Putting Shoppers First in Your Research

Shopper First Graph

Putting Shoppers First in Your Research

Market research can benefit from thinking in terms of brand alignment rather than brand loyalty argues Alter Agents’ Mike Dickerson.

With a vast amount of information at their fingertips, consumers are now willing to switch brand allegiance in unprecedented ways. Shoppers have come to expect new and better in all categories, and they are willing to follow through on these expectations with their wallets.

This is also shifting the way we do brand research. Traditional quantitative surveys pay too much attention to the brands in question and too little attention to shoppers’ needs. By moving from a framework of brand loyalty to brand alignment, consumer-first research can deliver superior insights.

There is a basic set of contrasts between brand loyalty and brand alignmentperspective to basic brand research:

Brand Loyalty

  • Focus on brands and attributes
  • Purchasing is habitual
  • The market is static
  • Value in consistency
Brand Alignment

  • Focus on consumers and needs
  • Purchasing is conditional
  • Consumers are dynamic
  • Value in continuous improvement

Within a brand alignment framework, every study is, to some extent, a segmentation. Rather than assuming every consumer cares about every attribute, we begin by asking consumers which qualities in a category they care about. In this way, the alignment approach puts consumers’ needs first, then follows-up with how brands align against those needs.

Rather than a single set of scores for opinion or consideration, this allows for a richer, nuanced dive into the data without project additional cost, complexity, or time.

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