Two Brands, One Score

The other day I was reviewing survey results and found something a little peculiar.

The results for [Luxury brand] were the same as [Economy brand] on brand quality. Keep in mind, it’s the same company — think Tide vs. Gain, think Lexus vs. Toyota, etc. — but its lower end brand was rated just as highly as its luxury brand.

It frustrates me when I see a researcher package this up and ship it to the client without really questioning what’s going on. And it frustrates me more when clients don’t question it.


Listen. It’s not wrong that a survey question yields the same results for two clearly distinct brands; but if a survey question is returning the same value, you need to evaluate what that survey question is actually measuring.

If you expect that a survey question would return different outputs for different brands, and it doesn’t, then get rid of the question or re-write it. Either way, it’s not providing the value that you are looking for, so there’s no sense in keeping it.

Or you can look at this another way and ask yourself: Why are these two brands being rated the same? Is there a latent concept being communicated that is not obvious at the first pass of the results. Maybe respondents are considering the cost of the brand, and really what is being measured is [BRAND QUALITY] / [PRICE]. Maybe the luxury brand is less well-known and non-responses are diluting the total score.

Either way, passive acceptance that “my luxury brand and economy brand have the same brand ratings” is an unacceptable analysis and, frankly, a waste of your market research dollars.

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