Brand Habit vs. Brand Commitment

I had an interesting conversation with my 12 year old daughter last night.

“Dad, sandwiches don’t taste right with other mayonnaise.”

“What do you mean.”

“Kinds that aren’t Hellmann’s don’t taste right.”

“Have you ever had any other kinds?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“Then how do you know.”

“I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like they would taste right.”

Wow. What brand wouldn’t kill to hear that kind of brand loyalty exhibited in the every American household?

That was my first reaction. Then I started thinking. Is that really what we’re striving for when we talk about brand loyalty? We buy Hellmann’s exclusively because that is what my wife grew up using. Same with Heinz Ketchup and Welch’s Grape Jelly.

But are we loyal to those brands? Or are we are loyal to the habit of purchasing those brands? Does it matter which it is? Maybe not to accounting, but it should to marketers. We can no longer depend on loyalty to a purchasing habit to build a brand. Our society is addicted to the next big thing. Whether in fashion or food, exercise or music, innovation and change is expected. We have been conditioned to expect it and we’re not going to adopt anything with any real gusto because something better will surely come along.

So what is the answer to getting a commitment from someone always looking over your shoulder to see if someone funnier or smarter or better looking is on the horizon? You court them. Talk to them. Give them the attention they crave. With the hope that one day they will see that what they’ve been looking for has been right in front of them all the time.

Sounds like the plot of a million romantic comedies. But that is what marketing, in all its various forms, has always been about. And that’s all social media/social marketing is about. The difference of course is the courtship style. We’ve finally realized that lasting, passionate commitment comes from a lifelong courtship; from respecting the opinions of the person on the other side of the relationship; from not always talking about about yourself but listening to what the other person has to say.

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2 Responses to Brand Habit vs. Brand Commitment

  1. Scott says:

    But your daughter is right! When I moved to the west coast, the mayo was a different brand and did not taste as good as Helmanns. Then I was told to try the mayo substitutes and they were worse! Same goes for Heinz and Welches. They are just better tasting.

    • Bruce says:

      I think they taste better, too. But I think that is because I’ve been conditioned that way (not because I’ve made the decision myself) which I would argue is not true brand loyalty. Thanks for you comment, Scott.

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