The Ehrenberg Legacy: Lessons in Buying Behavior, Television, Brand Perception, Advertising, and Pricing

John Scriven

London South Bank University

Gerald Goodhardt

Ehrenberg-Bass Institute

Management slant

  • A result can be regarded as predictable (and therefore useful) when it has recurred consistently under a known range of different conditions. Models based on a single set of data have limited use beyond the circumstances described.
  • All brands have many light and a few heavier buyers. Most effective marketing works on the many light buyers.
  • There are no known examples of competitive niches where brands have small customer bases who are much more loyal than big brands. Brands with limited customer bases will remain small unless they can widen the base.
  • Users of one brand tend to hold similar perceptions of it as users of another do of that other brand. Hence developing a differentiating feature is not a necessary requirement for a brand. Differentiated brands have similar split-loyal buying patterns, i.e. differentiation gives no added protection from competition.
  • Consumers mostly hold weak rather than strong perceptions of brands.
  • Brand user profiles tend to be similar, on demographic, psychographic and media variables. Targeting a specific brand segment on these variables is wasteful of effort.
  • Advertising works to reinforce existing perceptions and salience. It is not a strongly persuasive force to change attitude or drive strong loyalty.
  • Price promotion effects can be very large at the time, but have no lasting effect.
  • Response to price depends on context. Brands do not have specific elasticities.