Why Consumers Trust Elmo More Than You – Brand Management

Any seasoned marketer knows brand management has traditionally played an important role in swaying consumers’ purchase decisions. A universally acclaimed and authentic brand can drive consumers toward one brand over competitors, even when other factors – such as price – may be less attractive than a competitor’s offerings.

This is true of any consumer, regardless of age. It shouldn’t be any surprise that popular Sesame Street character Elmo tickles the fancy of any young child. But a recent study shows the impact well-known brands can have on making choices, even among the youngest consumers.

Researchers from Cornell University recently conducted a test to determine whether the Sesame Street brand could affect toddlers’ food decisions. When offered the choice of a cookie or an apple at lunch time, most children (unsurprisingly) opted for the dessert item. However, when a sticker of Elmo was placed on the apple, the number of toddlers picking the fruit nearly doubled when compared with the control.

“Putting fun figures and cartoon characters on food certainly sells to kids,” said Deakin University professor of public health Boyd Swinburn. “It’s good to see it applies to healthy food and it’s quite a big effect size.”

The study involved more than 200 American children between the ages of 8 and 11 and was conducted to determine whether sponsorships from well-known brands could encourage kids to make better food choices.

The Value of Brand Management
A number of factors draw people to choose certain products over others. Adults look at variables such as price, reliability and value. In this instance, taste would normally play a pivotal role in children choosing which snack they want to eat.

However, trustworthy and authentic brands can make all the difference when consumers are buying goods. Just as children chose nutritious fruit over sweet cookies because of the Sesame Street brand, adults may purchase more expensive products because they are partial to brands with which they have a relationship.

The issue that many companies face in today’s market is inconsistent branding that tarnishes a business’ overall messaging. When organizations are expanding worldwide, their distribution networks also grow. As a result, you have a variety of locations all trying to appeal to their local markets in the best way they see possible.

In many of these instances, companies want to remain on-point with their brand, but that requires easy access to pre-approved assets – a commodity some organizations don’t have. This leads them to create their own promotional materials that may or may not fall in line with the rest of a brand’s message.

While there are a variety of options for brands to explore, distributed marketing automation platforms may be one of the most straightforward solutions to this problem.

Brand authenticity is something companies need to strive for. Authenticity and trust are crucial parts of establishing a successful relationship with consumers, and a brand that stays true to its message will be better positioned to build that relationship.