Will Consumers Buy Your Brand When the Market Turns Around?

By Viji Davis, VP Client Services

I was just in one of the suburbs of Detroit over the weekend and was completely immersed in the current economic strife. Driving through town, I passed multiple foreclosure signs, empty buildings that housed failed businesses and even free land if you build or relocate a company. It was a place where the economic reality was inescapable, especially in a town that relies heavily on the flailing auto industry. The news in motor city is one that is mixed, of hope and skepticism. As I was thinking more and more about this, I find that it relates a lot to branding principles in general and what marketers should be doing now to capitalize on the marketplace.

With the Dow on the incline, Detroit analysts are optimistic about consumer intent to purchase.
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Dow Jones Industrial Average History

Taking a look at Google trends, over the past 30 days, search volume for ‘car sales’ in the Detroit area is on the incline:

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Google Insights Detroit Car Sales Search Volume

What does this tell us? Consumer psychology has a lot to do with purchase intent in the marketplace. With the Dow on the rise, consumers are optimistic about the economy and are slowly inching back and entertaining the market. The more optimistic a consumer is, the more likely they will re-invest in the economy, the more likely the economy will start turning around.

However, what they will choose to re-invest in becomes the key to business success. Is your brand top-of-mind with consumers? If not, they will not choose you. Of the big 3 automakers in Detroit, Ford has always had more of the share of queries when compared to the direct competition from GM and Chrysler. This pattern continues over the past thirty days, even with the increase interest in ‘auto sales’:

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Comparative Search Volume for Ford GM and Chrysler in Detroit

You can see that Ford is clearly above GM and Chrysler, even as they hit a peak at the end of March. As you think about this, think about the origin of ‘branding.’ According to Wikipedia, “In English Lexicon, the word brand originally meant anything hot or burning, such as a firebrand, a burning stick” and was used to “show ownership of livestock.” As the term evolved during the years, it has come to take on more of a correlation between product and mindshare. We need to remember that, the essence of branding will singe your product into the consumer psyche.

So, although, consumer perception will drive sales, if your brand does not exist within a consumer’s mindshare, that revenue isn’t coming to you. It is going to your competition.


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