Today I step away from the Table for Two series to post something to my Fearless blog section. (The opinions put forth in this post, are mine. Yes, I am on a soap box.)
I am not a marketing major. I do know enough to figure out brand loyalty is more of an emotional connection that often defies logic. I consider myself a logical thinker. I received a perfect score on the logic portion of the GRE. Yet, at times, I defy logic and am fearlessly loyal to a brand. Here are a few examples.
I have had car and home insurance with the same company since I started purchasing insurance in the 1970’s. Could I find a cheaper rate with another company? Maybe. I may never know. I choose to stay with them. I am brand loyal. It defies logic.
I applied for my first credit card in 1980, the American Express Green Card. I selected that card to impose the discipline of paying my bill at the end of the month. It worked. To this day, I have never had a balance on a revolving account.
For thirty-six years, I paid the annual fee to keep the Amex card. For twenty years, I paid an additional fee for the rewards program. During the 1990s, my heavy travel decade, it paid off. Accumulated points from domestic and international airfares and hotel stays turned into plane tickets for myself and others, a big screen television, pots and pans and who knows what all.
I didn’t use my Amex card for years but kept it anyway. This year I called to cancel the card. It felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend. We had been together for thirty-six years. I never left home without it. It defies logic.
Lucky for me, Amex has a new product, the Blue Cash Card. There is no fee and it pays back a small percentage on all purchases. Yes, I now have a blue Amex card. I am brand loyal.
As a side note, I worked on a consulting project with American Express about fifteen years ago. My story is not unusual. Amex card holders are extremely loyal to the brand.
I have had a variety of Visa cards over the years, just in case Amex is not accepted. Sometimes they are affiliated with a bank or a store or an organization. Those cards have come and gone. No tears have been shed.
Do you still use the same brand your mother bought? Do you buy the one on sale or the one you have a coupon for? Maybe your dentist recommended a brand for sensitive teeth. Do you use a gel or a paste? Maybe you don’t care.
I like to know what my toothpaste is going to taste like in the morning. I prefer a paste to a gel. I used the same brand my mother bought until a few years ago when I switched to the brand for sensitive teeth. Does it matter? Could I save a little by being flexible? Maybe. But I am brand loyal. It defies logic.
If you are easily offended, you might want to close this post now. I’m venturing into an area we are taught to avoid in conversation.
Let me say from the get-go, religion defies logic.
Raised Catholic, I claim no religion at this point. I’m not against religion. It seems to work for a lot of people. I believe in religious freedom. Go forth and worship as you choose. While you’re at it, allow others to do the same, or choose not to.
People will change church affiliations within a brand, but tend to be brand loyal to one of the twelve classical world religions: Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism.
Religion and Violence
Of the twelve religions listed above, which one is based on using violence as the means to an end? None! Yet, religion has been used for centuries to justify wars, crimes to humanity, the accumulation of land and wealth, genocide and other atrocious crimes. Through it all, people accept the good the bad and the ugly. They remain brand loyal to their religion. That defies logic.
I would argue that the underlying causes of war and war crimes are fear, power and control. Religion is the scapegoat.
Religious Freedom – A Civics Lesson
Religious freedom is an essential right, but it shouldn’t be a license to discriminate. In the United States, religious civil liberties are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Just as the First Amendment secures the free exercise of religion, section one of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees religious civil rights. It prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of religion, by securing “the equal protection of the laws” for every person:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction there of, are citizens of the United States and of the State where in they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Church and State
Freedom of religion is also closely associated with separation of church and state, a concept advocated by Colonial founders such as Roger Williams, William Penn and later founding fathers such as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
Laws that restrict individual freedom on issues of morality, often cloaked in Religious beliefs, cross the line. People will disagree on the morality of capital punishment, same-sex marriages, planned parenthood, gender identity, abortion, assisted death, and many more issues.
However, claiming religion as a justification does not give anyone special rights to abstain from the morals of equality.
Stand for equality and non-discrimination. You can uphold your religious beliefs and stay loyal to your brand. Allow others the freedom to do the same.
It’s only logical.