For most brands, the ultimate goal is to build strong brand loyalty — to foster a customer base that is dedicated to your products and services and won’t be swayed to jump ship for a competitor. But in 2022, brand loyalty is harder than ever to achieve, and that has a good deal to do with the rising trend of being “brand agnostic”.
In a nutshell, brand agnosticism “refers to a consumer who does not show a preference for one brand over another”. As opposed to brand loyal consumers, brand agnostic consumers are more so motivated by discounts, their personal values, product/service quality, and emotional connections.
They’re less interested in buying from a brand just because of a label or brand name’s reputation — and they’re more motivated by their own desire for variety. In fact, according to a report published by Daymon Worldwide and Hartman Group, “67 percent said they choose products according to a whim or desire for variety rather than brand affinity.”
So, how can brands best deal with brand agnostic consumers in 2022? Let’s see.
Is Brand Agnosticism New?
Yes and no. Brand agnosticism has always existed, but it’s definitely increased in popularity over the last few years.
According to Gennaro Cuofano’s recent article for FourWeekMBA, there are many reasons for the trend’s increased prevalence, and he stated:
“Today, consumers faced with unlimited choice and a limited attention span tend to be more brand agnostic than previous generations. Brand loyalty has been replaced with a desire for new experiences.”
Furthermore, Cuofano explained that “supply chain disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic also caused a rapid shift to brand agnosticism as consumers rushed to purchase whatever products were still in stock.”
So, the rise in brand agnosticism was a natural reaction to increasing choice and decreasing attention span — but it was super-charged by the pandemic’s impact on the world. And in 2022, this means that brand agnostic consumers are more common than they were in previous years.
Understandably, these kinds of consumers have different desires and needs than brand loyal consumers. However, Cuofano notes that “while the brand does remain an important factor in some purchase decisions, modern consumers now consider a range of other criteria, such as social responsibility, product quality, innovation, healthiness, and of course value.”
To meet brand agnostic consumers’ expectations, brands will need to get creative. But first, let’s compare the two types of consumers.
Brand Agnostic vs. Brand Loyal
Before we try and tackle how companies can best win over brand agnostic consumers, let’s consider the differences between brand agnostic and brand loyal consumers.
Brand Loyal Consumers
Place value in brand name & reputation
Have high levels of trust in brands they’re loyal to
Aren’t as swayed by changes in price & are willing to pay more
Often act as brand advocates
Brand Agnostic Consumers
Place little value in famous brand names and labels
Will jump from brand to brand looking for the best deal
Are sensitive to prices changes
Are motivated by their own values/ethics
Are drawn to innovative products/brands
Now, there are some similarities between the two types of consumers. Both are looking to forge emotional connections with brands and both groups want high-quality products/services.
But in order to attract brand agnostic consumers, companies will need to take a slightly different approach than before. For newer, more agile brands, this won’t be too difficult — as they’re used to changing things up to meet evolving consumer needs.
However, larger, more traditional brands might struggle to attract brand agnostic consumers if they place too much faith in the appeal of their brand name and the loyalty it inspires. Not every brand has managed to foster the die-hard loyalty of Apple, Starbucks, or Nike.
So, let’s discuss three methods brands can use to try and connect with brand agnostic consumers.
3 Tips to Connect With Brand Agnostic Consumers in 2022
In order to win over brand agnostic consumers, there are a few methods you can try out. Let’s dive in.
1. Focus on Variety & Innovation
Unlike brand loyal customers who stay focused on their chosen brands and aren’t easily swayed, brand agnostic consumers have wandering eyes. They’re constantly on the lookout for variety and innovation — something new and shiny to grab their attention.
In order to attract these types of consumers, you need to be dedicated to creativity and willing to offer up more variety (where possible). According to research from Euromonitor International, brand agnostic consumers find value in innovative products/services and are in “constant search for value and inspiration through consumption.”
Thus, in order to attract these types of consumers, brands need to know what their ideal target audience members are searching for — and then be willing to provide them with variety. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a successful product or service — but, you have to be willing to shake it up now and again if you want to connect with brand agnostic consumers.
2. Offer Discounts When Possible
One of the very best traits about brand loyal customers is that they’re not super price-sensitive. If they’re found a brand that they trust and share values with, they’re not necessarily going to jump ship if you raise your prices.
On the other hand, brand agnostic consumers are often on the hunt for discounts and bargains — and if your brand is a good deal more expensive than the competition and offers (what they view as) the same quality products or services, you’re not likely to draw them in.
Thus, where and when it’s feasible, you should be willing to offer reasonable discounts or price match your competitors. Brand agnostic consumers are doing their research and then know exactly how much your rival is charging for the same product or service — so you’ll need to be willing to make some small sacrifices in the form of discounts to reel these consumers in.
Once a brand agnostic consumer has tried your product or service and knows that it offers the best value for price, they’re far more likely to keep buying from you.
3. Highlight Your Brand’s Quality
More than anything else, brand agnostic consumers are looking for the best quality goods at the best possible price. Now, not every brand is able to offer consistent discounts or match competitors’ prices. But what they can control is the quality of their own products or services.
Therefore, when looking to connect with brand agnostic consumers — who are looking for high-quality products and services that fit into their ethical beliefs and personal values — you’d be smart to highlight what makes your offerings so high in value.
Whether it's better quality materials than your competitors, a smoother user experience, or unparalleled customer service — use it as a USP to attract brand agnostic consumers, because they certainly aren’t swayed by famous brand names alone.
Brand agnosticism isn’t necessarily new, it’s been a growing trend for years. But the global pandemic and current cost of living crises have definitely increased its prevalence — and in order to survive in this new consumer landscape, brands will need to learn how to best connect with brand agnostic consumers.
We hope this article has provided you with some helpful, practical tips that your brand can try out in 2022 and beyond. And if you’re struggling to understand what it is your target customers want from your brand, then we recommend trying out brand monitoring software. With the data it provides, you’ll have access to all sorts of helpful, actionable insights that you can use to better market your company to brand agnostic consumers.