Why it's important for consumers to fall in love with brands
- While many experts and consumers have predicted the downfall of major food and beverage brands as startups take over more of the total market share, an overwhelming number of consumers still name these large legacy brands among their favorite products, according to the Foodmix 2016 Brand Love Survey.
- Legacy brands offer a level of familiarity and comfort that startups often can't rival, including among younger consumers. But startups and smaller brands that focus on health-related benefits also made their way into respondents' favorite brands.
- The survey identified three tiers of qualities that make food brands consumers' favorites: price/value, taste, freshness, convenience and consistency in the first tier; personality traits like "authentic," "fun" and "exciting" in the second tier; and health-related claims like high-protein, low-fat and eco-friendly in the third tier.
Brand love is a concept that extends across demographics, with similar portions of consumers in various groups reporting "loving" — rather than simply "liking" — their favorite food and beverage brands. All manufacturers, regardless of their target customer, have the ability to evoke a sense of "love" as a group's "favorite" brand. It simply needs to embody the right characteristics that the target demographic associates with products they "love."
The difference between "loving" and "liking" a brand often comes down to high-quality products and positioning and the emotional qualities a brand evokes in consumers, such as "authentic" and "fun." While health-related claims continue to be important to many groups of consumers, in general, these and other functional qualities are more likely to appear across both "liked" and "loved" brands.
If a manufacturer wants its brand to be a beloved favorite, the company will have to do more than pursue health claims and functionality. It should also consider establishing the brand's personality and emotional connectedness to consumers to achieve "brand love" status.
The power of brand love is visible in both good and bad times, the latter arguably being more important. Blue Bell has developed a loyal following over the years. These consumers are so loving that despite two recalls in the past couple of years, including one that shut down production for months, many still demanded the brand's return to stores and returned to regular purchasing once Blue Bell resumed distribution. Often this kind of massive recall can be destabilizing for a food or beverage brand, especially when food safety and public health are involved.
- Foodmix Marketing Communications Foodmix 2016 Brand Love Survey