'Brand Blind' Consumers May Be on the Rise

Although price seems to be a large part of the trend of consumers who are becoming brand blind, it isn't the only thing. As technology accelerates and social media has grown in importance consumers have more information and control. Witness Apple vs Samsung. Apple has created a powerful, influential brand; but Samsung has created a device that many consumers prefer and they talk to each other. You might argue that Samsung is also a strong brand but it is clear that the performance of its device has been driving consumers to its product. This spring, Samsung smart phone shipments for the first time outpaced Apple smartphones.

Finally, it has long been documented that ethnic consumers are more brand loyal than other consumers. Social media has amplified the changing demographics and given ethnic consumers a more powerful voice. In the past, it might have been enough just to have a top-shelf brand name, now ethnic consumers are demanding that the brands be relevant or with their powers as hyper-consumers they can elevate other products.

Hispanic and African American consumers are younger than the general population and their preferences are very important to brands. So brands like Taco Bell and Volkswagen are kneading ethnicity into their core brands. For the first time, brands that decide not to evolve their products stand to lose big. Take a look at the growth and popularity of snack brand Takis as an example of the changing American palate due to the influence of immigrants from Latin American countries.

Are you brand blind or moving in that direction? Leave me a comment and tell me about it.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Larry D. Woodard is CEO of Graham Stanley Advertising and the co-author of the book, "Advertising as a Branding Tool."

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