Brand loyalty is dead

5 June 2014

brand_matchWe all put up with advertising and blatant pr stunts in our lives- after all, retailers have to promote their products somehow. But we like to think we are above falling for the latest advertising stunts, and instead base our purchasing decisions on a range of factors including our personal experience with the brand when buying something new.

However, a new study from global research consultancy TNS suggests that actually, we are a fickle lot, and will more often go for the latest shiny thing, rather than trusting a brand we have had a good personal experience with.

The results showed that almost two thirds (60%) of customers are likely to defect to another brand when buying new electronic products; 57% would replace their car with a different brand; and 64% would opt for another manufacturer when selecting white goods like a washing machine.

Overall, TNS identified that more than 50% of companies are “failing to translate good performance in terms of product and service delivery into customer preference for their brand.” In simple terms, this means that, even if they do everything right, and everything we expect of them, we’re still going to swap allegiances and buy a different brand when the next opportunity arises. European mobile network providers were found to have the most notable “performance-preference gap”. One fifth of customers rate their provider's performance highly but admit they still would not necessarily prefer them over competitors.

So what can retailers do? If it’s not enough to perform well, should they give up on trying to deliver a good product or service and go back to gimmicks only good for a one-time sale? If that's all they’re going to get anyway, why waste their time on disloyal consumers?

Stefan Schmelcher, Global Head of Customer Experience at TNS, said: “Given the fierce competition in many markets, securing valuable customer relationships requires a deep understanding of what drives your customers' behaviour.

“The most successful businesses are able to translate what's best about their performance into an active customer preference. They don't just invest in any service or promotion; they get smarter about the customer experiences that matter and deliver on the bottom line. Simply throwing resources at different touchpoints … will only undermine long-term credibility,” he finished, after having said not really very much at all.

So given that retailers are stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to earn your loyalty, what makes you loyal to a brand? Is it just consistent good performance or service, or does a brand have to go the extra mile to earn your sticking power? Is it when things go wrong, and how brands deal with that, that earns the Brownie points? Let us know in the comments below- assuming you haven’t already clicked off to another website that is, you disloyal lot…

TOPICS:   Advertising   Consumer Advice

1 comment

  • Sawyer
    Brands are just marketing and rarely correspond to manufacturing and hence quality anymore. Car manufacturers increasingly share production of a model and brand it with their own such that the "buy German/Japanese not French/Italian" doesn't matter any more. When buying electronics, the product range means more than the brand. Lenovo/IBM used to be a respected brand for their Thinkpads but their consumer line is as crap as any of them, whereas you'll do just as well with a business Dell or HP. The only brand loyalty these days is with software and ecosystems, because as a consumer you get the best deal when you buy-in to Google/Microsoft/Apple/Amazon rather than struggling to find compromises between several. But that's hardly loyalty as it is good sense.

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