Brand loyalty is dead.
Now I’m sure that when you think about brand loyalty, you generally think it’s a good thing. The purpose of this post isn’t to dissuade you of that belief or to tell you that brand loyalty is bad, but to shed some light on the flip side of that coin.
While as a brand, we would want our customers/audience to become & stay loyal to our brand, but being a loyal customer doesn’t necessarily serve us well. To broaden the scope of this discussion, let me expand on what I mean by giving a more broad definition of brand loyalty using several examples..
- Car Manufacturers
- Clothing Brands
- Tech Brands
- Music or Book Genre
- Sports Teams
- Political Parties
- Religious Organizations
- Your State/Country
- Family (even extended family)
Chances are that you’ve said yes to one or more of those examples; but before I cover the potential downsides of brand loyalty, let’s go over some of the benefits.
Benefits of the Consumer
As a consumer, there are a few benefits you get by being loyal to a particular brand. First, it can be quite helpful if you have trouble making decisions.
Think of your favorite (car, tech, or clothing) company coming out with their newest edition, and how your natural inclination might be that “it’s time for an upgrade”. You don’t have to research all of the alternatives, you know that your favorite company provides quality products that are in your price range and that suit your taste.
Another big benefit can be the “community” aspect of brand loyalty. Think of the connections you have with other people that pertain to the organizations (sports, political, religious, family, and local community) you’re involved with. You have these common interests that bring you together.
Well so far, everything looks good. Brand loyalty is good for both the brand and consumer, right?
Maybe, maybe not. There are obvious benefits with this loyalty, provided that they keep putting out a quality product at a good price, but that’s not the entire picture.
The Danger of Brand Loyalty
One big danger is that it can cause you to stop using critical thinking. Many bad decisions can be made when you don’t focus on the possible outcomes or consequences before taking action.
Something else to consider is that times change. Companies change. You change. Those brands that are on top today will likely fall by the wayside tomorrow and beyond.
Also, many times this brand loyalty has been handed down to us. The ‘social’ brands (like politics, religion, nationalism, and family) tend to be heavily influenced by our upbringing and surroundings.
Think of it this way: if you met some of your extended family or your current co-workers for the first time at a community picnic or other social gathering, would you give them the time of day based solely on their attitude, personality, mannerisms, etc.?
If the answer is “no”, then why would you elevate their status based on factors that you’ve had little or no control over (being born and/or hiring your co-workers).
That example above may seem a bit cold, but I’m trying to make a point. Doing activities you don’t like or spending time with people you can’t stand aren’t good ways to have an enjoyable life.
(And obviously friends, family, and co-workers fall into different social categories.)
You are an Individual
Avoid the ‘herd mentality’ and do a personal audit. Make adjustments to the areas of your life that need it and choose what’s best for your personal situation – each and every time.
Avoid guilt! It’s OK to root for a sports team that actually wins, rather than rooting for the team that’s based in the same geographical location as you.
If your favorite car company starts cutting corners with their quality or puts out a design you don’t like, make the switch to another brand.
Now let’s bring it back to something a little closer to home for me..
Back to the blog
Personally, I follow several different blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. As much as I enjoy consuming new content from these brands, they are only a few bad posts/episodes/videos away from my finding replacements.
Knowing that your audience can walk away at any time will keep you on your toes. Consistent growth and improvement is how you stay in the game.
I hope this post has helped you find a different way of looking at things. Keep providing value to others, and make sure that others keep providing value to you.