Current Relationships & Data gaps in Brand Management

May 13 2014

Different from ‘Lifestyle Marketing’ research, the Brand Network approach does NOT rely on demographics when segmenting the market (Brand-based Segmentation). In fact, it only focuses on brands the consumer has an emotional connection with and can afford to buy. This is based on the assumption that people consume specific brands because of brands’ capability to connect individuals, although these connections might not be immediately, or at all, visible.

The segmentation starts from the individual’s brand consumption pattern (i.e. micro level) and the connections between similar people becomes visible along this process. The use of the technology allows for collection of real-time data in a dynamic way, while also taking the individual’s changes in consumption preferences into account.

We identified a series of questions that describe some of the relational gaps that need to be fulfilled from both consumer and company to create long-lasting relationships.


-  How do I connect with brands I am in love with? Are my brand-related stories relevant for the company I love? → Preferential Treatment

-  How do I meet new people who have similar tastes and interests as me and with whom I can share my stories/expertise? → Social Relationships

-  How do I publicly convey my brand preference on a wide range of product categories showing my personality and getting rewarded for my efforts? → Social Recognition


-  How do I collect real, systematic and inexpensive data about brand preference of my consumers? → Data gathering

- How do I engage with my consumers for ‘low involvement’ products (e.g. toothpaste)? → Initiate relationships

-  How do I discover Brand Ambassadors and study their passion for my brand? → Connect with influencers

-  How do I uncover which other brands my consumers buy and why they decide to change? → Co-branding activities

-  How do I effectively segment the market beyond demographics? → Market segmentation based on behavioral patterns

To prove the validity of the Brand Network approach, the research team lead by Alice Stegmüller engaged with a professional and talented photographer, Matteo Fieni, to undertake an ethnographic research. The study was conducted in Lugano and consisted in taking static picture of random people passing in front of a fixed stage.


Source: Ritratti Metropolitani

A portrait of about 100 people was made. After each shot they were asked to fill out a form where they had to indicate their brand consumption pattern for several categories (e.g. which brand of phone/PC/Car/Sneakers…do you use in your daily life?). Additional inquiries were made to understand their brand attachment as well as their feeling/participation toward their respective brand communities. The results encouraged me to explore the relationships between brands even more profoundly and eventually to transform this research project into what we call today BrandMate

Alex Mari

Founder & Creative Director of BrandMate