How strongly people identify with companies and brands in Switzerland

The "Identity Study Switzerland 2021" by FehrAdvice & Partner shows which companies customers and non-customers identify with most. Migros takes the top spot in the ranking. The pandemic and digitalization are playing an increasingly important role in identity formation.

(Source: FehrAdvice & Partner)

For the third time, FehrAdvice & Partners has published the identity study in cooperation with the market research institute Innofact, in which the identity values of 169 companies were surveyed. In particular, FehrAdvice & Partners examined the winners and losers of the study as well as the differences in the ability to relate in the analog and digital worlds.

Due to the overall more volatile market environment, faster innovation cycles and open markets, the danger of being replaced by other products and service providers is increasing for many companies and brands. Customer identity is therefore an important factor in counteracting this danger. It measures how strongly people identify with a company or brand.

A strong identity leads to higher customer loyalty and more satisfied customers with lower price sensitivity, who also act as brand ambassadors. "The global covid crisis is changing the consumer behavior of customers. They are becoming more price-sensitive, more frugal and are operating more in the digital space than before. Accordingly, a strong customer identity is even more important and an indispensable part of a company's competitive strategy," explains Luca Geisseler, Managing Partner & Executive Behavioral Designer at FehrAdvice & Partners. A strong identity is very difficult to copy and thus represents a strong differentiation factor.

The identity study shows that Swiss companies and brands such as Migros (1st place), Lindt (2nd place), Ovaltine (3rd place) and Coop (5th place) have very high identity scores. Die Mobiliar (7th) and SRrf.ch (9th) also make it into the top 10, although digital brands Google (4th), WhatsApp (6th), YouTube (8th) and Wikipedia (10th) have all made their way into the top group during the pandemic. In the financial sector category, Raiffeisen and PayPal, in retail Migros ahead of Coop and Ikea, and in insurance Die Mobiliar ahead of Axa and Helvetia have high identity scores.

Digital Gap in Retail

In addition, the study draws attention to the fact that there are still major differences in customer identity between the analog and digital worlds. This can be seen, for example, in the "digital gap" of brands such as Migros and Coop, which have not been able to transfer their high analog identity into the digital world.

These results show that there is still great potential among Swiss companies in the digital space to better position themselves in the battle for attention. "We are surprised that the boost from the pandemic failed to materialize among digital grocers. Most analog brands fail to transition to the digital world because human behavior in the digital world is systematically different from that in the analog world," says Geisseler.

Lastly, the results of the study shed light on the difference in identity values between customers and non-customers. "A sound knowledge of the identity drivers, as well as initiatives derived from them, opens up the opportunity to increase customer loyalty and turn non-users into customers," explains Geisseler.

The key findings of the study

  • A large number of companies fail to create an identity, neither in the digital nor in the analog world.
  • Even companies that are particularly identity-forming in the analog world only manage to be identity-forming in the digital world to a limited extent.
  • On average, digital companies are less identity-driven than analog companies. Nevertheless, they have significantly increased their identity compared to the previous year.
  • The transition from an analog to a digital world is often difficult. It is important to remember that people's behavior in the digital world is different from that in the analog world.

The empirical "Identity Study Switzerland" is produced annually on the basis of behavioral economics research on identity formation. It looks into the question of whether there are differences in the analog and digital worlds. In addition, the identity values of customers and non-customers are considered separately. The study underlines the importance of a sound and precise knowledge of identity drivers in order to develop targeted prototypes that sustainably strengthen corporate identity.

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