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Getting dogs to school using consumer behaviour theory

As a double degree student, I had been waiting for what seemed like an age to begin my marketing major units! Finally, this year I was able to enrol in three, one of which was AMB200 Consumer Behaviour run by Dr. Kathleen Chell.

Kathleen and our tutors taught the theories surrounding the consumption of goods and services in a very practical and relatable way. Our initial assessment required us to look at our own actions as consumers which helped to make the necessary connections between theory and practice.

When the time came to choose a client for our final report, I knew I wanted to focus on the RSPCA School for Dogs. Firstly, I find I am more motivated working on real-world briefs, where I can relate the research to an authentic organisational issue (our second option was a fictional case-study). Secondly, I am a huge animal lover and a great supporter of the RSPCA! I currently have two pets adopted from the RSPCA and volunteered as an animal attendant last year.

We were required to investigate the current academic literature surrounding participation in dog training and provide three recommendations, based on consumer behaviour theory, to increase the customer base of the RSPCA School for Dogs. I initially found the report quite difficult to complete due to the lack of data and research surrounding such a specific topic. However, the resources provided by the learning advisors and librarians within our lectures were extremely beneficial. It allowed me to further develop the skills required to successfully apply the theories to the research.

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to present my report and recommendations to the RSPCA School for Dogs. It was a fairly daunting thought initially, however, everyone in the marketing team was so friendly and genuinely interested in our findings. Their feedback was valuable, especially providing further insight into the considerations required when working with not-for-profit organisations. It was also great to hear that one of my recommendations aligned with some changes they began workshopping only days before my presentation. I then knew I was on the right track!

I have now been given the opportunity to work as an intern at the RSPCA to develop my recommendations for the School for Dogs with the goal of increasing their customer base. In addition to this, I have been assisting some of the organisation’s other brands including the Million Paws Walk, researching the emerging trends in their past events and developing customer profiles for future marketing activities. The organisation relies heavily on volunteers and interns, which is a great opportunity for us as students. We have the potential to be given greater responsibility than we might have elsewhere. As an added bonus, we always have office foster pets!

I found this unit fascinating! It was so interesting to learn how the smallest cue or stimulus can change the behaviour of consumers. The additional opportunities I have been provided through taking this unit wouldn’t have been possible without Dr. Chell bringing in a real-world client. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the RSPCA School for Dogs to see how the implementation of my recommendations can hopefully benefit them as an organisation.


Bachelor of Business (Marketing) / Bachelor of Creative Industries (Interactive and Visual Design)

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