic Perspective, 2010, p. 211-223