18

The power in brands

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To make life easier and avoid thinking more than necessary, we usually try to let past experience be our guide. Brands automatically bring to mind thoughts and ideas and stimulate behaviours in us. This has enormous potential for the development of new products and new marketing concepts.

Just as our choices and our thinking around product categories and products tend to follow riverbeds and thought tunnels, our thoughts about brands are similarly locked into certain patterns. This means that the brand automatically elicits certain thoughts and behaviours in us, which is termed brand gravity. Figure 18.1 is a classic example that you will doubtless recognize.

The diagram shows the results of an American consumer study comparing people's taste experiences of different beer brands when they knew/didn't know which brands they were tasting. The left-hand box shows how people rated the taste of the different brands of beer when they didn't know which brand they were tasting. Not entirely unexpectedly, the brands came very close to each other (with the exception of the Irish beer Guinness, which has a very distinctive taste). This is the typical result for most product categories; the actual differences in the product are small among competitors. The right-hand box shows how people rated the taste of the different brands of beer when they knew which brand they ...

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