brand loyalty is rarely more than having first dibs


flick by programwitch

I was wearing Carhartt jeans the other day. Also a Carhartt shirt and a Carhartt jacket. Am I a big Carhartt fan? Well I’ve got a few shirts yes, I’ve got one jacket and one pair of jeans. I wouldn’t call me brand loyal, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that.

Without repeating all that’s been said about the concept of brand loyalty and it being contrasted and questioned, even disproven, in Byron Sharps book How brands grow, I’ll add my two cents, and it’s really just a way of thinking about it.

“Brand loyalty is having first dibs”

That’s what it comes down to, and little more than that. I’m not loyal to Carhartt, but I’ll swing by their store in search of a new pair of jeans before any other, if convenient enough. They have the first chance of maintaining their track record, but it takes little for me to walk out and into another store. We tend to equate, or define, loyalty with the latter part; it taking little for me to walk out and the fact that loyalty should be about me not easily doing that. But it’s more about the former; a brand simply having first dibs. We’re looking for a bit too much in the loyalty concept. If first dibs is what we equate with brand loyalty, we have the research and data to back it up, as opposed to over inflated wishes for loyalty beyond reason.

The fact that it’s more about first dibs, and little more, means the pressure is on the brand to continue to satisfy me. And that’s brand loyalty seen from the other end.