Xtreme Brand Loyalty
In one of the many recent articles that reflect on the impact that Steve Jobs had on growing the emotional quotient of Apple, Lisa Gates from Forbes magazine writes, “I love Via Spiga shoes, but for me they don’t inspire the same adoration that Apple everything engenders…When you love something, you’ll negotiate like a ninja to get it.” In other words, you’ll work your black belt skills to get your hands on the best there is to offer from the brand you love. It’s what drives a person to ask another shopper to sacrifice Missoni-for-Target hand towels from their full shopping cart when merchandise is sold out, or get a tattoo of the Ecko logo to receive a 20% discount for life.
Through the years on Lovemarks.com, we’ve received stories of how people have travelled distances, bargained with retailers, and begged and borrowed for their Lovemarks. Loyalty Beyond Reason on occasion means a sacrifice of time and energy on behalf of the consumer; it’s more than simply choosing a product on the shelf at the supermarket. Sometimes it means asking a friend to bring it over the border (Corona and Vogel’s bread) or hours trawling websites for the last available bottle (Anne Klein perfume).
Cultivating such levels of brand loyalty requires more than short-term promotion. The emotional connection felt by the consumer for a brand has to be at a level high enough to motivate the individual to act in particular circumstances. It is in people’s personalities, dreams and desires that this motivation lies. To quote Kevin Roberts, the creator of Lovemarks: “The ear is one of the key marketing tools of this new century. That, and the understanding that people are attracted not by what they want, so much as by who they are.”
Acts of Loyalty Beyond Reason is a call for brands to understand the intrinsic drivers that lead to such behavior. This insight should be used to develop strategy that looks at the answers to why it is happening and what the company needs to do to meet the desires of their fan-base and fuel the flame of adoration.
Here are some examples of people who have gone out of their way to get their Lovemarks:
Coca-Cola: I work at a university campus that’s signed an exclusivity contract with Pepsi, and I won’t have it – I bring my own stash and will go without cola completely if I can’t get Coke. Charlie, United States
Five Guys: Texas has an abundance of great burger places, but none like Five Guys. Imagine my delight when I learned a few months ago that two stores had opened in Houston – one about 2 miles from my apartment, and the other about 2 miles from my office. Now it’s all about the willpower. Kemp
Pampers: I know this sounds far fetched, but among the many questions I asked when trying to select a daycare center for my children was “which brand of diapers do you use?” If they didn’t use Pampers, they were out! And then when a move forced us to go to a daycare center not using Pampers I supplied them for my daughters. While the other children were “not allowed sugar”, “allergic to strawberries”, or “vegetarian”…my daughter was “not allowed any diaper besides Pampers”…crazy huh? Tanya, Netherlands
Virgin Atlantic: VA’s Upper Class service is second to none. Being a Brit, and marrying a girl from America, I spent several years frequently crossing the Atlantic. The journey was a bore until I chose Virgin…I could easily go home on BA from Chicago, but I go 2,000 miles out of my way to fly VA, via New York just for this experience. Will, United States
Vogel’s: Heaven! I have just enjoyed the first of four loaves of Vogel’s bread (not all in one go!) brought back from NZ for me by a Kiwi friend…I had asked if he could try to smuggle some back in for me, so he managed to pack not one but four loaves into air tight containers in his suitcase! I was in raptures! I am now off to Waitrose, a 20 mile trek to see if they have it there! Jacqui, United Kingdom