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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brand Loyalty - A Symbiotic Relationship

Brand Loyalty is something that is established at an early age.
From commercials for what cereal to eat to what shows you watch for what products to buy. The relationship with the brand grows and strengthens over time, as does your loyalty. The loyalty you show the brand is returned with continued great service and
products. Many brands have also established loyalty programs for their valued customers.

For the quality brands your relationship strengthens over time and the brand already has a product or service for you in your next stage in life. For instance McDonald's, they have a happy meal for when you are young and meals for when you get to old for a happy meal. Other brands don't have this ease of transition. Once you reach your a cut off age where that brand is no longer cool or popular there is nothing more that the brand can offer you. All that brand loyalty that was built over the years has vanished. A personal example was my younger brother who loved Barney, he had Barney & Friends toys, games, clothes, bed sheets. But once he reached that age where Barney wasn't cool he got rid of all of that.

What could Barney have done?
Not much could have been done when you focus on an age demographic and have no follow up once they get beyond that age range. Once the brand locked themselves in with the 1-8 age range they were stuck with it. They could have attempted to make a spin off show for an older audience of 5-12 to run with the original. But with such a narrow demographic the brand was doomed for a cliff of brand loyalty. Some brands that managed a better job are the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus brand with a larger demographic and numerous complementing industries. The brand has movies, music, video games, clothes, jewelry and much more that appeals to a wider age range than the original brand. Two other brands are my childhood favorites of Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For me I started with the cartoons at a young age, 5 or 6, and expanded into their toys. Over time expanding further with their video games and movies. With the additional arenas for me to follow the brands to my loyalty and fandom grew and expanded.

Ways brands can destroy the relationship.
There are many ways of destroying the relationship and loyalty.
  1. No Room to Grow -As stated above one way you can destroy the brand loyalty is by not having a way to continue to evolve the relationship once it reaches a point (age range or end of brand product line).
  2. Poor Customer Service/ Brand Deterioration - can whittle away at the established brand loyalty as described by Scott Stratten in his blog post Why I changed my coffee religion.
  3. The Competition has Arrived - Someone else has came and has a bigger, better, and/ or cheaper product or service. But if you have brand loyalty they should wait for you to come out with a similar product, as long as you let them know.
  4. Any others I have missed besides these big three let me know.
What brands are you loyal to and why? What have they done that others haven't?

If you enjoyed this post you can read my post on Brand Value - It changes with the tide

Photo Credit to ArbyReed

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