Persistent Brand Preferences: GSB Breakfast with JP Dube

On Monday I went to a Chicago GSB Booth (still adjusting to the change) breakfast with Professor JP Dube, for a discussion on his research on brand preferences.

It was a great discussion, hearing about the persistence in brand preference throughout a consumer’s lifetime.  The challenge of researching the premise was access to a lifetime of data, and as a solution Dube used Nielsen data for households who had moved – does where you live in the past influence what you buy where you live now?  Turns out yes–to an extent.

What was interesting was that immediately after a consumer moved, buying behavior changed 60%.  That to me is huge.  But then, it takes a while to close the other 40%, and never fully closes–that represents the persistent brand preference.

Anyway, the overall talk was about persistent brand preferences, but I kept being drawn back to where the data came from–the impact of a move on people, and at a macro level, on society.  The research showed geographically different brand preferences, distinct buckets of goods.  As more people buy online–I mean you can pretty much get anything from Amazon, and if it’s hard to find, all the more reason to go straight there–what does that mean for geographically different brand preferences over time?  When you remove the geographic barrier of availability, shelf space, etc, then what?