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Consumers are no longer loyal to just one brand, and brand loyalty is being challenged in Canada, according to the Canadian Influencer Study.
Veritas Communications released findings from its first-ever Canadian Influencer Study−a national research project conducted by Northstar Strategic−that explored Canadians’ proclivity for switching preferred brands and services as well as the sources and channels that impact these decisions.
“Consumers are no longer loyal to just one brand,” Krista Webster, President, Veritas Communications, said in the study. “They are trying and attaching themselves to many brands that those who influence them have recommended they try out and fit into specific occasions in their lives.”
According to the study, most respondents (74%) switched a preferred brand or service in the past year, while an additional 69% plan to make a change in the year ahead.
While many different industries are vulnerable, the study showed, some of the most frequently cited by brand switchers include: Travel Service or Hotel (39%), automotive brand (38%), Online/Video Gaming (38%), Media/Entertainment (37%), and Alcoholic brands (36%).
“Understanding the alchemy of influencer marketing–how to influence the influencers who inspire and motivate consumers–has never been more important,” Webster added. “It’s an essential tool in attracting a consumer while they’re considering change and inspiring them to choose your brand.”
Family (66%), friends (65%), and trusted experts (35%) are cited as having the greatest influence on consumer decisions to try a new product or service. Bloggers represent a growing segment (17%) of influencers in Canada. Women and Millennials (18-35) are more likely to be influenced by these sources.
More than one-third (39%) of Canadian consumers self-identify as influencers in their own right and are eager to share news about new products and services with others (44%), the study shows.
“The way in which brands engage with consumers needs to tap into these trusted influencers and the authenticity of their voice, first and foremost,” Nicola Moore, Chief Strategist, Veritas Communications, said. “Working with influencers, we have the opportunity to co-create and tell stories based on life’s truths versus pushing marketing slogans–in other words, distilling the conversation into one that really matters.”
More than half of respondents (58%) admit to spending a lot of time researching products, and 68% sought advice from others prior to making a purchase, according to the study. On average, respondents consulted 3.0 sources of information before making their decision to switch.
While conversations with family or friends (62%) top the list of most trusted channels for sourcing information about a product or service, the gap between traditional media and new media is closing. The next most popular channels for finding information about a new product or service include: traditional media (39%), online media (32%), or advertising from a company or brand (29%).
What’s more, channels where friends, family, or trusted experts share their opinion or endorsement are on the rise, including social networks (31%) and online communities (25%).
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