Brand preference can be a powerful tool in a company’s toolbox. Here’s what it means, why it’s important, and tips for how to establish it.
As we make our way through a day of running errands, we all have our brand preferences, like the place we get our hair cut. The coffee that perks us up a bit more than the rest. The frozen pizza that pairs best with movie night. Even if it’s not something customers are conscious of, most of us have brand preferences—and they influence our customer journey.
What is brand preference?
Brand preference is when a customer identifies a preferred product and makes that brand a part of their regular purchasing routine. This might come after a consumer tests other products—trying out the competition but ultimately settling on one prevailing brand. The reasoning could range from the product itself to the brand’s messaging or even the brand’s values. The goal of building brand preference is to create a direct relationship that creates loyal customers who keep your brand top of mind at the point of their purchase decision.
Why is brand preference important?
Brand preference helps establish stability within your customer base. Not only does a consumer with brand preference stand the chance of choosing your product more often, but they also have the potential to advocate for your brand, helping shift other consumer preferences for people who may be unsure of which brand to try.
Additionally, brand preference can be an indicator of an effective upper-funnel strategy. In the marketing funnel, a successful upper-funnel strategy involves creating brand awareness through meaningful interactions with consumers. One of the biggest hurdles that a brand faces is breaking through the noise and determining that their brand is visible and embraced by the people whom they’re trying to reach. Creating the level of brand loyalty that comes with brand preference isn’t simply an indicator that your brand awareness has grown, but that your brand has resonated enough with a consumer that they’ve prioritized it as they move through their customer journey.
Furthermore, once brand preference has been established, a well-known brand has the potential to, in simple terms, advertise itself. Whether that’s through a memorable brand image, a good customer service experience, or a brand name that sticks out in the mind of potential customers, these small things contribute to brand preference, helping up-and-coming names break into the marketplace.
How do you measure brand preference?
As noted above, it’s important to pay attention to marketing efforts as they pertain to brand awareness strategies: what is working, what isn’t, and what can be improved.
Measuring brand preference is important for start-ups and emerging brands that are trying to assess their brand value. The first step to measuring brand preference is assessing the efficiency of the advertising in drawing people to your brand.
Amazon Ads offers Amazon Attribution to measure the on-Amazon impact of brands’ non-Amazon media. Brands can also determine brand preference, awareness, and brand lift of their Amazon Ads campaigns through leading industry measurement partners. Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) brings advertisers additional flexibility to understand the sequence of marketing touchpoints that deliver impact and build a comprehensive view of how to most effectively engage their audience.
How do you increase brand preference?
Brand preference isn’t something that can be established overnight, but by building awareness, communicating with customers, and staying nimble, brand preference is attainable.
1. Be proactive with brand awareness
Brand building is a crucial step for any brand to create brand preference. If a consumer isn’t aware that your brand exists, they don’t have the opportunity to build any brand preference. Market research is a good starting place to identify what opportunities your brand has among all the other existing brands. What is a realistic market share your brand can aspire to have?
Establishing a solid marketing strategy that highlights the unique parts of your brand will customers understand why they should be willing to try your specific product. Identifying those aspects that are key to your brand’s identity is of the utmost importance—if that is the brand values, emphasize that. If it’s an inventive social media presence, make sure it’s highlighted. Most importantly, be ready to show value and back up any claim you make.
2. Be communicative with customers
Consumers are savvy and socially minded, paying attention to both a brand’s promise and their actions behind it. Establishing customer loyalty means delivering on your brand’s promise. Technology has broken down barriers and connected people all around the world, giving consumers a more global worldview. They’re seeing the effects of climate change, and rethinking their habits and purchases. Many consumers are supporting social justice movements in the hopes of creating a more equitable society.1
Consumers are also aware of the unique—and often outsize—influence that brands hold. As such, they’re looking all brands to do more. Many consumers around the world would like to see more empathy and humanity from brands, and are asking them to strike a balance between profit and meaningful contributions to society.2
Being able to communicate values-based messaging, as well as product messaging, to customers in a timely manner helps establish a rapport with them. In turn, that brand engagement can help further create brand trust and a direct relationship that can evolve into brand preference and loyalty.
3. Be nimble and ready to pivot
Being able to pivot applies to both advertising and customers’ needs. A brand should always be evolving with their customers, paying close attention to customer feedback along the way. Showing that commitment to customers can go a long way.
In terms of advertising and building more brand visibility, Amazon Ads offers several ways to measure brand awareness, such as new-to-brand metrics. Sponsored Brands offers unique reporting w¬ith new-to-brand metrics, which help you measure the total number of first-time customers or total first-time sales in the past 12 months.
Knowing that many non-Amazon channels play a role in the customer journey, you can gain insights on how your brand or products reached new audiences with Amazon Attribution. The console helps you unify your advertising measurement across search, social, video, display, and email. By understanding the impact of your digital advertising across touchpoints, you can better drive awareness and achieve your brand marketing goals.
1-2 Environics Research, “Amazon Ads | Social Values Global Consumer Themes,” US, UK, ES, FR, DE, IT, 2021