2 days ago, I stopped by a supermarket to pick up a few things and one of the things I dumped in my basket happened to be the Kellogg’s Coco Pops. Shortly after I did this a man intent on promoting a new brand of chocolate cereal walked up to me. He offered me the option to try out his product and I assumed for free. It was a regular chocolate cereal with about 250 more grams. While I had walked into the Supermarket with the intention of picking up only one box of cereal, I was still unwilling to put the Kellogg’s Coco Pops back on the shelf even when presented with the option of a free box of cereal. Why? Brand Loyalty.
When I eventually discovered that the product was to be paid for, I instinctively assumed that it would be cheaper than Kellogg’s in mind Kellogg’s Coco pops is so evidently superior. This definitely wouldn’t be the first time I would have made that defence. Over the years, I’ve made a number of arguments in defence of the superiority of Kellogg’s. Some arguments were based on taste, others on crunchiness. But if we really had to examine the true reason Kellogg’s is somehow chief in my mind, the real answer can be put into two simple words, Brand Trust.
For as long as I can remember, Kellogg’s has been the go to cereal brand in my house and I’m certain in numerous other households. Even as a kid, when my father would attempt to experiment with a new brand of cereal it would always very nearly expire on our shelf. When my siblings and I did get around to reluctantly trying out this unwanted imposter, the verdict, no matter the taste or crunchiness of this new brand of cereal, would be Kellogg’s is better. Now because I formed this particular brand attachment at a very early age, I have very little insight into the incident or series of incident that led to this attachment. What I do know however is that almost 3 decades later, the only brand of cereal I’m willing to spend money on is still Kellogg’s. What’s more? Not only would I recommend Kellogg’s 10 out of 10 times to anyone looking to buy cereal, I will defend its place as the most superior brand of cereal in the world.
If you understand the psychology of branding then you know this has very little to do with Kellogg’s superior taste or products. I say this because it is unlikely that there is no other brand of cereal out there that taste as good as Kellogg’s. I am also very likely to confidently recommend a box of cereal from Kellogg’s that I’ve never even tried to someone else. What this is, is a case of Superior Branding and just like David D’Alessandro (Former CEO and Chairman of John Hancock) says, the best brand equals the best product.
Ensuring that the brand of cereal I consume is Kellogg’s is something I tie to my identity, so consuming any other brand, even when it’s a more expensive brand, feels like a lifestyle downgrade or to put in colloquial terms is just ‘Raz’. This commitment to something as mundane as a brand of cereal makes it very clear that consumers are capable of forming attachments to any kind of product; IF the branding is right!
I tell many of my clients that no matter the product you are marketing, there is a lifestyle element to every product and if there is a lifestyle element, there is definitely an Identity element. Human beings make lifestyle decisions based on how they perceive themselves and want to be perceived. The difference however, lies in the type of lifestyle you are marketing, hence the kind of Consumer you are addressing. Some brands sell exclusivity, others familiarity and others functionality. Similarly some consumers value luxury and exclusivity, other simplicity and familiarity and others affordability and functionality.
Brands who often do very well, not only understand their value proposition but know how to communicate this in a way that speaks to the lifestyle choices and in the process, Identity, of their target audience. Good branding is essentially answering the question of what lifestyle am I selling and to whom? This is the key to building Brand Loyalty.