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Archive for October 31st, 2008

I’m not a brand expert, but brand promise (“This brand is all about….”) seems to be the corporate mantra and all companies are looking at how to best bond with customers and retain their loyalty.  I don’t like to admit that I’m a fan-boy for certain brands.  I’ve come to realize that there are probably three or so that I really am devoted too. A few of them are:

Harley-Davidson:  They work to deliver on a fantasy of complete freedom on the road and a comradeship of a kindred spirit for the avid motorcyclist…  If you want to experience the psychology of hard-core devotion and feel the sense of anxiety that comes from not being part of the inner circle — wear your Polo Shirt, Tommy Bahama shorts and flip-flaps to the next biker event.  Point is that each touch point in the Harley brand mates with consumers and is really organized to uniquely deliver on this promise.  The Harley brand ‘essence’ has largely remained unchanged for decades.  Sure they have refreshed and added different ad campaigns, but the hallmark of the company quickly describes the brand.  Free spirited and rebellious associations while nurturing relationships to maintain a loyal motorcycle community.  Harley has the looming issue of reaching younger consumers entrenched in the internet age where the word “classic” and “tradition” have less marketing leverage.  But, we do need to give them credit for trying through the roll-out of blogs, MySpace and Facebook social networks as well as explains why they’ve tried video games.

Starbucks: This devotion is one that really grips me.  I’ve failed to shake the coffee habit.  “Bucks” is not about providing me a great cup of coffee!   They do, but it’s more about providing me a great coffee “experience” and rewarding everyday moments.  They are about lifting up my spirits one cup of coffee at a time and, looking back over my cash outlay this past month…they are doing a mighty fine job of lifting spirits!!  Similar to the Harley brand, Starbucks portrays a lifestyle image.  Who hasn’t thought about what it would be like to leave the corporate 10 hour day mad-dash to become a Barista?!   From napkins to paper cups, in-store posters, t-shirt designs to in-store architecture…the “Bucks” Creative Group tells a story to feed my habit all the while they put skim on a macchiato.

Born Shoes : I don’t buy a lot of shoes (or clothes for that matter; I’m kind of a charity case), but these shoes fit what my friends call my “techno-sporty” fashion sense. I was shooting for a cross between the Marlboro Man and REI fitness so, I’ve got some work to do in this department!  I’ve been buying Born shoes for a couple years, and they have consistently been my “everyday” shoes. Do the math: that means each pair is lasting a couple years. That’s a deal.

I’d like to be absence brand loyalty. I think everyone around has similar problems.  Find someone who reacts with the “I don’t have any brand loyalty!” and I’ll bet within five minutes’ of conversation, you’ll expose:

  1. Google (yeah, it’s a brand)
  2. Black Butte Porter 
  3. Tillamook Cheese

So, what are your brand loyalties?

Photos courtesy of respective web sites.

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