Does product loyalty run in families?

Last year, as FamilyLink.com’s product strategy and business model were becoming more clear, we realized again that in many ways, the family is the center of the economic universe. So many consumer purchases are really made within families. Think about the mortgage, the car payment, educational expenses, travel, health-related spending, consumer electronics, and gifts too. Most of our major and minor expenditures have something to do with family.

As FamilyLink reaches more consumers each month with our family applications on social and mobile networks, we have more opportunity to understand our users better. We have developed a robust survey tool that allows us to collect thousands of answers very quickly on all kinds of questions. We often ask our members what they like or don’t like about our applications, what they want us to do next, and how we can improve our products and services. But sometimes we ask our members what products they use, or like most, or recommend. We also religiously read every user post on our Uservoice customer feedback site which contains thousands of ideas and suggestions from our customers, along with their collective votes.

Last year, before we developed our in-house survey tool, we ran a third-party survey to find out what products people used because their mother used them. I blogged about it last February. The top ten products were Tide, Ivory, Clorox, Campbell’s Soup, Crisco, Dove, Crest, Kraft, Comet, Quaker. I have no idea why 7 of the top 10 start with a K sound, but they do. These are all household products that most people use daily or weekly.

I asked a similar question recently to discover what products (brands) people use because their father used them. And for the first time, I’m publishing the list here, in ranked order. We received 19,288 responses to this question.

  1. Old Spice
  2. Ford
  3. Craftsman
  4. Colgate
  5. Chevy
  6. Gillette
  7. WD40
  8. Crest
  9. Heinz Ketchup
  10. Pepsi
  11. Budweiser
  12. Sony
  13. Coca Cola
  14. John Deere
  15. Nokia
  16. Tide
  17. Marlboro
  18. Honda
  19. Nike
  20. Dial soap
  21. Hellmans mayo
  22. Ivory
  23. Sears
  24. Toyota
  25. Folgers coffee
  26. Duct tape
  27. Brut
  28. Kraft
  29. Dove
  30. Dodge

Old Spice had 16 times more responses than Dodge, which was in 30th place. The survey was unaided and all the answers were typed into a text box. The hardest part in compiling the survey answers was in finding all the misspellings of Budweiser. The dads that influenced their kids to drink Bud also forgot to buy them a dictionary.

If you had a customer base of 50 million people of all ages and family sizes using a family-related web application, how do you think this kind of market research could both generate revenue for your company and also provide a better experience for your members than traditional display banner ads? In other words, how do you think we can or should incorporate popular brands into our user experience?

(We have some really fun ideas, and are working with some selected brands already, but I always love to hear other thoughts on big strategy questions like this.)