Research

Confused about your brand? You might not be but your consumers certainly are...

Vincent Mitchell is Professor of Consumer Marketing (Go to Vincent Mitchell's Cass Experts entry). Dr Caroline Wiertz is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Cass (Go to Caroline Wiertz's Cass Experts entry).

Summary of key points:

Consumer confusion is a strange phenomenon within the business world, and Vincent-Wayne Mitchell, Professor of Consumer Marketing at Cass Business School, is the "absolute authority" on the subject. Senior Lecturer in Marketing Dr Caroline Wiertz asked him about consumer confusion, and what it means for companies. Key concepts included:

  • Consumers can be confused by brands that are too similar, when there are too many brands and when there are a range of conflicting opinions on brands (similarity, overload and ambiguity confusion);
  • Confusion can lead to consumers refusing to buy products of a particular brand, refusing to buy altogether, or, conversely, becoming more brand loyal, which damages new entrances to the market;
  • Consumers combat confusion by clarifying their purchasing goals, accessing third-party information or by intentionally narrowing their choice set;
  • Both manufacturers and retailers should perform confusion audits to assess how confusing their brands, or the selection of brands on offer, are to consumers, in order to avoid the need for government regulation.

Q&A transcript:

Dr Wiertz: Could you explain a little bit what you mean by consumer confusion?