How to break blind brand loyalty

A new study unveils how brands can disrupt tech habits and win new consumers


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While most Canadians are focused on squeezing the most out of summer, others are already turning their attention to making a list and checking it twice, way ahead of the traditional lead up to the holiday season.

According to “Talking Tech,” a new study from Yahoo Canada, 7% of respondents started their holiday shopping in July, 15% will slip into shopping mode before Thanksgiving and 30% will be in-market before Black Friday.

And, research shows tech devices—from smartphones to televisions, cameras, laptops and tablets—are a major focus this year: 18% of those surveyed plan to gift themselves an electronic device and 15% plan to buy electronics for others (38% aren’t sure if electronic devices are on their shopping list yet).

Research manager Sarah Bradley said Yahoo wanted to find out if Canadians are loyal to tech brands and dig deeper into why consumers might purchase multiple devices from the same brand.

On average, people own eight devices and they continue to buy—whether they’re replacing a broken device or simply upgrading. Of the 1,000 Canadians surveyed, one in three feel pressure to keep up with technology and 41% feel they need the best devices.

The study confirms that most consumers stick with what they know, buying brands they already own, across multiple devices in the home.

Most people migrate or update models, they rarely move brands, said Bradley, adding the reason is simple: “People are brand loyal because it’s easy—they get comfortable.”

Of course, brand loyalty is wonderful—that is, unless it’s not your brand they’re loyal to.

Marketers in the tech space have to work extra hard to cut through blind brand loyalty and convince consumers to change their habits.

The stakes are high: Of those surveyed, 64% had purchased electronic devices in the last 12 months and 65% plan to buy devices in the next 12 months (yes, trendsetters who just bought are in the market again in an effort to stay ahead of the curve).

However, more than one-third feels overwhelmed by the number of devices available today and are looking for guidance: 76% research online before making a purchase.

This provides a valuable opportunity for brands to disrupt consumer habits and steer the path to purchase. The study emphasizes the importance of an overall awareness campaign that combines a constant search strategy, with tech coverage, expert reviews and rich ads that illustrate to consumers how easy it is to move to a new device.

“Brands need to think about securing key dates early,” said Bradley, who will be presenting findings from the study at the Yahoo “Stacking the Tech” event in Toronto September 10. “The research provides important insight for brands. We will show brands how to take implications of this research and put it into action with tactical ideas and examples designed to propel them ahead of the competition.”

For instance, if consumers upgrade because they want the latest and greatest technology and gadgets, brands can take advantage by marketing individual features that offer superior quality—on a phone that might be a great camera, a long battery life, screen size, apps, etc.

“It gets people starting to think about the things they have on their device,” said Bradley. “Obviously part of that is the consolidated suite the phone offers, but also the individual components that separate it from the competition.”

And, don’t discount peace of mind. After price, warranty is the top feature consumers look at when determining what product to purchase. “They want to know there is some security, especially when they are going out on a limb and buying a new brand.”

Click here for more information on Yahoo’s upcoming event.


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