Do you already use your lover/hater ratio to define your acquisition potential?

Customer Segments

Posted by Bart Muskala

All brands are blessed with a share of brand lovers, ambassadors that consider their beloved brand to be special. Your acquisition potential is directly related to the numbers of lovers. But equally important and often overlooked, is the number of “unavailables”: consumers that neglect to enter your stores, despite your efforts. A better understanding of your position on a “lover - hater graph” helps to better decide on the branding strategy to pursue.

The insights that push towards change

In our Belgian Fashion Research study over 3.000 consumers were asked about their favourite brands as well as the brands they would never visit. Findings suggest that all brands have at least 20% of brand lovers amongst their client base. The worst score for a brands’ number of “unavailables” - or haters if you’re more cynical - adds up to 50% or half of their future potential that will be very hard - or even impossible - to persuade.

Mass market brands like H&M, Zara or ZEB, that have a wide appeal have the advantage of attracting less haters, but that does not necessarily mean a guarantee for a high % of lovers. Many brands however focus on a niche, resulting in a higher number of both lovers as well as haters. Those, so-called polarised brands are both loved by their targeted segment and neglected by the niche out of focus. Examples include brands that target a specific age segment, are known for their bigger sizes or that have a very outspoken taste, like Desigual loved by 50% of its clients, hated by 40% of its non-customers.

The efforts to ignite change

Understanding those two simple metrics helps you to better understand your position in one out of 4 quadrants helping to predict the potential growth or decline of your brand towards the future within its relevant segment.

For love brands, like Zara, their strong position in the market can still be lifted as only a small percentage of non-customers would never consider the brand. Niche brands like the aforementioned Desigual or Paprika, that offers larger sizes, still show potential for growth and can capitalize on a large number of lovers - or ambassadors.

If you’re loved nor hated, it means your main efforts should be centered on growing a strong fan base by offering something that makes a difference. If not, competitors with a similar offering will eat your market share, slowly but surely. Lastly, brands that have a hard time persuading their own clients to love them, should avoid that their well-meant efforts grow a base of haters.

The key takeaways from this story

Brands that know their potential of ambassadors have an asset. But they shouldn’t stop there. Start understanding your audience of non customers as well. Just like you split your audience in promoters and detractors, start to index your non customers as unavailable (your haters) or not. That way, you will be able to better understand your challenges at hand and the branding strategy to pursue.


Why we wrote this article? Understanding your customers is essential in becoming a future oriented customer centric brand. But almost equally important is the understanding of your non customers. What is your lover/hater ratio and what challenges does your brand face? Our Belgian fashion research delivers the needed insights for your challenges.

Want similar insights about your customers?

Discover more about the insights related to your brand and customers in our upcoming research.



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