I’m a cheating bastard. Some months more often than others, but in the end I just can’t help myself. I wasn’t able to resist my temptation last night. A man has needs, and when she asked… I agreed.
“No, Pepsi would be fine.”
After a fleeting moment of guilt, I sipped my soda and realized I can barely tell one from the other. Aww, Coke, don’t look at me like that… you know you’re the one for me…
Despite everyone shouting about brand loyalty and the need for strong consumer/corporate relationships, it’s funny how willingly I’ll slip into the loving arms of another. When given the choice between two parity brands, love can only go so far.
And I’m not alone. There are a precious few who really won’t accept Pepsi instead of Coke, or will pay that extra dollar and cross the street to go to McDonalds instead of Burger King.
If you want to get an all-things-equal-and-controlled study of brand loyalty, go to the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets in Boston where a Starbucks and a Dunkin Donuts are separated by no more than a 50-foot stretch of asphalt. Here, you’ll see the hipsters and theatre-goers choose which brand of coffee gives them the buzz they love.
But as my Dad was happy to remind me over and over again as a kid, “Life’s not fair.” Beyond customer relations and the product itself, there are plenty of forces at play in whether or not I cheat – most of which are entirely out of a brand’s control. A competitors discount, a picky friend or even the wafting smell of burritos in the wind can lure me away from the brands I claim to love. Man is a fickle beast, and my dolla-dolla billz have no discretion.
But certain brands have a stronger hold than others. Everyone has their preferences, but they also have the brands that they choose to define themselves by: their “My” brands. Much in the way Miley shouts “they’re playing my jam” about the Jay-Z song that made her butterflies fly away, these are the brands that do everything right. When interacting with these brands, everything becomes right in the world. If I had to pick, my “My” brands would include Tropicana Orange Juice and Heinz Ketchup. They’re delicious and remind me of home, but I’ve cheated on them too. Damned if it doesn’t leave me with a bad taste in my mouth.
The point is of this rom-com is simply this: don’t end cheating. Brand monogamy is a pipe dream in any over saturated market. In the end, the best thing a company can do is produce a good product and trust me to fall in love with the message behind it. Together, we’ll make memories and I’ll introduce you to my friends.
All I ask is that you, the brand, stay true to me. If there’s one thing I won’t stand for in my brand relationship, it’s a cheating bastard. Sorry brand folks, it’s a one-way street.