Using human relationships as metaphors to describe brand relationships, GfK is helping marketers drive brand momentum and market success.
Nuremberg – GfK has developed a new quantitative approach to brand and customer management research based on the idea that human relationships serve as both metaphors and templates for consumers’ relationships with brands.
This new approach was developed in collaboration with the GfK Verein and Prof. Susan Fournier (Boston University), one of the foremost experts in brand experience management. It is based on an extensive global R&D initiative across 11 categories and over 250 brands.
John Wittenbraker, Global Director of Innovation, Brand & Customer Experience at GfK, explains, "Relationships are inherently emotional and social – which are also the two most important engines of consumer behavior. And relationship metaphors are intuitive for consumers and brand managers alike. So, when we learn that some consumers view the brand as a ‘Beloved Hero’ versus a ‘Close Admired Partner’, everyone understands the nuances – such as the consumer expectations and permissions, and drivers of success and failure. This approach moves us beyond the traditional brand funnel – and, because it accounts for the lifespan of relationships that consumers have with brands, it also delivers strategies for managing customer lifetime value, which are key to long-term brand success.”
GfK has developed statistical models that identify which brand equities (such as features, imagery, relationship dimensions) drive relationship growth and decline. This is providing their clients with clear guidance on how to improve brand management and customer experience. And their performance models have already shown a clear connection between these brand relationships and business outcomes.
This model of consumer-brand relationships presents a much-needed common language across advertising, brand and loyalty research – and is part of GfK’s focus on the close connections between brand and customer experiences.