Idle Thoughts

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Cheating on the Brand: Brand Loyalty and Facebook October 16, 2011

After posts in my Exodus series an others about news events, I’m breaking from what I normally write (and, let’s face it, read) and taking a look at advertising. Specifically, advertising on Facebook.

 

It seems that almost every company or business has a fan page on Facebook. Commercials on TV inform us that if we want more information on their brand of soap/crackers/detergent/soup/furniture/tomato sauce/kitchen appliances/etc., we should visit the brand’s Facebook page. Beside more information about each product or brand (what kind of information about tomato sauce do people need aside from the expiration date?), the page promises tips on how to use the products, and, in the case of food, recipes. More importantly, though, most of these pages include coupons or online deals through the official websites that are only available to Facebook fans in the hopes that, now that we’re fans, we’ll be loyal to that brand of cooking oil and that brand alone, thereby ensuring a continuing base of consumers for the product.

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Except it doesn’t. Not really.

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I have a friend on Facebook who is a fan of more than 300 pages, most of which are brands and companies offering these coupon- or deal-delivering promises to fans. At least that’s why I assume she “likes” them. I can’t fathom anyone liking Wishbone salad dressing or Fresh Express (bagged) Salads or Hefty brand trash bags so much they would announce it to the world for any other reason. I have other friends who are fans of competing companies at the same time (Coke and Pepsi, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, etc.). Why do they do this? It’s not loyalty — it’s coupons.

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This, of course, is more of a problem for businesses than consumers. These people are savvy shoppers before they’re disloyal customers.

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First, the question must be asked — Do the businesses really care all that much? Surely they have consultants who inform them this is happening. So what, if anything, are they doing about it? Just succumb to the fact that everybody’s in this game and do what they can to get someone to buy their products, one discount at a time?

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So . . . are you loyal to any brands or do you stick to whatever’s on sale? To what and why? What would it take to keep you loyal to one brand or product?

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