My middle-schooler days seemed like the height of brand loyalty and brand persuasion. The influence of a brand was so strong that we’d pay a ridiculous amount for a plain shirt with tiny little moose on it. When a customer buys into the idea, the vibe, the social status of a brand, they can be hooked for a good period of time.
—But not all companies that were once so hot, stay in our favor. We change preferences and we change trends quite often in this decade of consumerism, which brings up this idea of whether or not brand loyalty is possible in today’s world.
My hunch is, is that it is more possible to be brand loyal for certain types of products over others, and that certain demographics are perhaps more likely to be brand loyal than others.
Products less susceptible to trends, in my opinion, gain and retain brand loyalty more easily. Cosmetics and skincare companies that continue their lines for long lengths of time, and provide “classics” that will stand the test of time, seem to gain a following that could be passed down generations. And speaking of generations, brand loyalty has been studied in connection to the influence of generations and family members. One study showed that kids more often than not, continue to buy the same toothpaste brand that their parents bought for the household, even once they have purchasing power and can make new decisions. Perhaps such a simple and un-individualistic purchase as a food or hygiene product makes sense to be influenced by the family or bought without thinking, but think about how many other types of decisions can be affected by this passed-down brand loyalty.
If a company wants to foster brand loyalty in a consumer, it must be aware of the pro’s and con’s a consumer encounters with brand loyalty. A consumer might enjoy brand loyalty because it means they “know what they like”, or they have found their “holy grail products”. But on the flip side, a consumer might not want to participate in brand loyal behavior because they may be less likely to try and find better alternatives, or feel let down when the company discontinues their favorite product lines.
When companies let us down with new products, discontinue our favorite products, or change what we love about their brand—it can be hard to stay. Given that most companies feel they need to consistently change to stay current, it’s no wonder that brand loyalty might not be what it used to in some sectors. Whether you are a business-owner or a consumer reading this, we can all benefit from better understanding the conscious and subconscious factors of brand loyalty and purchasing decisions.