New Consumer Research Unveils Attributes and Qualities Driving Consumer Marketplace Behavior

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A study conducted by Foodmix Marketing Communications measures attributes associated with brand love to help understand US consumers’ evolving relationships with their favorite food brands.

What attributes or qualities do you like about [INSERT BRAND]? Check all that apply. Base: All (n=1,002) On 10-point brand love scale, Brand Lovers=8-10; Brand Likers=1-7

A new study measuring consumer connection to their favorite food brands continues to offer insight on the extent to which consumers truly love food brands, the feelings and emotions that drive brand love, and the ways in which brand love drives consumers’ marketplace behaviors. Consumer research conducted earlier this year surveyed 1,000 consumers; the sample was representative of the US population by age, gender, income, ethnicity and region. Research results have unveiled that consumer love of food brands, large and small, is pervasive in the US marketplace. Specifically, almost two-thirds (63%) of consumers reported loving their favorite branded food product, meaning they had developed an emotional attachment, beyond just liking or being loyal to it.

The study asked consumers to select up to 30 attributes that they liked about their favorite branded food product. The recently released data provided two distinct consumer groups: those who loved their favorite food brand, and those who merely liked it. Of the 30 attributes, the results found 12 attributes that ‘brand lovers’ were far more likely to ascribe to their favorite brand, compared to merely ‘brand likers.’ These were attributes believed to help differentiate and define loved food brands – attributes that lead consumers into forming enduring emotional attachments with certain brands and not others.

The 12 differentiating attributes offer interesting acuities about what food companies might do to increase the emotional bond between consumers and their products. The first insight is that three of the 12 attributes, refreshing, freshness and premium/high quality, are functional. This finding is consistent with the broad trend in American food culture, driven by Millennials, towards fresher, healthier, and higher-quality foods. The second insight from the data is that nine of the 12 attributes associated with brand love are personality characteristics. These qualities range from authentic and one-of-a-kind to fun, friendly, exciting and creative. Rounding out the list is trustworthy, energizing and intense.

“Food companies that can imbue their brands with these or other personality aspects, and that can weave them into compelling stories about what their brands stand for, are on their way to creating the strong emotional connections of brand love,” said Bill Sherman, the study’s research director.

The research also found differences by generation. Baby boomers were more likely to seek favorite food brands that provide a sense of stability. Attributes such as consistent, reliable, trustworthy and established were more important to boomers than to their younger counterparts. Boomers were also more likely to choose favorites of premium/high quality – another marker of stability. By contrast, Millennials were more drawn to food brands with personality traits that can convey a feeling of adventure. Attributes such as authentic, fun, exciting and creative were more important to Millennials than to boomers and, to a lesser extent, Gen X’ers.

The agency behind the study, Foodmix Marketing Communications, will continue to release results of the study that will examine the impact of brand love on such bottom-line measures as consumer loyalty and advocacy, purchase frequency and receptivity to brand extensions.

To read more about the survey, visit: foodmix.net/path-to-brand-love. For questions or to speak with a member of the Foodmix research team, please contact hheilmeier(at)foodmix.net or call 630-366-7534.

About Foodmix Marketing Communications
Foodmix Marketing Communications is a full-service brand marketing agency, supporting clients in the areas of market research, brand strategy, creative development, communications and sales support. Foodmix has been developing and executing integrated B2B, B2C and increasingly B2B2C brand campaigns for some of the biggest and best names in food for more than 30 years. Foodmix has been at the forefront of The Food Renaissance by helping clients interpret and capitalize upon the evolving food culture. In 2013 and 2014, Foodmix was named as one of the fastest growing companies in America by Inc. 500/5000. For more information, visit http://www.foodmix.net.

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Hannah Heilmeier
Foodmix
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