对品牌的忠诚已死了?

作者: Steve Tobak

这种迹象和报纸杂志的头条已经无处不在了:

《华尔街日报》: 对品牌的忠诚已经成为昨日黄花了吗?
《福布斯》: 客户对品牌的忠诚已经绝迹了吗?
《纽约时报》: 对于汽车购买者而言, 品牌的浪漫已经成为过去。


但是, 果真如此吗? 品牌的忠诚到底是死亡了, 还是受了什么致命伤? 是消费者们变得太精明了? 太浮躁? 或是两者兼而有之? 我们还有没有机会在听到消费者把品牌名称当动词用? 比如“你今天可口可乐没有? ”或是“你能不能msn我? ”

如果客户对品牌的忠诚确实已经成为过去的事, 那么他们为什么改变心意? 我的意思是, 是什么原因导致他们和自己喜欢的品牌挥手告别? 或者这种情绪是随着时间的推移与日俱增的?

有人说是因为谷歌的出现——也就是电子商务和伟大的和事佬——扼杀了客户们对品牌的忠诚度。但是, 谷歌搜索本身不也是对搜索品牌的忠诚的明证? 我的意思, 难道谷歌真的是比雅虎搜索更出色的产品? 回答是: 我不这么认为。

《纽约时报》有文章称: 对汽车品牌忠诚度的丧失只是时间早晚的问题。如果我没看见丰田汽车对《丰田汽车是否能应对品牌危机》一文的回应时, 仍然有数量众多的人在支持丰田汽车, 我可能就会同意《纽约时报》的说法。丰田汽车的粉丝真是多的惊人。

干脆, 让我们忘了那些门外汉的说法和媒体炒作, 去冷静的分析一个问题。

“对品牌的忠诚度这一概念, 是假设一名现实中的消费者对某一家公司一贯抱有积极正面的经验, 和该公司有互动, 并且总是习惯购买该公司的产品, 而不是随心所欲的就能换到其他品牌去。

现在, 这种准则应该是仍旧适用的。它看上去肯定是合乎逻辑的。我的意思是, 如果你在一家店内购物愉快, 干吗还要浪费宝贵的时间四处转悠着去购物? 难道你不愿意在你喜欢的品牌区多花点时间?

因此, 对品牌忠诚度的本质似乎是完整的。在此之后, 事情开始土崩瓦解了。

在《福布斯》的一篇文章里, eBay和Best Buy的前首席营销官Mike Linton表示: “宝洁公司教给我一个经验, 那就是给那些早已在使用你品牌的客户推销产品, 比从你的对手那里挖来几个客户要容易多了。我至今仍旧相信这个理论”。

啊哈! 但宝洁的这个理论, 只有在客户对产品的评价是正面时才成立。如果是负面评价, 那么这条理论就是反过来了。事实上, 林顿接着说, “不过, 现在的消费者比以往任何时候都要苛刻, 想要他们保持对品牌的忠诚变得日益困难。”

但这是为什么? 因为我们正处于信息时代。这就是变化。千兆字节的新闻和评论经由我们的iPhone以迅雷不及掩耳的速度传送着。当我们可以如此轻易的比较各个产品之间的性能价格、顾客回馈和售后、优点和缺点时, 那么我们为什么要盲目的信任品牌呢?

如果有选择——今时今日选择真是多到不行——人们总是愿意查看信息, 而不是盲目信任, 愿意看数据, 而不是看广告, 更愿意相信志同道合者的口碑, 而不是看那些推销手段。

所以, 让我们来看看他这话什么意思。这是否意味着, 企业们应该考虑削减其营销和销售预算, 并把这笔钱用在产品开发、客户服务和质量保证上?

让我这么说吧。对品牌的忠诚并没有消失。这个概念仍然有效, 仍然是有意义的。但是, 对于产品和服务这些消费者真正在意的东西——这里我们谈的不是洗涤剂这种小东西——无条件的品牌忠诚, 一种不断履行的对品牌价值, 肯定已经是过去的事情。

那么, 你认为你的公司应该把重点放在哪儿? 是品牌拓展, 还是关注产品差异? 我认为并没有一定之规。你觉得呢?

译者: 未知
原文:

Is Brand Loyalty Dead?

The signs, not to mention the headlines, are everywhere:

Wall Street Journal: Is Brand Loyalty A Thing of the Past?

Forbes: Is Customer Loyalty Dead?

NY Times: For Car Buyers, the Brand Romance Is Gone

But is it true? Is brand loyalty dead or at least mortally wounded? Have consumers become too shrewd, too fickle, or both? Will we never hear brand names used as verbs again, as in “Did you Tivo the game?” or “Can you Xerox that for me?”

And if customer fidelity is indeed a thing of the past, why the change of heart? I mean, what caused the separation of consumers from their favorite brands, or did they just grow apart over time?

Some say Google search – aka e-commerce, the great equalizer – killed brand loyalty. But isn’t Google’s dominant market share in search evidence of brand loyalty? I mean, is it really a better product than Yahoo search? Not to me it isn’t. 

The NY Times says the days of brand loyalty for car companies are numbered. I would have agreed until I saw the number of people who stuck up for Toyota in response to Can Toyota Avoid Brand Disaster? It really surprised me.

How about instead of looking at populist opinion and media hype for answers, we approach this analytically. 

The concept of “brand loyalty” postulates, for example, that an existing customer with consistently positive experiences and interactions with a company and its products will be more likely to buy from the same brand than to switch to a different one.

Now, that statement should still hold true. It certainly seems logical. I mean, if you’re a happy camper, why waste valuable time shopping around? Wouldn’t you rather spend that time shopping for a product you’re on the fence about?

So the essence of brand loyalty seems to be intact. After that, things begin to fall apart.

In the Forbes article, Mike Linton, the former CMO of eBay and Best Buy said, “Procter & Gamble taught me that it’s easier to sell more to people who are already using your brand than it is to convert them from a competitor. I still believe that theory.”

Aha! But the P&G theory is only valid if the experience is positive. If it’s negative, then it works against the brand. In fact, Linton went on to say, “However, consumers are more demanding than ever and earning their loyalty gets more difficult every day.”

And why is that? Because we’re in the information age. That’s what’s changed. Gigabytes of news and reviews delivered right to our iPhones at lightning speed. Why blindly trust a brand when we can so easily compare product performance and prices, reviews and recalls, features and faults?

Given the choice, and there’s plenty of that these days, people will always choose information over blind trust, data over advertisements, reviews of like-minded consumers over sales pitches.

So, let’s talk about what that means. Does it mean that companies should think about trimming their marketing and sales budgets and putting that money to work in product development, customer service, or quality assurance?

Let me put it this way. Brand loyalty isn’t dead. The concept still holds, still makes sense. But for products and services anybody really cares about – we’re not talking detergent here – brand loyalty in the absence of differentiation, a value proposition that’s consistently delivered upon, is definitely a thing of the past. 

So where do you think your company’s focus should be? Brand marketing or real product differentiation? I think that’s a no brainer. What do you think?




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