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Maintaining brand loyalty in a rocky economy.

* In the CPG world, brand loyalty is the golden ring. However, attaining and holding onto the loyalty of shoppers is very difficult--it requires skill to understand consumer needs and determination in precise communication that a product will deliver on those needs. And how much more difficult does that task become during a prolonged period of economic problems?

In SymphonyIRI Group's current Times & Trends Report, "Brand Loyalty: How Understanding Brand Equity Impacts Brand Loyalty and Delivers to the Top and Bottom Line," the firm uncovers insights into what drives consumers to seek out their preferred brands and highlights recommended strategies for winning the hearts and minds of today's savvy, conscious shoppers.

An environment marked by consumers strapped for cash and current events make addressing brand loyalty even more complex than normal. Consumers numb from a vacillating economy have embraced frugal ways and continue to make purchases deliberately and cautiously. Despite a period of prolonged economic difficulty, brand loyalty is strong and growing across a number of CPG categories.

"While most retailers and manufacturers will instinctively pull the lever to compete on price, it's important to understand that consistently leading with price has significant negative impacts on brand equity" said John Mclndoe, senior vice president, marketing, SymphonylRI."Rather, CPG leaders must harness the power of value. The battle for the shopper's loyalty should not be dictated by low price, and winning CPG marketers are clearly getting this message."

In fact, brand loyalty has actually increased across 45 of the top 100 CPG categories during the past three years. For instance, brand loyalty is quite high, 87.6%, in the sports drink category. During the past three years, loyalty increased 6.5 points despite economic conditions and conservative purchase patterns.

Brand loyalty in the household cleaners category is pegged at 50.9%, according to SymphonyIRI. Meanwhile, brand loyalty for cleaning tools/mops/brooms is much higher at 72.4%. In personal care, shampoo brand loyalty is 65.9%.

Those three sectors--household cleaners, cleaning tools and shampoo--were among the categories with the largest increases in brand loyalty, up 3.5, 2.8 and 2.8 points, respectively, over 2008, the company said.

"Interestingly, nearly all of the categories in which brand loyalty gains were highest already have fairly high levels of brand loyalty," said Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI. "In fact, loyalty is more than 50% in nine out of 10 categories shown--a striking reminder that true loyalty can survive even prolonged economic upheaval."


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Title Annotation:News Front
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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