Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

Negative Brand Share

Recently I was asked how I went about looking for new opportunities. My response was that I did not know of one or even two quality methods. I utilized the buckshot approach. That is, I would look at the market opportunities from a multitude of perspectives such as: new technology, category weaknesses, hidden needs/desires, the application of attributes of one category to another, and customer needs. But a relatively inexpensive method I have frequently used has been the Negative Brand Share technique.

Most manufacturers look to Consumer Satisfaction research for determining potential brand improvements areas. While C.S. is a good approach, I prefer two other approaches. In-Home Task observations and Negative Brand Share. The In-Home Task Observation technique is expensive and time consuming while the NBS approach is relatively inexpensive and quick.

The Negative Brand Share technique focuses on the basis for the consumer's acceptance of another brand over the brand of interest. The assumption is basically that I'd rather know what I need to do in order to increase sales rather than what I need to do to eliminate the brand's negatives that may not have any effect on the purchase decision.

There are three unique positions in the NBS technique.

  1. The technique focuses on "Why the brand is not purchased," rather than "What is liked or not liked." A brand's negative may well reinforce the efficacy of the brand.
  2. The location of the research. Conventional satisfaction/ dissatisfaction studies take place through the mail, in the mall, or in the agency's facilities. The NBS technique takes place where the purchase decisions are actually made and in the context of the consumers' alternatives. We have found that "Reasons for Purchasing" collected in the store differ from data collected in other locations.
  3. NBS data are collected at the time a purchase is being made, yielding a fresh view of the decision process.



    The data from an NBS study not only shows how you might increase share in the general category but will also show how to target specific competitive brands.

    In most product categories where I have utilized the NBS approach, the study was completed for $15,000 or less and conducted in one week.