Boosting Brand Preference: The Voice of Your Customer

Brand awareness, the measurement of consumers’ knowledge of your brand and brand image, how consumers perceive your company, product or service, is a marriage that directly translates to “wallet share.”  Developing a positive, meaningful and powerful brand image will create customer stickiness that translates into sales.

But what happens when your brand awareness and image are strong and top of mind yet your brand preference scores lower on the scale than your competition?  How do you affect the decision making process so your customers will choose your company, your product or service instead of your competitor’s?

Brand preference is defined as the “measure of brand loyalty in which a consumer will choose a particular brand in the presence of competing brands, but will accept substitutes if that brand is not available.”  If your brand awareness or image isn’t the problem then let’s explore three of the most popular issues that impact brand preference.  It’s all about listening to the voice of the customer.

Pricing

If your brand image is strong, i.e. it translates as value, high reputation, great service, etc., but sales are lower than your competition and your pricing is higher, you’ve set up a monetary road block.  Either you are valuing your product higher than your customer is or you’re targeting the wrong customer!  Remember, the price of something doesn’t always translate as value.  If adjusting your price will negatively affect your brand positioning then you need to consider focusing on a new target market or altering your brand offering.  Consider boosting sales by targeting a different demographic or creating a different, more affordable offering that still leverages your brand.  Vera Wang has a line of clothing at Kohl’s!

Availability

In the 1970s Sebastian hair care products took over the industry.  They were available only in salons, garnered a price in the higher-end and were perceived as hip must-have products.  Then came the competition and by the end of 1980s there were hundreds of brands in the same niche.   Today, you can buy Sebastian products in the local grocery stores.  The product hasn’t changed, the pricing might be a little lower but their brand image still represents the quality of a much sought-after product.  What changed was their availability.  By making it easier for consumers to find their products they boosted their sales.

Needs

If your product or service isn’t resonating with your customer then ask them what they need.  Making changes that better align with their needs will boost preference.  Starbuck’s now sells an instant espresso coffee in grocery stores because consumers wanted their Starbuck’s faster and more conveniently.  GM has designed their automobiles specifically to the needs of women who influence 85% of all vehicle sales.  Apple created the iPad to combine music, Internet access, video chatting, photos, books, games and more because consumers wanted to carry fewer devices.  Whether it’s bigger, stronger, faster, lighter or less filling, adapting to the needs of your customer shows you’re listening to them and creates loyalty and preference.

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