Our latest CultureQ study, which was conducted over the summer, is focused on understanding the attributes that distinguish a favorite brand from those of a category leader, and a good brand citizen. We’ve been speaking a lot about favorite brands in our office over the past few weeks and couldn’t resist giving you a preview….

Not surprisingly, trust in favorite brands is high. People turn to a small repertoire of brands that make up their inner circle and that they instinctively rely on. Participant journals strongly demonstrate that people’s relationships with favorite brands are principally based on highly emotional criteria that in many ways replicate the underpinnings of close friendships.

People actively advocate for their favorite brands and a large number consider cheating on them “unimaginable.” In contrast, relationships with leadership brands are based in more functional criteria aligned with the product, (ie durability, innovation) best in class business practices, and to some degree ubiquity.

Overall, the difference between favorite brands and leaders is the difference between love and respect. As with people, brand leaders are not always loved - and sometimes people even hope someone else will step in to replace them - but they are always respected. Favorites are loved and respected because of what they mean to people and because of how they are deeply integrated into day to day lives.

Favorite brands are distinguished by the following criteria:

1. Clarity: favorite brands:
Represent an inspiring philosophy
Focus on making people feel special and unique
Possess a beauty and simplicity of presentation & in their delivery

2. Context: favorite brands:
Make everyday life easier and less stressful
Help people to accomplish their personal goals
Mirror personal values and philosophies

3. Conversation: favorite brands:
Make people feel proud to be associated with you
Help people feel actively engaged and invested in the current conversation
Involve people in the brand’s evolution

4. Community: favorite brands:
Enable a sense of belonging to a wider, cross generational, virtual and physical community
Give back to society
Empower people to be more active citizens

The definitive findings from CultureQ, Q2 will be released shortly.