Tag Archives: Market research

Brand Actions And Words

I’ve mentioned in this space before that brands have a lot less – if any – control over how they are perceived by consumers due to the rise of connectivity among those very same consumers.  That contention is supported by some research from The Society For New Communications Research which conducted a study on the topic of Social Media and Societal Good.  Main conclusion?

The reputation of a company is no longer defined by what they “report” or what they “say” they stand for. Instead, they are increasingly defined by the shared opinions and experiences of socially-connected consumers.

You can read the study here.  It’s interesting although not particularly surprising.  While the vast majority of people still rank the quality of products and services are the most important reason behind how they form impressions about a brand, some other traditional factors are ranked way down the list in importance.  Only 43% say that a company’s ads are either mildly or very important in forming impressions while  76% cite family and friends that way.  While many brands are obsessive about their social media presence, only 28% of consumers use that to form impressions.  Interestingly, since 78% mention the customer care program as important, perhaps the social media emphasis needs to be more about caring and less about sharing.

So while word of mouth matters, so too does how a company behaves in the world as a whole.  We don’t yet seem to be at a place where consumers research a company’s social and societal impact before doing business.  However, when a company’s behavior comes to their attention – maybe through a news story, maybe through a friend – news of the negative societal impact of a company has impact and more so with women than with men:

When quality and price are largely equal in a purchase decision, nearly three in five people report a moderate to strong positive impact on likelihood to purchase when they discover information on the positive societal impact of a company. 61% report a moderate to strong negative impact on likelihood to purchase when hearing news on the negative societal impact of a company.

So let’s behave, people.  We are what we do, not what we say we are or will do.  Our customers are paying attention.  Are you?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

No, I’m Not Making It Up

After Monday’s post on the collective genius of the folks at KlearGear.com, a reader reached out with a question.


(Photo credit: suttonhoo)

“I buy in to your thoughts on how customers ought to be treated, but is there research to support your statements about how doing business the right way (with a customer focus) actually translates into better business?”  Funny you should ask!

This from the Connected Customer blog from the folks at Liveperson:

Today’s savvy consumers want access to information and support instantly, and if they don’t find what they need quickly, they will look for it somewhere else. Our study tells us that, on average, consumers won’t wait more than 76 seconds if they need help during their online journey.  The research indicates that 49% of consumers continue to find websites difficult to navigate, with 33% struggling to seek help or locate customer service.

The folks at MediaPost’s Research Brief summed it up nicely:

Every interaction with a brand can either drive customer loyalty, or lead to abandonment to a competitor, says the report. The repercussions of a negative digital experience have never been higher, and the result of a positive experience is becoming increasingly more valuable. 84% of online users say brand trust is a result of a positive online experience. In addition, the vast majority say that a positive online experience makes it more likely for them to complete the purchase with the company and to buy from a company again

  • 78% of consumers agree that they are more likely to be loyal to companies that give them a great experience and service online

  • The result of a poor online interaction with a brand is abandonment of the transaction (45%), a negative perception of the company (45%), loss of trust (43%), and loss of a customer to an alternative website (41%)

So to answer the question, yes, treating customers as if they were family members or dear friends does have measurable positive effects.  We don’t need research, however, to tell us that suing our customers is a bad idea.  Almost as bad as having customer service people who can’t be reached by customers or who treat those customer complaints as annoyances rather than a problem a friend is having.

Does that make sense?

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Filed under Consulting, Reality checks

What’s In A Name Brand?

How difficult would it be for me to get you to change the brands you use in a number of household categories?


(Photo credit: coolmikeol)

Would it be hard for me to get you to drop a national or name brand in favor of a store brand?  You know what I mean – Market Pantry (Target), Great Value (Walmart), and Kirkland Signature (Costco) are all brands with which you might be familiar.  They’re generally less expensive although not always – Trader Joe’s and 365 Organic (Whole Foods) are pretty pricey.  The quality is generally very good – as good or better, according to this piece from Consumer Reports.

Why do I bring this up (and it isn’t even Foodie Friday!)?  Because a lot of effort and money goes into branding, mostly spent by the national brands, one would think that there is some sort of clear distinction in consumers’ minds between quality, cost, and the value of those brands.  Not so much:

While more than half of shoppers (54 percent) named quality as their top priority when shopping for everyday products, less than a third said that name brands are better quality or more reliable than private label. However, 56 percent of shoppers have the perception that name brand packaging is more attractive than private label.

That’s from a study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research.  They also found that:

  • Only 29 percent of the survey’s respondents feel strongly that national brands are of better quality, down from 36 percent last year and 43 percent in 2010
  • When asked what types of private label household goods shoppers are okay buying, 66 percent of respondents listed over-the-counter medicine at the top of the list with milk as a close second with 61 percent
  • The least purchased private label category in the study is pet food, with only 18 percent of shoppers saying they would be okay purchasing this as private label
  • Millennials (18-24) are 13 percent more likely than the general population to be increasing their private label brand purchases. Shoppers aged 65 and older are 33 percent more likely to be upping their private label purchases.

It’s way too easy to write this off as a manifestation of the economic times.  Higher prices no longer mean better quality nor does having a national brand name.  It will be interesting to watch how the national brands handle this.  Coupons can reduce the pricing differential but that doesn’t immediately change the preferences of a consumer who now has seen that there isn’t a difference in quality.  National brands can probably do a better job of consumer engagement as well as in partnering with other national brands.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Are you using more store brands?  How can a national brand win you back?

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Filed under Thinking Aloud