Does brand loyalty still exist?

“My granddad drove Fords, my dad drove Fords, and I drive Fords.”

You probably heard this several times before, although the brand preference differs from one person to another. In the good old days, it seems a helluva lot more people were loyal to a certain brand of vehicle, especially domestic nameplates.

Today, now that the ex-Big Three have sunk under the 50% market share threshold, we’re driving vehicles from a wider range of manufacturers. And losing brand loyalty isn’t good, at least for those who used to rely on it.

Why? Because brand loyalty is free marketing; if your customer is satisfied with your vehicle, chances are their kids will grow up getting an earful with endless reasons why that car, from that manufacturer, is so good. And they’ll buy one because it’s the best; Mom and Dad said it.

But there are a lot of factors that explain why brand loyalty is fading away. First, parents and kids don’t talk as much together as they used to (blame TV, iPod and Nintendo DS). Second, our society has grown used to disposable belongings and like to frequent change (cell phones, fashion, trends, etc). Finally, today’s vehicles fail to distinguish themselves dramatically in their respective segment; they all look similar and drive similarly, with a few exceptions.

Today’s advertising campaigns focus on the present moment:
“Hurry up, now’s your chance to get a good deal.”
“It’s never been a better time to buy one.”
“We’re better than the competition.”

What ever happened to:
“You’re going to keep our vehicle for a very long time.”

What gets your attention the most? A screaming deal or a long-lasting vehicle? Knowing how much it costs to purchase and service a car or truck, I know which one I’d prefer to hear. Later on, your kids won’t remember how much you paid for the car they’re currently riding in, but they’ll notice that it’s always the same logo on the front grille.

By Michel Deslauriers,

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