Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brand preference and loyalty a direct substitute for religion?

An article from the Winter 2010/2011 Canadian Business Magazine:

Shopping Religiously

A new study suggests that brand reliance is a direct substitute for religion.

Marketers looking for a new wayof connecting with consumers might want to consider the place of God in their brand strategies. According to the paper "Brands: The Opiate of the Non-religious masses?" published in the journal Market Research, consumers who are very religious are less likely to express a preference for a particular name brand, while more secular consumers demonstrate much higher levels of brand consciousness.

The idea that there is a connection between consumer rands and religious iconography is not new - whatis the Star of David if not the original Nike Swoosh? But according to the study's lead authoer Roh Shachar, what is interesting is that consumer brands actually serve as direct substitutes for religion, providing feelings of self-worth and well-being.

The unanswered question is whether a strong religious preference in a region might actually block the expansion of strong consumer brands. Shachar says that is where his research is going next; in the meantime, he suggests that retailers looking to promote unbranded products might consider using cues to remind shoppers of their religious beliefs (such as playing "religious-like" music), while national brands might want to avoid overtly religious signs and symbols.

- Andrew Potter, Canadian Business

1 comment:

  1. This doesn't surprise me at all - one of the main reasons religious people cite going to church and being involved in their community in the ways that they are is due to the feeling of belonging that they get from it.

    All that this article tells me is that these "drive to bond" and "need for affiliation" are biological (Maslow and Lawrence would agree with me, I'm sure - and that it can be filled in multiple ways, without deluding oneself to believe in an imaginary creator or God.

    Bonding to a particular brand and using it to help define who you are as a person is just another way humans can meet their biological needs and urges without God. There must be hundreds of other, less painless, ways too.