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A drop in temperature makes some brands hotter

Stephan Shakespeare
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WE all like to “make up our own minds” about brands, and recommend to our friends those with which we have had positive dealings. However, rather than being wholly our own self-determined opinions, these recommendations tie in with the seasons much more readily than we might think. Some “seasonal brands” like The North Face and Pimms No.1 are obvious in their application to specific periods of the year or weather conditions. However, many brands have a less obvious seasonal connection.

The connotations that brands carry can be down to the emotions they evoke, or some deeper association we hold with them. BrandIndex tracks brands for 52 weeks of the year, so we see these changes happening day-by-day.

On the graph we have chosen six products across two sectors which possess “wintery” associations: ales and pro-biotic health drinks. Imagine a nice pint of ale in a warm pub or sitting room, as winter sets in. BrandIndex “recommend” scores for IPA, John Smith’s and Tetley indicate a consistent upward trend, when we compare the averages from August and September combined, to those from October and November. More people recommend ales as Christmas approaches and it gets colder.

“Recommend scores” are a reliable measure of perceived brand quality, but brands exist within a real-life context – not just in marketing theory books. Cold and wet weather influences how we feel, and how we relate to health brands. As we see colleagues, friends and family members come down with the lurgy, we start to think more positively about Actimel, Activia, and Danone. Average recommend scores increase for all three from the temperate August and September period, to the colds, coughs and splutters of October and November. Brands interact with real-life; they do not sit above or beyond it.

Stephan Shakespeare is chief innovation officer of YouGov.