What's in a Name?

A survey of 1,054 life scientists uncovered a marked affinity for recommending brand names to colleagues rather than competing brands with less market cachet. The study - "Maximizing Market Share Through Brand Differentiation" - focused on differentiating reagents, instruments, and lab supplies by quality, service, or price. Santa Clara, Calif.-based gene chipmaker Affymetrix took top honors as most differentiated brand. New England Biolabs, an Ipswich, Mass.-based maker of

Jul 1, 2006
Clare Kittredge

A survey of 1,054 life scientists uncovered a marked affinity for recommending brand names to colleagues rather than competing brands with less market cachet. The study - "Maximizing Market Share Through Brand Differentiation" - focused on differentiating reagents, instruments, and lab supplies by quality, service, or price.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based gene chipmaker Affymetrix took top honors as most differentiated brand. New England Biolabs, an Ipswich, Mass.-based maker of restriction enzymes and other molecular-biology reagents, is perceived as having the best products and a sincere and trusted brand personality, i.e., the most emotional appeal to consumers, says survey author Tamara Zemlo of the Arlington, Virginia-based market research and consulting firm BioInformatics. Yet missing top honors for those particular aspects of name association doesn't seem to have hurt Carlsbad, Calif.-based Invitrogen, which nonetheless is perceived as having built the strongest bond with customers, according to the survey.

Jonathan Olsen, business development specialist for BioInformatics, says the seeming paradox in the rankings reflects the five different elements of brand health analyzed in the study - standing, status, perception, profitability, and strength - and that different companies appeal to clients in different ways. Zemlo says a company can distinguish itself and build brand strength by emulating similar, successful competing brands. She adds that the speed with which a company can build brand awareness depends on the number of key building blocks of brand health it already has.