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So… what’s this ‘Brand Loyalty’ all about then?

by Gary Cochrane

Brand loyalty, probably a term often bandied about a little too often these days and I guess it means something different to each individual or business.

For me, it means staying loyal to a particular brand because they’ve gone that extra mile for you.

Those that know me, will never try to contact me on a Sunday during a Grand Prix no matter what time of the day.

The reason?

I’m a huge Mclaren F1 fanatic, obsessive, freak, call it what you want and nothing comes between me and my McLaren fix. The landline is unplugged but the mobile is on, albeit to converse with other self-confessed petrolheads, scrutinising each tyre change and overtake as it happens, much to the ridicule of my wife and Xbox-loving son.

McLaren have had better seasons. Possibly better decades come to think of it, but don’t get me started on that. I’ll suffer in silence.

Why my loyalty to McLaren when there are more successful teams with much cheaper merchandise to go with it? Well, i guess it’s just that little bit of brand loyalty coming to the front again.

Checking with Google for the right definition of Brand Loyalty, comes up with this little gem:-

“True brand loyalty occurs when consumers are willing to pay higher prices for a certain brand, go out of their way for the brand, or think highly of it”

…..and I guess that’s right in my case!

My favourite team’s merchandise isn’t cheap. To wear the same cap, jacket or have the logo on a simple keyring as the drivers will cost me….a lot! So why do it and why follow a racing team with a passion that’s best reserved for the local football team?

A few years ago, I entered a simple competition set by the official McLaren account on Twitter. I say a competition, it was more of a retweet, but I like to say I won it anyway. The prize was a book. That’s all I knew.

A few days later, a very large box came and I put it to one side, as it was approaching Christmas and we has all sorts arriving from online shopping sites etc.

Two days later, checking my emails, I was surprised to receive one from the McLaren marketing team and it read as follows:

“Dear Gary

Due to administrative issues you may have received a copy of McLaren – The Cars book rather than the stated prize, McLaren – The Wins. We apologise for this confusion and have now sent out the correct book, McLaren – The Wins. There’s no need to return the other book to us.

Merry Christmas!

From all of the team at McLaren“

That morning, another box arrived and opening both boxes together, found inside each one, was a big, thick, glossy book full info about cars, pics of drivers and everything a fan could wish for and although i had a decent prize in my hand, all i thought about was that email and what it said….“There’s no need to return the other book to us….Merry Christmas!”

They went that “extra mile”. They didn’t have to, but they did and you know what? because of that one line in an email, i’ll continue to be a proud member of Team McLaren, buy their merchandise, enter their competitions and support them through the lean times. They’ve got me.

Now i’m not saying that every brand or company should be giving out freebies all the time or anything like that, but, i believe that those that go out of their way to do that little bit extra for their customers, will leave a lasting impression on them and maybe, just maybe, when times are hard, that customer will place that order, renew that campaign or simply follow your company because they like you.

Can that be a bad thing?