BRAND PREFERENCE: AN OVERVIEW
It is necessary at this point to attempt a definitive approach into the concept of brand preference. Advertising and media practitioners as well as consumer analysts have done a lot of research on the topic, especially as it relates to advertising among substitutes.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, submits that brand preference "represents which brands are preferred under assumptions of equality in price and availability." This explanation suggests that a particular brand is preferred to others not because of a particular market price or its availability compared to others but as determined by other elements.
Brand preference has little or nothing to do with the brand's superiority over others. It is merely a result of brand familiarity which is achieved through advertising - a constant exposure of consumers to the brand. It is this exposure that leads to familiarity, and then preference.
The Dictionary of Psychology describes brand preference as a behavior exhibited by consumers in which there is prioritization of one brand over another in the same category. This indicates that brand preference is caused by a change in behavior which results in loyalty to the product and consistency in its use.
Brand preference, therefore, refers to the decision to purchase a particular brand based on loyalty to that brand, not circumstantially or resulting from cost advantage, but a purely selective demand. All things being equal, the buyer becomes loyal to the brand and continually purchases the brand, even in the presence of substitutes.
The Barron's marketing Dictionary refers to it as a selective demand for a company's brand rather than a product. That is, the degree to which consumers prefer one brand over another. This preference, according to the source results from convincing the audience to consider the advantages of a brand, often by building its reputation as a long established and trusted name in the industry.
In essence, brand preference does not result from the quality or price of a brand, but from the conviction established in the minds of the consumers that the brand can be trusted. For instance, if Mr. Ola has a preference for Company A and becomes loyal to its brand, even if company B's brand is cheaper, Mr. Ola will continue to purchase Company A's brand.
Furthermore, Brand preference is more than mere repurchasing a brand. Consumers may repurchase a brand due to situational constraints, a lack of viable alternatives, or out of convenience. Such preference or loyalty is referred to as "spurious loyalty". True brand preference exists when a consumer have a high relative attitude towards the brand, and this attitude is exhibited through continuous patronage of the brand.
Brand preference seeks more to explain the buyer decision making process. For a brand to attain preference among consumers, it must have been packaged in ways that suit the demographic, psychographic, behavioural, and socio-economic make-up. It must be packaged to show a sense of understanding of people's wants.
BRAND PREFERENCE IN RELATION TO TELEVISION ADVERTISING
One very obvious truth is that there cannot be brand preference without advertising. Of all the media of advertising, television has been identified as the most effective. Television advertising combines both audio and visual elements in a synchronized manner to enforce the message and create impact.
According to Boyland and Halford (2012),"advertising is the principal method of demand creation...a growing television viewership coupled with the perception on the part of the manufactures that they could use this medium most effectively to reach millions of people simultaneously has contributed to the phenomenal growth in the number of advertisements finding place through the television."
Television provides one of the first and most intimate experiences of commercial goods promotion. The consumer is convinced through marketing campaigns, such as advertising on television that a product is preferable. This is why brand preference is closely linked with advertising-in this context, television advertising.
Television advertising has been proven to enhance brand preference due to its many favourable features. A continuous demand for a particular brand irrespective of change in price matures into brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is the ultimate goal of marketing. It refers to complete trust for, and commitment to a brand.
In marketing, brand loyalty consists of a consumer's commitment to repurchase the brand and can be demonstrated by repeated buying of a product or service or other positive behaviours such as word of mouth advocacy. True brand loyalty implies that the consumer is willing, at least on occasion, to put aside their own desires in the interest of the brand.
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About Author / Additional Info:
Richard Imhoagene is a freelance journalist, writer and columnist. He is also a student at the University of Benin, Benin city, Nigeria.