Lame advice: Build brand loyalty

Lame advice: Build loyalty to your brand.

Not exactly. I may commit heresy as a brand/marketing guy, but here goes nothing. People are not loyal to brands. Before you threaten to take away my first born and pour lemon juice in my eyes (ouch!), please hear me out.

A brand is nothing more than a perceived expectation in an exchange of value. In other words, if you give me something that you value (your time or your money), than you expect something of value in return from me. The stronger the brand is, the greater the expectation that you have. But this expectation of yours goes much deeper than just my products or services.

You see, a brand is not just what you expect from my company; more importantly it is what you expect of yourself by choosing my brand. If you have an iPod, you expect to be (and probably see yourself as) a stylish person. If you buy a safe Volvo car, you expect to be a safe person. If you buy high-class jewelry from Tiffany & Co., you expect to be a high-class person. In other words, you expect to be what you expect of the brand.

But let’s say that Tiffany & Co. went out of business tomorrow. Since you could no longer buy their high-class jewelry, would you stop seeing yourself as a high-class person? Probably not. You’d simply fulfill your need to be a high-class person someplace else. And I’m not just talking about other jewelry stores. Even if every piece of jewelry ceased to exist in a blink of an eye (sorry Mr. T!), you would still seek out something that gives you the sense of high-class.

So you’re not really loyal to the brand, but to the underlining, emotional benefit. A brand is simply the best perceived conduit (at the moment) to the expectation you seek. So stop worrying about brand loyalty and start thinking about the best way your brand can help consumers get what they are truly after.

What are your thoughts?

Happy Monday!

Lame advice: spend more on ads

I decided to start another collection of posts inspired by my old landlord. When the toilet wouldn’t flush properly he would say, “You just need to jiggle the handle a little.” (He was also a “master” with duct tape – but that’s a story for another day).

So, without further ado, here is jiggle #1:

[Click to enlarge]