Brand Preference:Why Regard, Relevance, Differentiation and Trust Matter

Published on November 16, 2018

The overarching goal of partnerships is to use the assets of the property to increase brand preference and use among fans of the team.

The route to brand preference and purchase is well-established in theory and practice. It’s all about relationships. Brands are like people. And, people are brands, for that matter.

The steps to who–people and brands–you prefer to spend time, money and effort with are the same:

  1. I know who you are.

  2. Based on your behavior & associations, I hold you in relatively low or high regard.

  3. Because of shared relationships, you become more or less relevant.

  4. If you clearly align with my deepest passions, I see you as differentiated from others. You stand out.

  5. Now I can trust you.

  6. prefer the brand with the highest regard, relevance, differentiation and trust.

  7. buy the brand I prefer.

We can reliably predict brand preference for NFL partners if we know how fans feel about the brand’s regard, relevance, differentiation and trust. Our data from over 100,000 consumer opinions of over 120 brand partners among seven NFL teams (charts below) verify the importance of taking each step to build fan-brand relationships.


For a brand that fans say is “the one I would prefer,” consider these indexed scores compared to brands they “would never use.”

Brand Preference = Brand Usage

Across all 120+ brand partners, if fans say the brand is “the one I prefer,” then 78.8% use that brand.


Why isn’t it 100%? Some categories are slow burns, like insurance, telecom, and banking. Fans of the Chicago Bears have high regard, relevance, differentiation and trust for PNC Bank–and the next time they have a banking decision–they will consider or use PNC Bank services. Fans of the Houston Texans have the same positive feelings about Verizon and the next time they have to decide which service to use, Verizon is in prime position. In any case, the property has done its job of building brand preference.

The brand partner brings it home when it makes unmistakable connections with fans and offers clear opportunities to do business with the brand in conjunction with the partnership.


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