When it comes to loyalty, I believe in the Western water doctrine of prior appropriation, meaning first in time is the first in right (However, as a basis for determining water rights, I think prior appropriation is generally a terrible idea). This generally means that I will fail to ever be a serious coupon user. I have too much brand loyalty. I am an advertiser’s dream, in that, if you can convince me to use your product just once, then I probably will stick around and never ever change unless something truly damages your reputation with me (like you become GM or something similar). However, I am an advertiser’s nightmare, because it usually isn’t advertising that persuades me to try something. Rather, my consumeristic loyalties are sometimes solely dependent on my hierarchy of human loyalties. And that can be much harder to break into if you are merely a clever advertising campaign (even if you are Travelers Insurance and you create my favorite commercial of all time).
These loyalties determine much about how I live my life. For example, the fact that I fought with Melissa over who was worthy of the UNC cheerleader uniform for Christmas when I was seven, meant that by the time that I got around to going to BYU, there was little chance that I was ever going to care about BYU basketball. In terms of an example involving consumer goods, look no further than my fierce brand loyalty to Georgia Pacific paper products, because that is the company that my Dad currently works for. I do not allow non-Georgia Pacific paper products to come into my house. We can’t by the paper goods that are in bulk at Costco unless they are Georgia Pacific made, I don’t care how much cheaper another brand may be. Loyalty to my dad’s company trumps my dislike of Walmart, because I recently made David purchase his office printer paper from there, realizing it was the only local place that sold Georgia Pacific paper. Sometimes, I even like businesses more or less depending on if they use Georgia Pacific products in the bathroom. I like the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, Disney World, and the University of North Carolina even more because they all use Georgia Pacific bathroom tissue and paper towels. (Note: The only thing that can trump a Georgia Pacific paper towel dispenser in the bathroom is a Dyson Airblade hand dryer. Technology and design trump in this instance, but those things are expensive and unless you are the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Portland Convention Center, or the Southcenter Cinemas in Seattle, then you probably don’t have one)
So what do you do when someone sends you a gift box for Christmas with nothing but Kimberly Clark paper products? I may be the one person in the world that takes paper products as a personal insult.
I realize that what this blog post also reveals about me is that for many products, people will now assume that I or someone who I know has a personal interest in whatever product I may be advocating. That may or may not be the case, but look, I am a librarian. That means that I will always do enough research to support my position about the superiority of a particular product if we are having a conversation about something. Also, you can be pretty well assured that I don’t know anyone well enough who I think has any ties to any subpar company or product. If I did, then I probably would have enough integrity not to like that product. And chances are, I probably already have loyalty to some other product in that same category (first in time, you know). For the record, I have no personal interest in the Target Market Pantry Red Velvet Holiday Milk that I put on my blog last week. That milk really is that delicious based solely on its own merit.