Do you always choose the brands you use based on what you think about a brand on some rational level? Or, do you always choose based on your emotions – how you feel about a brand or your connection to a brand? In reality we all make choices based on both rational evaluations and emotional comparisons of alternatives. 

As a form of evolutionary survival, humans developed the ability to make decisions - mostly good ones - based on a limited amount of time and information. This is also known as heuristics, the basic idea of which is that we do not spend a lot of time gathering information or analyzing facts in order to make decisions. We get just enough information to allow us to make a choice and then we stop.

Today, thanks to the work in heuristics and in consumer psychology, we know that consumers are very poor at accurately reporting:

1. What they have done in the past 
2. What they intend to do in the future, and
3. Why they will do what they say they will do.

The reason the traditional measures that we have used to measure loyalty or attraction have failed is they are at odds with how we really think and make choices. 

The reason the traditional measures that we have used to measure loyalty or attraction have failed is they are at odds with how we really think and make choices. Our subconscious makes a decision and our conscious mind simply complies or when asked about the decision it “makes up” or rationalizes the choice the subconscious makes.

The second critical element that we have not paid enough attention to is the importance of using relative not absolute measures. As we know, there is a role for both rational and emotional context in brand choices, but if we are to understand retention and attraction for a brand we need to understand the relative thoughts and feelings that affect choices.

So whatever your strategy, you need to know that it is working with the right target audience. From this point of view you want two measures, how strong is the rational appeal and how strong is the emotional appeal to your brand? Is that what you were aiming for (are the right messages getting through)? Which do you need to further develop or emphasize? And you want to know whether the competition is vulnerable and on which dimension – rational or emotional.

We do not believe a single question can effectively measure the health of a brand or speak to its retention or acquisition. And, no measure asked in the absolute can work. This explains why satisfaction, value, quality, NPS (or any stated intention to purchase/ repurchase) cannot work. What we need is a measure of consumer-based brand equity based on both an emotional and rational attraction to a brand and measured in a relative way.

Remember that both the emotional and the rational matter and they do not always have the same degree of influence. So if the influence can be different, shouldn’t we weight them differently to accurately reflect how decisions are made within a category?

Our approach at rsg does this. For consumer equity, we utilize unique weights for every category – every study. How we do this is novel.

Contact us if you would like to learn more about our approach. / 647.631.3925
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