People ask me what is the value of branding, what function does it perform that makes all the investment in time, resources and processes worthwhile? The answer is quite simply loyalty. Branding done well becomes your greatest advocate, your most valuable and effective sales resource.
To illustrate this, I often use my father as an example – a hi-fi enthusiast when ‘hi-fi’ was the appropriate term for it. He had a lot of expensive kit that he renewed on a regular basis. And he bought Sony – just Sony – because his impression of the company, appreciation of the product and loyalty to the brand were absolute. The sales ‘resource’ required to sell to my father was nil – the job was done. He was loyalty personified. He was brand loyal.
This is brand nirvana. When your brand becomes the automatic choice in the heart and mind of your target consumer, I guess you can say you've won.
Is brand loyalty diminishing? Has it changed? To our studio manager, if it’s not a Miura its not a golf club, our creative director still a fully paid up member of the SuperDry fan club and I guess I don’t look past a stout pair of Hunter’s when I need a new pair of wellies.
So no, I don’t think brand loyalty has changed that much. Yes brand management these days is a more complex and multi-channel occupation, and, as a result, customer loyalty is possibly more fragile, but done well, will still generate a loyalty in your customers that no other marketing, media or promotional activity can match.