Is Brand Really King? What PA Consumers Said in SP&R’s First Keystone Consumer Insights Survey
It seems to be the favorite word of marketers—a company’s brand. The buzzword is often accompanied by a slew of commonly quoted phrases, including: building your “brand image”, establishing “brand presence”, keeping your “brand promise”, creating “brand ambassadors”. According to Advertising Age, the 100 Leading National Advertisers spent an estimated $104.5 billion on U.S. advertising in 2012. The world’s biggest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, Co., spent $9.3 billion on global advertising in 2012, about 11.7% of net sales. Also on the list of advertising key players is General Motors Co., Comcast Corp., AT&T and Verizon Communications, to name a few. Forbes cites that brand matters because with a well-established brand, you have a sense of what you’re getting.
But what if brand isn’t everything? SP&R’s first-ever statewide Keystone Consumer Insights Survey suggests that brand may not be the deciding factor after all. When asked if respondents purchase products based on loyalty to familiar brand names or whether pricing and quality are more important regardless of the brand, 77% opted for pricing and quality versus brand name loyalty, chosen by 15%. The survey, conducted from Sept. 24th to Oct. 1st, included statewide live and automated interviews with 813 PA consumers and “primary” decision-makers. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.4%.
These results present an interesting clue into the mind of the consumer—and an intriguing road map for marketers who have invested countless hours and billions of dollars concocting the ideal brand archetype. Results suggest that brand may not be a company’s alpha and omega and generic products may be in the running if made with good quality and priced to meet consumer price points.
Consumers seem to want to know what they’re getting for their money, and in today’s tough economy, shoppers are increasingly cost-conscious, with buying habits based on a variety of factors rather than a singular one. Respondents of our poll would be an indication that branding efforts—no matter how prevalent—may not surpass more basic qualities of a product when making a purchasing decision and that an effective campaign will account for all elements in its strategy.