SYDNEY: Consumer trust for FMCG brands is based on media exposure, such as advertising, rather than product use according to new research which also shows that first-hand experience is more important in other categories.

Macquarie University undertook a study to examine the role of brand exposure and experience on brand recall, mediated by three affectional drivers – brand trust, brand image and self-image congruence. Using original data collected from a survey of 219 consumers, brand recall models were tested in two product categories: FMCG and durable goods.

The results, revealed Dr Chris Baumann in a CMO blog, showed that consumers are heavily influenced by advertising when it comes to FMCG products and that in turn builds trust and brand recall.

Product experience is not so important in a sector where, he suggested, "the actual quality of many FMCG products is quite challenging to judge simply from everyday use … [and] there is little perceived difference between the products available".

In the case of a category like cars, however, consumers need to have driven them to build trust and brand recall. Baumann noted that a consumer in their early 20s might buy anywhere between five and ten cars in their lifetime so building a relationship with a car brand early had the potential to form a long-lasting loyalty.

When the affectional drivers were factored in, the research found that brand image did not increase brand recall for FMCG goods, despite the adspend frequently lavished on this area.

"Improving brand image is necessary for FMCG brands," said Baumann. "But marketers and brand managers need to focus on a more effective approach to ensure their brand image will ultimately also lead to brand recall."

Data sourced from CMO; additional content by Warc staff