Brand salience - the extent to which a brand visually stands out from its competitors - is vital in competing on the shelf, yet is not easy to achieve in practice. This study proposes a methodology to determine the competitive salience of brands, based on a model of visual search and eye-movement recordings collected during a brand search experiment. We estimate brand salience at the point of purchase, based on perceptual features (color, luminance, edges) and how these are influenced by consumers' search goals. We show that the salience of brands has a pervasive effect on search performance, and is determined by two key components: The bottom-up component is due to in-store activity and package design. The top-down component is due to out-of-store marketing activities such as advertising. We show that about one-third of salience on the shelf is due to out-of-store and two-thirds due to in-store marketing. The proposed methodology for competitive salience analysis exposes the optimal visual differentiation level of a brand versus its competitors, and of each SKU versus the other SKUs of the same brand. The model of the visual search process and methodology for competitive salience analysis enable diagnostic analyses of the current levels of visual differentiation of brands and SKUs at the point of purchase, and provide directions for increasing these.

Brand salience, Eye movements, Hidden markov, Search goals, Visual attention,
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Marketing Science: the marketing journal of INFORMS
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van der Lans, R.J.A, Pieters, F.G.M, & Wedel, M. (2008). Competitive brand salience. Marketing Science: the marketing journal of INFORMS, 27(5), 922–931. doi:10.1287/mksc.1070.0327