Brand loyalty is for grandpa, right? At least that’s what every marketer I’ve talked to assumes. If you’re going to get someone to sport your brand for life, you’d better look to the boomers.
But statistics tell us this isn’t exactly true anymore. When we look at the boomer consumers, we see that they’re not being so loyal. In fact, major brands who used to command the loyalty of boomers lost 20% of boomer dollar support in 2017.
It would seem that the “millennial” mindset is spreading. Or was it really a millennial thing to want businesses to treat you well?
Maybe “brand loyalty” as a concept ushered in an era of laziness for major “boomer brands.” After a while, if you stop courting someone, they’re going to drift away to other people. This is what I suspect happened with “boomer brands.”
So, is brand loyalty still a thing? Let’s take a look.
Where Do We See Real Brand Loyalty
The luxury market is the only place where we see true brand loyalty. Out of all consumer product categories, jewelry and luxury brands had the fewest willing to try other products.
Likely, things like automotive brand loyalty depend on how much the car says about you as a person. If you only see a car as a utility, you’re likely to buy what’s most economical. If it’s about status, you’ll stick with the brand that communicates your status.
The luxury market offers fewer choices from the start. The prices are high and the competition is low.
People Are Burned Out on Brand Loyalty
Story time! Our local running store is the perfect example of this.
The owner wanted to implement a customer loyalty program. And as a runner, 10% off everything sounds terrific. But guess who scoffed at implementing one and telling customers about it: the Generation Z employees.
Where did this hesitation come from? When pressed, they admit it’s because their parents complain about brand loyalty programs. They don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. They don’t think that’s cool.
And the numbers reflect this. On average, a household is a member of 29 brand loyalty programs. But people are retracting their memberships more.
We’re also seeing that a large number of these people would switch brands at the drop of a hat.
Attitudes are shifting. It’s now going to be about actually putting the customer first. No more tricks.
The death of the old brand loyalty is a good thing. It means companies actually have to listen to customer needs. There will be healthier competition. And it encourages new companies to innovate and excel.