The Science of Brand Purchase.


Asking people if they will buy a product is a form of quantitative marketing research. It’s directional but flawed.

We launched a web page development product in 2007 that quantitative research told us was something people would use like crazy. The functionality of the tool: uploading pictures, video, audio, original text and other digital objects, like Facebook and MySpace yet without the restrictions of a design template, was universally desired. Projections were for 60% adoption of adult targets. On paper.

When the product launched, usability was poor. Not intuitive to the non-techie prospect. The startup failed — even though the research suggested otherwise.

Asking people why they bought a product after purchase is a more accurate form of market research. And a better predictor of future results. But for startups it becomes a chicken and egg thing.

When a brand strategy client is having a poor sales swing, it’s my job to understand why. It’s my job to get inside consumer heads and reason out the buy/no buy behaviors. In my world – the brand strategy world – I look for the three most important reasons a person prefers a product, typically found among customer care-abouts and brand good-ats.  Then I package those three things under brand claim closely tethered to the three benefits. This becomes the organizing principle for product, experience and messaging aka the brand strategy.

This organizing principle becomes the science of purchase upon which to build quantitative research. That’s the chicken. Quantitative research sans strategy is science without a hypothesis.