Buy or not to buy: How brands influence consumer choice?

David Ogilvy, considered as the ‘father of advertising’ had said, “Brand is something that remains even when a factory is burned”. What he meant to say is that the value of a brand for a company is more than its physical assets. If you strip a company of its physical infrastructure, it can still be rebuilt. But if a brand image is destroyed, it becomes almost impossible to regain. As a matter of fact, the customer buys any product, based on the trademark or the image that has been cemented on his/her mind. Companies seeking trademark protection for their brands are very well aware of this fact and value brands even more than their physical assets. Let’s delve deeper and understand how brands influence consumer choices.

Brands influence consumer choice and behavior:

It is known that age often impacts consumer behavior. The target group of a particular brand is primarily based on age. This inference is backed by research. As per studies, older people with longer purchasing experience consider diversified options while younger lot with less experience rely on price and brand. But even when we say diversified options for older people, their choices are more or less dictated by the brands they trust or are familiar with. An unknown product is least likely to be picked, at least not by 50% of the consumers.

Seeing the relationship between a brand and consumer behavior, registering a brand name becomes imperative for a company. Brands create a connection between the product and the emotional perception of the customer and guard against competitive encroachment.

Brands influence the notion of ‘perceived quality’:

Another important aspect that dictates consumer choices is the idea of ‘perceived quality’. This is where the phrase ‘first impression is the last impression’ holds totally true. Let’s take an example. If a person expects a bad level of quality from a brand and actually receives it, he or she will certainly lower the level of preference for the brand. Once established, this notion will be hard to change. This is why most people prefer to buy products from well known or familiar brands. These brands have built a positive notion of perceived quality through years of consistency.

The challenge of ‘perceived quality’ is the toughest for a new brand. Newer brands need to make the consumers ‘perceive’ their products in good light and reinforce their interest by offering good quality products. This will make experimental consumers opt for new brands.

Brand management – focus point of marketing:

What does it mean if we say that a company named Xyz has a strong branding? It means that apart from enjoying a large pool of loyal customers, the company has a well-framed and legally compliant branding strategy. The company has made a niche in the minds of the customers through consistent efforts. So when it comes to marketing, brand management is hard to ignore.

Brands work somewhat as a signal. The information about a brand becomes crucial in guiding decisions and influencing consumer behavior. Thus, branding and brand management form an integral part of holistic marketing. They become critical in creating and maintaining a competitive advantage.

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Brand registration to brand awareness:

Registering a brand name or logo or a tagline is the first step towards establishing a strong brand. Once registered, it becomes important to make your target group be aware of your brand. Brand awareness is a fundamental aspect of brand management.

Going by definition, brand awareness is a marketing term that deals with the degree of consumer recognition of a product by its name or symbol. It is the ability of a potential buyer to recognize that a brand is a member of a particular product category.  It is thus a key step in promoting a new product or reviving an old brand. Apart from differentiating unique features of a particular brand from its competitors, brand awareness can influence consumer’s confidence in the buying decision.

 Using the power of brand influence to your advantage:

Consumer behavior depends upon a variety of factors interacting in complex ways. One of the factors is brand image, which strongly impacts the decision-making process of the consumer.  Companies need to understand that for good brand management, understanding customer’s perceptions is critical. The rise in consumerism is providing ample options for customers, leading to dwindling brand loyalty. To avoid this companies  should understand consumer’s needs and  identify their target groups carefully. Serious efforts towards creating strong relations with their customers is the need of the hour.

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