Titleist Brand Survey – The Results
You Had Your Say
Last week we asked you to provide your feedback on Titleist as a brand. I think it’s reasonable to assume that we all (myself included) have a tendency to believe that the majority of people see things the way we do, so we thought it was important to learn what you really think.
These brand surveys (this is the first) will provide all of us with a better understanding of how the larger community of golfers views the various golf companies and the their products.
Putting It All Out There
It’s probably fair to say that from my perspective as golf media guy, Titleist hasn’t always been the easiest to work with. They’re not as progressive as some, tighter with product than others, and haven’t always been the best communicators.
Equally as fair a statement is that over the last year or so things have changed (from my perspective, I’d call it improved). Titleist has been more responsive, and far easier to work with. From my narrow media perspective, they have progressed.
From the consumer perspective they’ve stepped up their Social Media efforts, hired some interesting new talent (James Patrick Harrington), and have continued to do what they do best; make quality equipment that always remains true the Titleist tradition, and seemingly never fails to appeal to a certain segment of the golfing population.
My Pre-Conceived Notions
You can bet that every time we publish one of these surveys, we do so with our own expectations of how the results will shake out. Some of the responses we got were basically exactly what I expected. That said, I’d be lying if I told you that some of my perceptions of how others see Titleist have proven to be almost total misconceptions…at least compared to how the majority of you view the company.
The data we share comes directly from our survey results. It’s what you told us. We’re about to show you what your fellow golfers think about the Titleist brand, and because that’s just the kind of thing we do, we’re going to draw our own conclusions about what it means in terms of the outlook for Titleist.
Here’s What You Told Us
The answers to this question were largely as we expected. We had a reasonable belief that most of you associate the Titleist brand with things like quality and performance. In fact a full 38% of you chose Quality as the single most positive differentiator for the Titleist brand.
If there’s a negative in all of this it’s that less than 1% of you chose innovation. Of course, the results could simply mean that when you think Titleist you think of quality before innovation, but not necessarily to the exclusion of it.
That Other line…those who wrote in chose positive terms like “tradition“, “reputation“, and “history“, while those who chose to express a less positive opinion of the brand chose words like “boring“, “arrogance“, “elitism“, and “nothing“.
As with the first question, the top tier results aren’t particularly surprising, and most certainly have to be viewed as a positive for the brand.
68.49% of you chose listed Professional, while another 61.83% selected Quality among your choices.
Once again, the lack of perceived Innovation (less than 12% of you made that association) could be viewed as a negative.
In happier news, negative words like Uninspired, Stale, Irrelevant, and Junk were largely ignored by our survey takers.
These results could be cause for concern at Titleist. Despite the fact that the majority of you quite clearly hold the brand in high regard (Quality, Professional, etc.), less than 50% of you have so much as a single Titleist club in your bag.
The clubs that you do carry (Wedges – 35.38%, and Putter – 24.29%) are perhaps more associated with their designers (Vokey and Cameron) than the company itself. They are more driven by the individual than the brand.
The driver number (22.95%) is probably comfortable, but it goes without saying that Titleist would prefer everything be higher.
Here’s the real positive. Less than 13% of your opinions towards Titleist have changed for the negative in the last 3 years. Better news for Titleist yet, while a slight majority (51.31%) have maintained consistent opinions, those of you whose opinions have changed for the positive (35.88%) greatly outnumber those sliding towards the negative.
Another real positive for Titleist. The majority of you believe their products are manufactured to tight tolerances, and you believe that as a brand they honor the traditions of the game.
The potential cause for concern here is the fact that so many of you (48.88%) believe that Titleist products target a narrow range of golfers. While Titleist has certainly built a reputation as a brand for the elite player, ultimately that perception could be hurting their bottom line.
Is the belief that their products aren’t for everyone (middle to high handicap golfers) the reason why less than 50% of you actually carry Titleist products?
There’s nothing here not to like if you’re Titleist (again). A majority of our survey takers (51.54%) view Titleist as a leader, while a healthy percentage of you (42.31%) believe Titleist is unconcerned about what others in the industry are doing.
In my opinion, unconcerned is probably the most accurate. If I’m Titleist, what I really love is that only 6.14% view me as a follower.
We asked you to compare Titleist’s equipment to its competitor’s, and frankly the results are a little puzzling. In every category, you told us that Titleist clubs are better than the competition’s. In fact, if we aggregate Far Superior and Slightly Better, we get this:
- Metalwoods – 71.41% better to superior
- Irons – 81.21% better to superior
- Wedges 91.36% better to superior
- Putter – 84.01% better to superior
- Balls – 95.75% better to superior
Once again, I ask: If the majority of you think very highly of Titleist products, why don’t you have more of them in your bag?
The ball number is astounding. 62.52% of you believe the Titleist ball (presumably the Pro V1) is Far Superior to everything else on the market. When we isolate the younger demographic (30 years and younger), that number actually climbs to almost 70%.
Let me point something out: 60% of you believe that Titleist makes a Far Superior golf ball, yet only 14.72% of you associated the Titleist brand with the word “Marketing“.
Guys…that’s a huge disconnect from reality on both ends. Even if we all believe that Titleist makes the best ball in golf, the leap to Far Superior is a huge one, and there’s no way you get otherwise intelligent golfers to make it without being heavily invested in marketing that proposition.
Green is good on this slide, and for Titleist there is plenty of it. Only for value did the negatives outpace the positives – and that’s reasonable given Titleist’s above average price point and their tendency to maintain it.
There are always less expensive options.
Once again, innovation raises a red flag. While the majority of you do rank Titleist above average for innovation, 31.44% of view Titleist as below average for innovation while another 8.72% believe Titleist is significantly behind on the innovation front.
More good news for Titleist. While Stagnant (36.15%) isn’t ideal, having a a majority (48.88%) believe you’re moving forward is definitely a positive. Toss in another 9.1% percent for improving rapidly, and it’s basically all good.
73.8% of you believe Titleist products are above average. Another 19.66% told us that Titleist makes the best products in all of golf.
So here we go again…93.46% of you have, to one degree or another, a warm and fuzzy feeling towards Titleist products, but less than half of you have so much as a single Titleist club in the bag.
Do you have a greater affinity for the golf ball? Where is the disconnect?
Titleist Social Media
There’s no denying that it’s a new world. Social Media is almost certainly here to stay, and it’s most certainly become a part of nearly every golf company’s Social Media strategy. Some are absolutely killing it, some are being killed by it, but almost everybody is trying.
So how is Titleist doing with Social Media, and to what degree is their Social Media influencing your decisions at the register?
Here’s what you told us.
I see these results as generally negative for Titleist. Yes…55.08% of golfers who follow other golf companies on Social Media follow Titleist.
55% is a solid number. Of course, it also means that 44.92% of golfers who follow other golf companies on Social Media are not following Titleist.
44.92% is a huge number too, and one Titleist must certainly want to see decrease.
Why aren’t more golfers following Titleist? It turns out, most of them (38.76%) didn’t know Titleist was on Social Media. That’s bad. If golfers are finding your competitors, and not finding you, it’s really bad.
Other big numbers 22.62% (not relevant) and 20.28% (not a fan of Titleist) are to be expected.
As a guy who follows every golf company on the planet (or so it seems), my personal evaluation is that Titleist is significantly less engaged than its competitors. Only 8.43% agree with me, so that’s a plus for Titleist, I suppose.
To me, engagement is all about interaction, and Titleist simply doesn’t do it.
Quite frankly, for those of you who find Titleist much more engaged (10.37%) than others, I’d suggest you’re following the wrong others.
The bulk of you (32.08%) find Titleist to be slightly more engaged, while 28.38% find Titleist slightly less engaging.
The results of these question and the one that follows beg for two additional questions:
Is Titleist simply not doing Social Media well? Or..Is Social Media just a giant waste of everybody’s time?
A staggering 75.73% of you said that Social Media had no influence over how you perceive the Titleist brand.
On a more positive note, 17.44% report that Titleist’s Social Media efforts have improved your perceptions of the brand, while less than 3% feel the efforts have diminished perceptions.
Here’s your headline: 80.37% of Titleist follows say Social Media effort has not influenced their purchasing decision.
Now it’s possible you have been influenced and you just don’t realize it. Failing that, please refer to the two questions under the previous chart and get back to me.
Once again, a few of you (16.65%) report that Titleist’s Social Media efforts have made you more likely to buy Titleist products, but seriously…80.37% no impact.
It makes one wonder…
Once again, I just don’t see it, but I’m in the minority (albeit only a slight minority). I can give you a handful of mid to large sized golf companies who I think are doing a better job at Social Media than Titleist.
Quite frankly, I think below average is a fair evaluation.
I’m also inclined to believe that No Opinion isn’t good for business ever. Indifference is almost never good for business.
On a more positive note 29.18% of you believe Titleist’s efforts are above average, while another 2.44% of you might actually believe Titleist Social Media is the best in golf.
Beyond the Frontline Data
You want to know the most astonishing thing about these survey results?
In a word, consistency.
I presumed that as we sorted the data by age and handicap we’d see a fundamental shift. Older more accomplished golfers would account for the positive feedback, while younger and/or higher handicap players would have a slightly more negative view of the brand.
That’s not reality. While the bars may shift by a few percentage points here or there, the general sentiment towards the brand remains constant. Golfers of all ages and ability levels associate the same words, with almost identical frequency – and those words are overwhelmingly positive.
The one interesting shift is that while older golfers, and the majority of you as a whole, see Titleist primarily as an industry leader, the younger demographic largely views them as unconcerned about the rest of the industry.
Either way, it’s a plus for Titleist.
There is no age range, income level, or handicap group that views Titleist as a follower.
What we don’t know is how you view Titleist compared to other brands. We’ll learn a whole lot more as we release more brand surveys.
For now, it’s hard to look at the results and conclude anything other than this:
A substantive majority of golfers hold the Titleist brand in high regard and generally view it favorably versus its competitors.
What do you make of what your fellow golfers told us about Titleist? We want to know what you think about the results. What makes sense, and what completely blows your mind?
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