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What to do when consumers don’t care about brands?

A growing number of consumers are neither fans nor rejecters of a brand or a product. They simply do not care about brands. We launched a study to research this group of “indifferents”.

The term "indifferents" describes a new phenomenon that has been giving the sales and marketing departments of brand companies sleepless nights. Indifferents are people who are neither fans of a brand or product, nor reject it, but who simply do not care about the brand or product at all.

To date, this new target group has not been researched, so there is virtually no information available about the dimension of this new group. Equally unknown are the reasons why they do not care about brands whatsoever. This raises the question how you can turn indifferent buyers into determined fans.

In the first ever indifference study, BrandTrust examined how distinct brand experiences can affect the determination of buyers. The result is noteworthy: Over half of the studied brands from the named business sectors have more indifferents and rejecters than fans.
The list of winners includes Adidas, Amazon, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Edeka, and Audi. Striking: All of them are brands who give their customers are clear sense of what they stand for.

The following brands have the largest share of indifferents: Zalando, Puma, Hyundai, and Kia. Even Apple had to take a back seat to Samsung, because customers no longer want to wait for more peak performances. The study made it clear: The less a brand is perceived as distinct – in its offer, its experience, employee behavior, and communication – the fewer fans, recommenders and repeat buyers it has.

Study design

The market research agency Puls Marktforschung conducted more than 1,200 representative online interviews in Germany in May 2014. The following sectors and brands were examined:

Sporting goods: adidas, Nike, Puma
Internet: amazon, Google, Zalando
Technology: Apple, Bang & Olufsen, Samsung
Beverages: Coca-Cola, Rauch Fruchtsäfte, Red Bull
Grocery retailers: Edeka, Rewe
Automobiles: Audi, BMW, Dacia, Hyundai, Kia, MercedesBenz, Mini, Opel, Smart, Porsche, VW


Your contact:

Jürgen Gietl
Managing Partner Brand Trust GmbH

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