Brand Perception and Influence Starts Early – Lasts Forever!
As consumers and customers, we use brand awareness to make purchase decisions. We do this almost on a daily basis throughout our lifetime. For this reason, it is vital for companies to keep a watch on the pulse of brand awareness and perception.
Research suggests that children recognize brands by 1½ -2 years of age and that brand allegiance follows soon after.¹ Think of three or four brands off the top of your head. That is brand recognition.
How likely are you to buy the brand that you recognize rather than other brands that you may not have heard of before? That is brand allegiance.
How Investopedia defines brand recognition:
“The extent to which the general public is able to identify a brand by its attributes. Brand recognition is most successful when people can state a brand without being explicitly exposed to the company’s name, but rather through visual signifiers like logos, slogans, and colors.”
Early age brand recognition
Jim McNeal, a former professor at Texas A&M, conducted a study in which he found that, by 36-42 months of age, children recognize that a brand may communicate something about themselves to others. He suggested that “children can write the M for McDonald’s before they can write their own name.”²
Companies constantly strive to learn what makes parents tick and what drives their purchasing behavior. It is important to realize that impressions also stick with their children. What is more, children’s influence on parental purchasing decisions is increasing.
We’re all familiar with the “nag factor” that happens at the grocery store. When we give into the nag factor, our shopping cart ends up with ten more items than we’d planned. I read an article a while back that said, by three years old, American children request specific brands. Not only that but up to a quarter of these preferences can last their entire lifetime! (Read it here)
Youth brand recognition
More than 61 million young people under the age of 20 comprise Generation Z (born 1995-2012).³ This group had an estimated buying power and influence of $1.2 trillion in 2012. Compare this to $5.0 billion for the under 20 age group in the 1960’s.
Generation Z is called “prosumers” due to their propensity to consume massive amounts of media and information in real time. But the meaning is evolving. Where prosumer once had a connotation of a professional consumer, it’s changing to mean “product and brand advocate.” (Related article: The Shift from CONsumers to PROsumers).
Why this is important
It’s important for us to keep up with changing trends like these. They relate to social and cultural shifts that directly shape how consumer perceptions are influenced. Not only is it fascinating to do, it’s critical to our ability to be valuable partners.
Dig deeper into how the generational brand recognition. Check out socialmarketing.org.
¹ Cooper, L. (2010, June 10) Brand Loyalty Starts From a Very Early Age. Marketing Week
² Comiteau, J. (2003, March 24), When Does Brand Loyalty Start? AdWeek