Are we loyal to brands or behaviours? Learnings from big-tech

Much has been made of change in the marketing world because of digitisation and the digital economy. How to react to disruptors and stay relevant. How to understand and react to changing customer needs and expectations. How to map non-linear consumer journeys and identify the right touchpoints to intervene. Where to spend advertising budget and how to measure its effectives. How to become more agile. Chaos or opportunity, depending on how you look at.

Marketing has been further complicated by the popularity of authors such as Daniel Kahneman, Byron Sharp, Mark Earls and Malcolm Gladwell. Their books have challenged conventional wisdom and made practitioners ‘dinner party-ready’ – enough knowledge to unnerve their decision making but not enough to turn knowledge into competitive advantage.

A big question we get asked by clients is how they should manage their brands in face of this uncertainty. We hear that brands aren’t as important to youth as they used to be. We see big-tech focus on consumption experience over marketing. But aren’t we all still human? Aren’t we wired to feel connections to things, including brands, that help us navigate our place in the world?

According to our brand equity model, for a weak brand to become strong it needs to go on a journey over time from building mental and physical presence to creating an emotional connection. Matthew argues in his article that customers have weak emotional bonds with big-tech brands, but they demonstrate behavioural loyalty because of customer experience benefits. This raises an interesting question of whether behavioural loyalty or brand loyalty has most sustainable advantage?

Truth is, brands and great experiences are both important to the decisions we make. In a practical sense, the idea of behavioural loyalty begs two questions. What can brands do to incorporate behavioural loyalty into their customer experiences and how can traditional brands connect with customers by showing empathy than big-tech doesn’t? One thing is for sure: new strategy and human experience innovations are needed for traditional brands to compete with disrupters and meet fast-changing consumer expectations.

If you are interested in understanding more, please get in touch.