A review of kitchen and home brands navigating their way into the homes of premium-minded consumers.
At the end of 2018, Mode set out to build a complete picture of how ‘premium home goods’ brands were connecting with consumers. In doing so, we looked at more than 4,500 data points from approximately 140 brands across 16 different categories—from fans to cookware to small kitchen appliances. What we found was a fragmented collection of brands operating in disparate ways in a consumer landscape defined by noise and complicated buying journeys. This study is a guide to understanding how brands navigate those journeys, as seen through the eyes of brand experts, consumers, and the algorithms that increasingly shape the path to purchase for premium goods.
Our evaluation process examined 4,500 total data points – 23 inputs across four key categories for each of the approximately 140 brands. These areas were consistent across all 16 product categories and reflect our strongest understanding of the ways in which experiences both large and small combine to form a cohesive brand image in the mind of the modern consumer.
This category was the most significant, comprising 40% of our overall scoring. Evaluation of Brand Systems included data and feedback from our Expert Panel, Consumer Panel, and quantitative evaluations of third party data examining how well the brand's identity, image and voice matched its premium positioning; how customer reviews reflect the brand; and whether or not the most-respected and objective review sites include the brand on their ‘best of ’ lists.
Given the high-touch nature of these product categories, we gave the same weight to a brand’s physical extensions as to its digital extensions – 20% of the overall score. Again, scores were taken from all three sources and reflected significant variations in scoring from brand to brand. We looked at each of the following criteria: how well the brand’s physical extensions – collateral, packaging, retail installations – convey a premium positioning; retail availability in several key metros; and quality of the ‘find a store’ experience the brand offers.
This category comprised 20% of the overall scoring and also includes data from each of our three sources: quantitative, Consumer and Expert Panels. As one might expect, there was a wide range of scoring within this category, though we saw no meaningful correlation between a brand’s resources/capitalization and the scores awarded. Specifically, we examined the following topics: How the brand’s website, mobile and social channels convey a premium positioning; quality of the user experience; ease of finding through search; availability through online retailers; and how the brand’s website perform against basic usability measures like speed and load/paint times.
Our fourth area of examination involved looking at the content and social media posts developed by the brand across owned and paid channels to assess the ‘premiumness’ of the branded communications. This accounted for 20% of the overall score, and weighed the following criteria: To what extent does the campaign content created by the brand support a premium positioning? What is the level of engagement that the audience has with the content and social channels put forward by the brand? What is the scale of the audiences that the brand has established for itself in these channels?