The changing customer-brand relationship
While the concepts of ‘brand’ and ‘loyalty’ (of the attitudinal rather than behavioural variety) have historically been hugely important for marketers, technology changes surely mean that their authority as driving principles for the profession needs to be questioned.
This has huge implications for market research as tracking these core axioms of marketing has been a significant source of revenue for our profession.
The background that many of us are used to is that as markets developed and products proliferated, we increasingly needed shortcuts to guide us through the complexity of our everyday choices. Many of our purchases are pretty functional and, frankly, we either don’t have the time to spend evaluating the pros and cons of different toilet cleaners or we don’t have the necessary access to information to really gauge whether the claims made by one are really better than the competition.
Brand therefore became a shortcut for us, signalling a promise of quality and consistency. We did not have to do the leg-work, we could simply rely on the brand. From the marketer’s perspective, the idea was to create an emotional connection so that consumers built a lasting affinity with the brand. Many is the time that I have heard companies saying they want to be the ‘best loved’ brand in their category.
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