[Video] Why (Brand) Love Doesn’t Really Exist
Jessica Hubbard, Deputy Editor; 25 February 16
In their Myth Buster series, global brand agency Brand Union explores certain myths that they believe are still prevalent in marketing today. Their first series looked at the myth of Brand Loyalty, and how it impacts marketing strategy.
“When marketers go about developing their marketing strategies, they’re still labouring under some false assumptions,” explains Mathew Weiss, MD, Brand Union Cape Town.
Starting with the question of ‘how do you grow your brand?’ Weiss says you either start with growing your market share (increasing the number of people that buy your brand for the first time); or you can get your existing customers to buy your brand again.
“Both of these strategies are seen as equally valid, but the research shows that while penetration is something that varies significantly, loyalty or frequency of purchase doesn’t actually vary very much,” he says. “And it doesn’t really matter what category you’re in – washing powder, beer, shampoo – the research by TNS and Nielsen shows that while penetration varies significantly between the top brand in the market and the smallest brand, their respective frequencies hardly vary…”
Even with beer, Weiss points out that the top brand in the market was bought at roughly the same frequency as the lower/lesser known brands.
“So [brand] penetration is something that varies and is therefore something you can influence,” notes Weiss. ”Whereas purchase frequency is much harder to influence as a marketer…not impossible, but much harder.”
In his view, there is currently a focus among marketers on existing customers and people who are engaged with your brand.
“There’s a big trend towards this idea of creating deep commitment, deep engagement and ultimately creating ‘fans’ or brand love if you like,” says Weiss. “And all this is based on the idea that people want relationships with brands…if that were the case, then you would see high levels of loyalty – but in fact you don’t.”
Essentially, he insists that the concept of ‘brand love’ is a myth, because people don’t really engage with brands in the way that marketers like to think that they do.
“While research suggests that people may like a brand, it doesn’t mean that they actually want to have a relationship with the brand…”
This goes for brand engagement across any platform, including social media, which as Weiss points out, has been sold to marketers as the ultimate medium for deep brand engagement.