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Researchers say human traits of ‘warmth and competence’ hold key to brand loyalty
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 20—Despite Tylenol’s product recalls and plant closure, the company still outpaces Advil in brand loyalty among consumers, according to a research study released today.
The study showed that consumer evaluate brands and build loyalty to them in the same way they instinctively perceive and judge other people – in terms of warmth and competence – and these judgments are highly predictive of brand purchase intent and loyalty. Warmth includes traits like friendliness, helpfulness, sincerity, trustworthiness and honesty; competence is reflected by traits such as intelligence, skill, creativity, efficiency and effectiveness.
The study was conducted by The Relational Capital Group and Drs. Susan T. Fiske and Nicolas O. Kervyn, renowned researchers on warmth and competence at Princeton University. The study evaluated the impact of warmth and competence perceptions on purchase intent and loyalty toward eight national brands – McDonalds, Burger King, BP, Shell, Tropicana, Minute Maid, Tylenol and Advil.
“Our study revealed that consumers still maintain strong purchase intent and brand loyalty for Tylenol, despite its recent production and availability issues,” said Chris Malone, Chief Advisory Officer of The Relational Capital Group.
Specific findings from the study include the following:
“We’ve found strong statistical correlation between consumers’ perceptions of each brand’s warmth and competence and their intent to purchase and remain loyal to that brand,” said Dr. Fiske.
“We believe that Tylenol’s long track record of reliability has generated a deep reservoir of goodwill toward the brand and that its recent production issues have been interpreted by consumers as a temporary lapse in competence, rather than a shortfall of warm intentions towards them,” added Malone.
About The Study
Conducted July 1-7, 2010, this study measured the warmth and competence perceptions and priorities of a demographically balanced sample of 1,042 U.S. adult consumers for eight national brands, as well as their purchase intent and brand loyalty toward each. The brands examined included McDonalds, Burger King, BP, Shell, Tropicana, Minute Maid, Tylenol and Advil.
About The Relational Capital Group
The Relational Capital Group is a research–based, professional development and advisory services firm that helps organizations transform and strengthen the business relationships that drive their growth, productivity and profitability. They are recognized as world-class experts on the principles, process and science of lasting, mutually-beneficial business relationships. In particular, they apply their expertise to the advancement of Customer Relationships, Colleague/Team Relationships and Brand Relationships. For more information visit http://www.relcapgroup.com.
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