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From one-night stands to true love. Who does not know them - the ups and downs of love life? Relationships with brands also follow this cycle. First they blossom and grow (spring, summer), only to lose importance again (autumn and winter). Successful brands are characterized by constantly going through these phases again and again and emerge from them stronger. The digital market and opinion research institute Marketagent.com and the network researchers FASresearch have examined 88 brands from five industries and examined our relationship with them: From initial flirtation to one-night stands to great brand love.

When are you ever receptive to embarking on a new love affair? This is a fundamental question not only in our love life, but also when it comes to sparking enthusiasm for a brand and building a relationship with it.

In the marketing industry, catchwords such as "influencer", "influencer" or "brand ambassador" are often used in this context. But the crucial question is: Who is seducible? Who are the people who are willing to embark on a brand adventure and who can be influenced on their way there?

Marketagent.com and FASresearch have pursued this question within the scope of their study series and have investigated which brands have made it from the initial fascination in the phase of getting to know each other to a stable relationship. However, before this happens, there are several stages to go through - from mere attraction to criticism in the personal environment to the consolidation of the relationship.

The attraction of brands

As is well known, those who have the choice are also spoilt for choice. This is no different in the jungle of brands that accompany us day in, day out. Whether it's our car, the bank of our choice, our preferred supermarket chain, beverages or our mobile phone provider. In all these areas there are brands to which we are more or less attracted. But what makes a brand attractive?

Which brands make it into our hearts depends not least on which phase of life we are currently in. What does this mean for individual product groups? "If you take a look at non-alcoholic beverages, for example, women underline their body and health awareness by focusing primarily on mineral water or vitamin-rich fruit juices. In the automotive industry, on the other hand, it is rather the age that determines which brand makes the eyes start to shine. While dynamic and innovative car brands such as BMW or Tesla cause butterflies in the stomach for those under 30, the 50 plus generation is more concerned with safety and makes brands such as Opel, Renault & Co look attractive," explains Thomas Schwabl, Managing Director of Marketagent.com.

The Tinder-Match

Consequently, a brand should always match your own personality, so that the chemistry is right and the relationship has a long-term chance. Here, too, a distinction can be made between brands that many people can identify with and those that are less popular. The example of the automotive industry shows that it is the big German brands in particular that are most closely associated with the match. Clearly separated from these are the more affordable models.

In food retailing, too, the classic names such as Billa, Merkur and the Spar Group form a segment of their own and create a distinction between discounters and regional supermarkets. Only Hofer takes a separate position.

Status through brands

"The fact that we are attracted to a brand and that this brand is in harmony with our personality does not mean that we are seen with pleasure. One example from the beverage industry is energy drinks: Red Bull, for example, is a highly polarizing brand and shows a pronounced dissonance in the peer group. So even if the brand is positioned in the premium segment, it is not a product with which everyone likes to present themselves to the public. This is where social desirability often comes into play, and so we are much more likely to be seen with healthier brands like hohes C or Happy Day. In the case of mineral water brands, on the other hand, national pride plays a major role, which is why regional manufacturers are preferred over brands such as Evian & Co," summarises Harald Katzmair, Managing Director of FASresearch.

The prevailing opinion among friends

What is considered "cool" in the circle of friends often makes it to the top of its own popularity scale and also promotes communication, because: Brands that polarize are less talked about in the personal environment. This is a problem that Hofer or Vöslauer, but also VW, which is not affected by the exhaust gas scandal, do not have to worry about. On the other hand, there is little agreement on sugar-containing drinks, low-priced car brands or regional food retail chains.

So where do we stand in our relationships with individual brands?

Analogous to the four seasons, brands also go through a cycle of growth and downturn - but not all of them manage to renew themselves successfully again and again. But with which brands do we have butterflies in our stomach and are currently experiencing them on the rising branch and thus in spring? And which ones would we classify in winter and see as falling behind?

In the financial sector, for example, the picture is quite clear, with direct banks emerging as the winners. They have managed to be noticed in their stage of development in spring and summer, while many traditional banks have struggled to avoid falling from autumn into winter. Mobile phone providers, on the other hand, have a big up-and-comer, and that is HoT. But A1, Drei and T-Mobile are also currently perceived in their prime.

How stable is the relationship?

How stable a brand relationship is depends not only on how well we like a brand and what our friends think of it. As in love, the key question at the end of the day is whether our choice would fall on them again in the future. The only difference to our love life: In the brand world, an index can be calculated from all these dimensions, which provides information about how stable our relationship with a brand is.

The brands that emerge most strongly from this inventory sample are Hofer, Audi, HoT, easybank and BMW. Whether women or men, more or less educated, is less important - it is primarily age that determines whether or not we identify with a brand. Thus, the 14 to 29-year-olds show the highest commitment, but from the age of 30 they slip into the "rush hour of life" and their focus shifts towards career and nest-building. This is the time when the blind enthusiasm for a brand diminishes and the relationship with it loses energy. With the loss of this passion, the seductiveness to other brands and: The cycle begins again.

www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS_20180626_OTS0057/das-beziehungsleben-der-marken-anhang (only available in German)

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