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What Is a Brand Maven?

Digitally engaged and brand loyal shoppers with a strong peer influence (a.k.a brand mavens) have significant purchasing power, according to a new survey by CashStar, a provider of prepaid commerce solutions.

CashStar reported that the average brand maven spends approximately $1,100 on gift cards annually and redeems an average of $700 in cards, a total direct annual purchasing power of $1,800. Apparel and footwear benefit greatly from brand mavens: over 70 percent said they use gift cards to shop department and big box stores; 64 percent frequently use gift cards at fashion and apparel retailers.

Brand maven’s purchasing power rises exponentially as they indirectly influence others to buy and redeem gift cards, and become loyal brand purchasers. Close to one third of the 1,300 brand mavens surveyed share feedback about the purchases via Twitter, Facebook, Google and other social channels.

When gift cards are combined with loyalty rewards, coupons and other promotions, the survey found that gift cards become a form of branded currency. Sixty-eight percent of brand mavens said they would like to use one card for completing payments, accessing loyalty points and for redeeming coupons and promotional offers.

And mavens are likely to sway others to reap such benefits. Forty-seven percent encourage friends, family and co-workers to join loyalty programs, which CashStar noted is significant as 90 percent of consumers trust peers when making purchasing and loyalty decisions. More than half said they influence others to purchase gift cards, and 56 percent want to re-load a card, which results in additional sales.

Word-of-mouth recommendations might be the oldest trick in the book—61 percent said they consult with others before making a purchase—but the survey found that these consumers are digitally engaged. Sixty-six percent will read online product reviews, and most prefer to use digital gift cards for completing payments. Still, 90 percent of gift cards are redeemed in stores, followed by online stores and mobile.