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How to Boost your Brand with “Buyer Ethnography”

With a wealth of experience in working for top international fashion companies including the bridal industry, Fashion and Consumer Behavior Specialist, Aida Masdeu helps top brands and manufacturers identify the “buyer ethnography”- the study of the consumer behavior to help push their business forward.

Based in the bridal fashion capital of Barcelona, Aida explains to Bridal Times importance of understanding consumer behavior and why it’s key to a company’s success.

By Aida Masdeu

Succeeding in a market is a multi-pronged approach. Companies need to sell to the buyers, and the end consumer. Each selling technique requires a different approach.

Since each brand and company has its’ own objectives, vision and opportunities, I begin our relationship and consultation with identifying key objectives and goals. This is key in making sure our research and marketing strategy is not only based on buyer facts, but also meets the brand’s specific needs and management requirements.

A buyer ethnography represents an insight into who buyers are, what they are like, which brands and products they carry, and what their “must haves” are. This also covers their thought process when it comes to discovering and selecting new brands and products, best sellers, store customer profile, social media engagement, trade shows they’re attending, social values etc. We are able to zero in on any segmentation criteria the brand wishes and in any market of their interest. It’s completely personalised work, and this is what’s so fascinating about it. It’s the best investment any management can make in order to grow their brand.

Understanding buyer ethnographies have multiple benefits: They are an excellent resource as a “state-of-the-industry analysis”, identifies key decision makers most receptive to a brand, evaluates competitor’s multi-brand positioning in any market, and prepares for the market season effectively.

Most brands invest thousands of euros in trade shows naively thinking that buyers will land in their booth magically. But going to a trade show unprepared is business suicide, and its’ money thrown out the window. Why would a brand invest at least 5000 euro in a trade show, but not invest a 1/4 of that cost on preparing for the market well?

In addition to shedding light on who the potential buyers of a brand are, an in-depth analysis measures an agent’s effectiveness in a particular market. If brands discontinue their relationship with the agent, it gives them the control over the market. Information is power and smart brands need the ability to manage their market directly.

Retailers demand a one-to-one relationship with brand, and wouldn’t it be nice to save on commissions? Retailers and buyers are aiming to establish an emotional relationship with the designers, and designers need to become active listeners to be able to cater to their needs and the end consumer, in a more proactive way.

Modern Technology has opened up a wide range ethnographical studies which can unlock many opportunities to companies interested in penetrating in new markets. Let’s say a western brand is interested in the Asian markets but needs to know how the Asian consumer will perceive their brand and price point before investing in the market. Well, I would then suggest a “Price & Brand Perception Analysis”, by engaging brides and buyers in that particular region and ask what they think!

The answers provide valuable information to take marketing strategies based on real consumer facts and feedback. “Price & Brand Perception Analysis” is a great tool to analyze concepts, prototypes, effective packaging or even as a competitive analysis. It would also be a great opportunity to ask “What do you think of my brand compared to my competitors?” or “What do you think can be improved?” for example.

Real ethnography takes time can be done in small base sizes. It activates customers in their own environment – often in their home, at work or on the go. This is where they are more open and give honest feedback. As consumer behavior specialist, we are able to observe consumers interacting with the products in real time, rather than just relying on explanations of how they use products.

Ethnography isn’t just about filming an interview with your clients. In turn, you would be looking for contradictions between what people say they do, and what they actually do when interacting with products, services and brands. These kinds of results can be applied to a better and improved product or service.

Interestingly, many brands are reluctant to discuss their ethnographic research, let alone the findings and beneficial results. Perhaps it is because they don’t want others to understand just how successful this kind of research can be, and keep returning to consumer behavior specialists for various projects every couple years.

Consumer Behavior studies are the driving force behind major breakthroughs.

For this reason, companies have a vested interest in knowing what goes on behind their customer’s front doors…and keeping what they discover under lock and key.


For further information or inquiries, please contact Aida Masdeu in English or Spanish at