The ad curmudgeon

QUICK READ: Consumers don’t have time to follow all the brands in their pantry but to say that “in the real world, consumers are massively not joining conversations about our brands. They are not committed to having relationships with them. They do not want to “engage with our content,” and are not fascinated by our “brand stories.” They do not consider themselves part of a “community” or “tribe” that has our brand at the center” is a mistake.

I like reading the Ad Contrarian Bob usually has some great content, but he can be, well, stubborn at times. His latest post is called the road to reality, and to summarize it, he basically says that “people are NOT in love with brands.” Here is an excerpt “most marketers have a hard time recognizing that while their brand is vitally important to them, it is of little consequence to their customers. If you’re a marketer and you believe people love your brand because they happen to buy it, you’re kidding yourself”. OK, maybe that’s true for 99%V of the products found in the grocery store, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to ALL brands and products.

Over the last 20 years, I have spent time reading and listening to consumers’ research. There is some brand that consumers really do care about. They follow them on social media and opt into their emails. Bob is right that nobody really cares about their pickle and mayonnaise brands but that people are not in love with all brands is myopic.

Let’s take Subaru for example. According to the 2020 J.D. Power study, Subaru is #1 in brand loyalty among all mainstream automakers scoring a 60.5 percent loyalty rate. Subaru beats Toyota (60.3 percent) and Honda (58.7) and have done it two years in-a-row. Subaru knows who its customers are and how to connect with them. For Subaru, more than a car company means the feeling customers get when they drive the car. They know the all-wheel-drive Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek will get them to their destination safely. Brand loyalty didn’t just start two years ago for Subaru.

It also isn’t too surprising that Apple is a brand that consumers feel a strong connection to. Apple customers have long been fiercely loyal. When it comes to technology, consumers just want their devices to work, and no smartphone maker gets higher marks for customer satisfaction than Apple. A recent survey found that Apple ranks highest in customer satisfaction, at 82 out of 100, according to data compiled by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. It isn’t just the iPhone, either: The company gets top scores for its iPad notebooks and Mac computers as well. 

Walmart and Amazon have some of the most loyal customers also, according to a recent study by Morning Consult.  The firm recently conducted a study about what drives brand loyalty among shoppers. According to the firm, 90% of shoppers associate the word “reliable” with brands they are loyal to. Other factors that the firm found influenced loyalty were prices, quality, customer service, and company ethics. 

So what’s he saying? He is saying this applies to just about every product in grocery stores and products considered commodities. Even then, some brands have a lot of equity. Recently grocery stores here in SW Florida ran out of a certain brand of coffee creamer, and customers went on social media to find stores that still had supplies.

According to Sprout Social “just as consumers have several ways of finding accounts to follow, they also have an array of reasons for following brands on social media. One of the most popular reasons is to learn about new products and services (57%), while another is to stay up to date on company news (47%). Consumers also follow brands on social media in order to learn about promotions or discounts (40%), to be entertained (40%), to be educated (34%), and to be inspired (32%). And, while about one-third (32%) say they follow a brand to connect with people similar to themselves, fewer are interested in following a brand in order to connect with people who are different from them (18%).

A good marketer continually measures his brand’s equity with customers. A poor marketer believes that customers love their products without having and research that back up that claim.

No consumers don’t have time to follow all the brands in their pantry but to say that “in the real world, consumers are massively not joining conversations about our brands. They are not committed to having relationships with them. They do not want to “engage with our content,” and are not fascinated by our “brand stories.” They do not consider themselves part of a “community” or “tribe” that has our brand at the center” is a mistake.

The ad curmudgeon

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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