As we noted last week, too often, brands disappoint consumers. And we also know that consumers like caring brands. Also provocative ads may affect shopping, with Nike being a recent example. Today, we look at the behavior of belief-driven consumers.


Brand Perceptions and the Behavior of Belief-Driven Consumers

Often, people report that brand image influences their shopping behavior. But, how valid is this?

According to Felix Richter, reporting for Statista:

“When Nike unveiled an ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the face of the athlete protests against racial injustice in the U.S., it seemed like there were only two possible reactions. People either applauded Nike for taking a stand and backing Kaepernick. Or they lambasted Nike for supporting someone who disrespected the American flag and U.S. military personnel. Some went as far as burning their Nike merchandise, not without sharing videos of it on social media of course. And they vowed never to buy a Nike product again. While those reactions might seem extreme, many people consider brands an important way of expressing themselves and their core beliefs.”

Based on a survey of 8,000 consumers across eight markets, Edelman found that more and more people are what they define as belief-driven buyers. These consumers’ buying behavior is influenced by their beliefs to a certain degree. Across all markets, 64 percent of respondents identified as belief-driven buyers in 2018, up from just 51 percent in 2017. Interestingly, the share of belief-driven buyers is highest in China at 78 percent, while it’s surprisingly low at 59 percent in the U.S.”


Take a look at the Statista chart below.

Behavior of Belief-Driven Consumers

7 Replies to “Behavior of Belief-Driven Consumers”

  1. I am not very surprised by the outcome of this study. As much as some people may disagree with Colin Kaepernick, do you really think this is going to have a detrimental damage on the most popular athletic wear company in the world? The obvious answer is n. People buy Nike for its name, switching to a less affluent brand is not really something consumers would want to do. A real life example is when Travis Kalanick of Uber was accused of sexism and sexually harassing his employees, my family swore off Uber. Well, that did not last long because Lyft prices were higher at the time so we did not want to spend the extra money.

  2. One of the oldest problems with surveys is distortion based on social norms. Thus we can’t get reasonably accurate figures on domestic violence, incest or a range of social evils. And we get people over-reporting what they “should” do. Ask if someone’s going to vote — of course they are. Thus the need for models to assess who is really likely to do what.

    My favorite episode was years ago, on a survey for an ISP, asking about parental controls on online content. Did consumers say they were important? Of course. How much time did consumers report monitoring what their children do online? None.

    Nike was successful with their Kaepernick campaign — they got great PR out of it, which is hard for a large brand to do. In the segments that buy their shoes, the PR was positive. Sales jumped a reported 31% — which is very difficult for a major brand. The protesters are a feeble minority — if everyone were torching the shoes, there wouldn’t been any media coverage. The commonplace doesn’t equate to ratings points.

    So does positioning marketing matter? In Nike’s case, probably, because the protesters probably actually stimulated sales by the core base. Will it work for other companies? Probably not unless they are willing to take an extreme position, and most corporate boards aren’t real risk takers. Look at how badly the NFL has handled Kaepernick. Risk takers? Not so much. The NFL has forgotten the old old mantra — “no guts, no glory.” Nike understands that winning involves scoring points, not just defense.

  3. Currently I see a phrase going around called “get woke, go broke,” saying that companies who take political stands, even though they might have higher sales in the very short term, scare off around half of their general/independent customer base in the long term. Mostly this term is used for left politics put into company marketing and policies, but I personally apply it to all major political groups in existence. To guarantee the most long-term profits, as well as customer trust, I believe that companies should stay APOLITICAL because political beliefs and circumstances can easily change within a decade or less, no matter the party in power.

  4. More than ever before, consumers, especially younger consumers like millennial’s, take an interest into how socially responsible and aware the brands they choose to give their business and loyalty to. This has been an increasing trend over recent years. Young people in some cases will often spend more money for a product if they believe they see that the brand engages in socially responsible acts as part of their mission. In the case of the Nike ad, although many people took to social media and expressed their strong distaste towards the Colin Kaepernick ad, Nike knew that many more would support their stance on a social injustice that is being highly discussed in today’s society, and is being discussed especially by the younger consumers who are more likely to buy Nike products than those who were in outrage over the ad.

  5. I am not sure how to react towards brands taking a stand. It seems like every cause that is paramount to a group of people will inevitably be commercialized. This commercialize further polarizes the society and creates only two groups, one who is for the cause and one who is against and we lose the real notion of normality.

  6. I feel as though 2018 involved a lot of political turmoil, and as a result, any action brands made was taken very seriously. The Colin Kaepernick and Nike collaboration upset many conservatives in America, and hurt some of Nike’s reputation as was mentioned above with those who publicly burned their shoes. However, this is the case when any company does something that is too liberal or too conservative for the certain people’s liking, but brands need to take chances with the way it is going economically and politically because consumers are increasingly behaving based on their beliefs.

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