As part of its annual Life Style study, advertising agency DDB Needham Worldwide has come up with some interesting insights into the impact that brand names have on a segment of the consumer population it calls Brand Believers.

According to the Life Style study, approximately 37 percent of married females have high or very high brand interest. To these Brand Believers nationally advertised brand names provide a range of emotional and psychological benefits.

The study is a mail panel survey of a nationally representative sample of 2000 women and 2000 men in separate households that asks a variety of attitudinal questions in such areas as product usage, media, and leisure activities.

"We use this profile to take a look at different segments of the population," says Ned Anschuetz, associate director of strategic planning and research, DDB Needham Chicago. "It contains some questions that have to do with attitudes towards brand loyalty and we decided to profile those who are interested in brand names and compare them to those who say they aren't interested in brand names."

Anschuetz says that once the Brand Believer segment began to emerge from the study, focus groups were held to define it further.

"We did the groups to take a look at specific product categories and find out why people prefer advertised brand names versus store brands, for example. We wanted to explore it independently of the Life Style survey to see what kind of overlapping information we would get."

The focus groups and the Life Style study findings suggest that for Brand Believers, brand names:

Brand names are regarded as implicit guarantees of quality and satisfaction. Brand Believers are less conscious of price when shopping and are less likely to return an unsatisfactory product.

Brand Believers are concerned with the propriety and appearance of themselves and others.

Unlike those with no brand...