The Death of Brand Loyalty

The Death of Brand Loyalty

As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up on the idea of brand loyalty and romanticize the monetary impact of “committed” consumers.  

But the truth is, when we’re talking about consumers and their purchase decisions, loyalty is dead. Put that on your Valentine’s card. 

Why? Because “brand loyalty,” as a concept, just doesn't make sense. As Melissa Tsang, author of WOM and Referral Marketing blog, explains it, “brand loyalty is founded on everything but loyalty.”

Ever heard of a long-time consumer who happily jumped ship for a brand that was cooler, lower-priced, or more accessible? Of course you have. Because “loyalty" does not factor into their decision.

As much as marketers might claim that consumer/ brand relationships behave like human relationships, the two really don’t have much in common. For example, no one has ever said, “I’d like to hang out with Miracle Whip tonight, but Hellman’s really needs me right now.”

The truth is, for most consumers the brand relationship is either absent or completely disposable. According to the Harvard Business Review, 77% of consumers say they don’t have any relationship with any brand. And, what’s worse, they don’t actually want human-type relationships with brands because it’s too much work.

Plus, for the 23% of consumers who do have relationships with brands, it’s still completely one-sided and conditional. The consumer holds all the cards.

But all is not lost. 

Enter the concept of “brand love,” brand loyalty’s flakier yet lustier cousin. According Dr. Ahuvia, professor of marketing at the University of Michigan and top consumer behavior researcher, brand love is built primarily on three things: affection, connection and passion. 

Though brand love differs from human love, in that it’s far less altruistic and far more conditional, one thing remains: people definitely talk about the things they love – be it people or brands.

Today, as brands compete in a world of short attention spans, talk is important. Winning and maintaining consumers’ love requires relevant, ongoing engagement, on the consumer’s own terms -- and that’s exactly what GOXD does best: we give them something to talk about.

We explore and activate the brand narrative to create new ways for consumers to continue to connect with, appreciate, share, talk about and buy the brand and, in so doing, we create powerful results for our clients.

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