Brand Loyal or Brainwashed?
Have you ever wondered why some people love one brand over another?
They’ll drive further, pay more, and by more just because of the brand.
When I was just a kid, and I spent my afternoons watching cartoons, that’s where I learned from the commercials I watched how to fall in love with products one jingle at a time.
Back then, I didn’t know what brand loyalty meant. I only knew that Coca-Cola commercials touched my heart with their songs and their message, but the Pepsi commercials didn’t.
I even knew the difference between a Coke and Pepsi from the age of seven.
That was the beginning of my brand loyalty journey.
So here I am today an Apple product user, Starbucks drinker, and Honda driver.
All high priced items with millions of loyal customers each.
I did some research a while back when I started this blog because I knew that at some point I would begin to recommend certain brands to the people who were following me.
I had to examine my own brand loyalty under a microscope in order to see why I liked the brands that I liked.
Here’s what I came up with:
Why a Honda?
I didn’t grow up having a car in my family. We didn’t have enough money to take care of the car payments nor the insurance let alone the gas. The prices at the time were under a dollar. However, I do remember our family’s first car, only because I got to drive it. Back then my mom was getting her license and I was getting mine. (That’s an interesting story that I’ll let her tell at another time).
Our family owned a Buick, not the best or the worst in their line of vehicles. My first vehicle was a Chevy Cavalier, as was my second vehicle. After that, I moved on to the Dodge family of cars. My first was a Dodge Dakota. Yes, a small pickup truck. The next was a Dodge Neon Sport in my favorite color purple.
Did I have any particular trouble with any of these vehicles? No. However, I did notice that my friends who drove Hondas seemed to have their cars for many more years than I did. They told me stories of their customer service experiences while visiting the dealership and I was envious.
So the next opportunity I had to purchase a vehicle what did I buy? A Saturn Vue. I drove that SUV up until the year I moved to Nicaragua. But the brand loyalty for Honda was already well-established in my mind so the next opportunity came and my husband and I agreed that we wanted a vehicle with a good reputation for longevity, gas mileage, and resale value.
I remember the first time I touched a Macintosh computer. I was in high school and I had been learning basic typing skills on the Windows PCs on the third floor of my school. When it was time to learn graphic design, I was sent to the annex and sat down in front of the original Macintosh desktop, and fell in love.
I began working as a graphic designer that very year. I loved working on those Macintosh computers but they were well out of my price range so when the time came to purchase a laptop computer I purchased a Toshiba.
Did I have any trouble with my Toshiba? Not at all. As a matter fact I was working as an administrative secretary and using a PC for work and having no trouble at all. In fact, I forgot all about how to use an Apple computer until years later when my father began using Apple exclusively in his business.
I had to learn how to use an Apple all over again from scratch. It wasn’t easy. But I fell in love again. So when the opportunity came for me to purchase a new laptop I went with MacBook. So why do I stay with a laptop computer that is three sometimes four times the price of a PC?
Well a few years ago, my power cord began to fray. I was well out of my warranty so I didn’t expect anything except to go to the store and get a new one. Of course, they weren’t cheap, but without a power cord, you have no computer.
To my surprise, I was greeted by a sales associate who informed me that Apple had a little program that replaced certain accessories for your laptop for free at least one time. I’d never heard of this program, but I was happy to take advantage of it and grateful to the sales associate who informed me about it. Because of this knowledge, I don’t suffer from having a poor power cord and when the opportunity arose for me to enter into a rewards program with Apple I took the opportunity.
What are the benefits of being in the Apple rewards program? Well, inherent in a rewards program is earning points towards future purchases of the same brand. This may not sound like much, but for a person who is completely brand loyal, this is just another reason to love your favorite brand. Every purchase earns you more discounts on the products you already love.
So let me preface this by saying, I don’t like coffee. Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t like coffee, but I love Starbucks. So, what does a person order who doesn’t like the taste of coffee? Tea or hot chocolate usually, but there is one other drink I like when I want the caffeine hit but not the coffee taste.
Here’s my standard drink order:
White chocolate mocha
With raspberry syrup
And almond milk
Sometimes I even order a cup of tea or cocoa. But why, when I can purchase a tea for around a dollar anywhere else? Well, let me tell you.
I do most of my writing for my blogs and my books inside of Starbucks restaurants. They offer casual seating, with utility plugs for your computer, phone, or tablet.
But that’s not all. They’re open all the time. I mean ALL the time. Once I forgot that it was the day after a holiday, walked in the cold to discover the only thing open was my favorite Starbucks.
On my wedding day, after the ceremony, when my new hubby and I were craving something to drink we rolled into a Starbucks and put in our standard order. To our surprise, we were given free drinks. Why? Because it was our wedding day, of course!
On another occasion, while sitting at a Starbucks, someone gifted an undisclosed amount of coffees on their bill. Everyone in the restaurant, including myself, received a free drink.
I wish I could say that was all, but it’s not. They are also known to have one of the best rewards programs around. Not only do I earn a free coffee, on almost every third purchase, but they offer incentives daily and weekly. This allows me to earn points faster with fewer drinks. And don’t get me started on their mobile ordering system. If you hate lines you should be doing the mobile order. It saves time and I’ll be honest I love skipping the line.
So all of this is to say, that brand loyalty isn’t something that just happens. It is something that a company sits in corporate offices creating for their customers. Creating brand loyalty is creating a customer for life. A customer who will drive out of their way for, pay more than the average price for, and tell their friends about.
So from time to time, you’ll see certain brands recommended by us. Don’t let it freak you out. And don’t be bothered by it. We’re excited about the brands we use, for a variety of reasons. Those reasons we’ll share with you, not just because we like them, but because we like you. We want our friends, family, and our Mighty Minds, to benefit the same way we have.
Tell us if you notice these trends in brand loyalty among the items that you’ve purchased. Can you name at least one company or product that has your loyalty, and tell us why?