It all started with my morning coffee. I make Peet’s coffee at home because I love the taste. It has nothing to do with the packaging, and whether it’s noisy or not. It has nothing to do with the logo, and whether I like it or not.
It’s because it tastes good. Every morning.
As I sipped my coffee, I pondered my brand loyalty. As much as I love Peet’s, I put my loyalty to the test frequently. I occasionally buy a different brand of coffee. Maybe the store I’m in at the time doesn’t carry it. Maybe I’m trying something made locally. To be clear, I’m Not changing my buying habit because I think the name Peet’s is weird or goofy. As it turns out, I have yet to find anything I like more than Peet’s at home. So I keep returning to Peet’s, and they continue to earn my loyalty.
I watched with anticipation what Steve Jobs would do when everyone laughed Apple to death about the name of the iPad. Would Apple step back and rename it? No, they had a strategy. They know they have a solid product. Did people not buy it because of the name? Um, no. It is the fastest selling electronic device …ever. The name isn’t even a talking point anymore – because the product and the experience are so totally awesome, it has literally changed the way we see the word.
This morning, I read this about GAP’s new brand with dismay. Really? They’re pulling the new logo? because of social media backlash? Gap claims to have not had a clear understanding of the passion their loyal customers have for their brand. They moved forward with a strategy and story to evolve their brand identity and due to feedback, they are scrapping it. Steve Jobs was written up in New York Times for god’s sake, NEW YORK TIMES for the terrible name selection. Did they step down? No.
Personally, I like my brands with a bit of confidence. I don’t need you to ask my opinion every time you want to change something. Jon Hamm, in a recent interview on Fresh Air (NPR), told us what it was like to audition for the role of Don Draper. He had to exude confidence even though he wasn’t feeling it himself. We all have to manufacture confidence, because that sells. (Good advice for all us)
Of course, this confidence should be based on good customer knowledge. How are your customers making purchase decisions in your product segment? What matters to them most, truly? Find out if you don’t know. Create your product strategy and stick to it! Sure, packaging and logos matter in certain areas: For example, the bathroom soap on the counter should be in a cool package. But sometimes, just sometimes, I really do make my decision based on the (gasp) quality of the product, and not by what you said in your print ad, or what the logo on the shopping bag looks like.
Here’s what scares me with the new power the consumer has on social media channels: The people who care are speaking up. So it seems like a revolution. (Think Tea Party here. there I said it, I brought politics into it). Don’t forget about all the people out there who have so much more to do with their lives than complain about your logo on twitter. This is why I’m in LOVE with Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity but I digress:
The people you are not hearing from complaining about a noisy package, a stupid name, a stupid logo. They are far too busy spending money buying your products and services because it serves their needs well.[ssba]