On the weekends, I get a pile of mailer ads in my box. Sometimes, it’s fun to see what brands are on sale and sometimes it’s a waste of time.

A fun little game my fiancée likes to play with me is testing my loyalty to brands. For example, one of her favorite questions is whether I would work for Monsanto (the evil GMO / pesticide food company) for $1M … or $1.1 M … and so forth until I break or she gives up.

Similar to Julie, competitive companies try to break your brand loyalty all of the time. A coupon from a competing business is an example. This is the same for the creative world – photographers, cinematographers, floral designers, etc.

pinkberry yogurtland

Let me break it down using burgers since I hope everyone could relate to grilled beef or veggie patties.

The 4 Degrees of Brand Loyalty

1. Brand Recognition

Imagine pulling over at a truck stop late at night. There are only two restaurants open – McDonald’s and ABC’s Kitchen. Where will you eat?

Brand recognition is the lowest level of brand loyalty. You see it all of the time, so you recognize it.

You will use this brand under the following conditions.

  1. Your preferred brand is unavailable
  2. Alternatives are unfamiliar

Recognition comes from high awareness. High awareness usually requires high advertising dollars. Another method for creatives is to be everywhere on search engines and social media.

mc donalds

Helpful Link: 3 Ways to Remove Ulterior Motives

2. Brand Preference

You’re hungry … now. You could drive the extra 5 minutes to Five Guys, but your stomach discourages, so you take a substitute.

Brand preference is when you prefer one brand, but …

  1. You will take substitute when more convenient
  2. You are not willing to spend extra effort or money to get preferred brand

Have you lost clients because it was inconvenient to see you or to pay the little extra for better services?

five guys

Helpful Link: How to Handle Discounters

3. Brand Insistence

Have you or your kids ever insisted on something? “I don’t care about X. I want Y!”

This is the least common type of brand loyalty because it requires utter devotion.

  1. You insist on having this brand
  2. You would rather not have something than to get a substitute

This is one of the highest levels of loyalty or disloyalty. Becker exemplified love and distaste for brands all in one comment.

disloyalty to crocs

Helpful Link: The Secret to Selling Like Don Draper

4. Brand Evangelism

The highest level of loyalty comes when you love a brand so much that you will become their talking cheerleader.

You, as an evangelist, will do the following.

  1. You will jump through hoops of fire to convince your peers that your favored brand is the best
  2. You will happily do Step 1 for free

in n out burgers

Helpful Link: Using the Power of Labels and Titles


Companies will always use ways to coax prospects to become clients – discounts, membership, perks, etc. In fact, you will utilize these tools as well.

1. It starts with high recognition. You could achieve this with ubiquitous presence on search engines and social media.

2. Then you build value with barriers to entry.

Luxury is about being easily accessible, but not easily attainable.

3. Next, you under promise and over deliver. Turn those existing clients into repeated customers.

4. When these repeated customers are overly happy, they will eventually become evangelists. And they will sing your praises.

Your veggie burger loving marketer,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. What is one brand that you insist on having (#3) over any substitute in the world? Comment below!

P.P.S. If you need something to read with your latte, Cory has some suggestions – FOUND (SEO) and Psychology behind Pricing.

seo testi - cory

P.P.P.S. Check out my last week’s adventure at New York’s 2013 Bridal Fashion Week!

nyc bridal market