I was doing my groceries the other day. As I was heading purposefully towards the cooking oil section, I was disappointed to find that the brand of the cooking oil I wanted was not available. As I ponder my options in front of thirty different brands, I was about to give up and walk away without my cooking oil today. Another day, perhaps. Or maybe they have it in another supermarket across the street?

Then it struck me that I have a particular favourite brand, not because I love the taste of it – vegetable cooking oil (it’s okay, but to me, oil is oil unless it’s olive oil or canola oil), but because I identify that brand with my mum’s cooking when I was young. My mum stopped cooking when I was seven years old because she went back to the workforce and held two jobs. So my early memories of cooking connected with that particular brand of cooking oil.

I started to evaluate all my choices. My mum uses the rice, milk, sugar, and most things in my basket. I did deviate from my regular choices when I was working in Shanghai, mainly because it wasn’t readily available in the country. When it was, it will be exorbitantly expensive because it is a foreign brand. However, when I relocated to Malaysia, where the Asian branded goods are much more readily accessible, I switched back to the same old brand.

That is very good, long term brand marketing. It breeds familiarity by associating the brand with my happy childhood. My mum in the kitchen, preparing meals for me. Subconsciously I become a loyal customer when it is my turn to take over the kitchen. The cooking oil brand is not the only one. Out of the kitchen, I see our television is the same brand that my dad swore by it for years that Panasonic is the best brand for electronics. Even when technology and electronics evolved over the year, many brands come and go; my dad insisted Panasonic is the only brand you should get for television.

Fortunately, my family wasn’t into digital technology when I was growing up. Instead, I got to experience the merits of different OS and settled down nicely with my Mac. Probably forever.

Now I take a good long look at myself passing down the same brand loyalty to my child. Heck, I’m supposed to pass down good morals and values, not brand marketing.

Throw products at me, and instantly, I associate the brand that goes with the product. Let me give you a few examples:

Fried Chicken – KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken
Pizza – Pizza Hut
Bicycle – BMX
Furniture – IKEA
Chocolate – Cadbury
Chips – Pringles
Milk – Marigold
Cereal – Nestle
Sneakers – Nike

At four years old, my girl knows the difference between a Apple store and a competitor store. She will shriek with delight if she saw a Apple store and pulled me towards it as if it sells toys or candies. Her head won’t even turn if she were to walk by an Android store. Sorry, Samsung…

She loves the big red and yellow cheerfulness in McDonald’s over any other fast food (I think it just might be the lure of Happy Meals toy) or maybe because their restaurants are just everywhere.

As she grows up, I believe she will pick up some of my favourite brands and find out some on her own. Hopefully, she will still remember that good brand marketing is not about how expensive their products are but the quality of after services they provide.

What are the brands that you remain stubbornly loyal to? Come and share this tidbit with us in the comments below!

Interested in marketing and how it affect our lives? Check out these articles:
Learning from Others’ Mistakes: Humorous Branding Fails and Important Takeaways By: Carole Mancuso
Simplify and Strategize Your Reward Programs for Building Loyalty
Luxury Brand Does Not Equal To Customer Service

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LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/kallytay

16 replies on “The Lure of Good Brand Marketing

  1. I’m not loyal to any brand XD I have no ideas about which brand is better or worse. And in my home, well yeah, I have uncles and brothers who always say that ‘oh you should get that of X brand’ and like. But for me, I never really focused on brand so when i do have to get something, I tend to google their reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is rather amazing how we make these connections. Powerful marketing can create such brilliant waves. I remember connecting cricket bats to MRF – a tyre factory company which had nothing to do with them apart from being advertised by one of the top players in the world. However, I still had a mental association which wasn’t shaken off at ease 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This blog post reminds me of a radio program I heard recently about how large companies (such as McDonalds, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, etc) work VERY HARD and VERY CONSISTENTLY to create familiarity/loyalty in children and teenagers so that (potentially) life-long bonds with particular products/brands/companies — like the ones you describe — can develop. I did recently find myself consuming a product called “seasoning salt” which my family used a lot when I was a child (it was leftover in the kitchen when my stepfather recently died and my mom had to pack up and move…) I didn’t buy it for myself, but I did take the half-used container home with me to use somewhat nostalgically. I have fast food memories of McDonalds with my family as a child in Washington, DC (picnicking in Rock Creek Park) as well as of Burger King when we lived (and worked) in NYC. But I almost never eat at either place as an adult… Nowadays my main product loyalties are to Apple computer products and the food store Trader Joes (both of which developed as an adult). Thanks for this thought-provoking blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is funny how we do stick to brands. I discover new things when I get substitudes for my on line shopping artivles and then I think , that is really nice. Sometimes we ares just too stuck with old habits. Try new things, other brands and discover if you like or don’t like them. Great post for thinking about my next shopping. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The most important lesson here is the memories of childhood and how important they are. Remembering your mother’s cooking may be enhanced by smelling the same oil, but brand loyalty should not be the issue.

    MacDonalds is at the TOP of my list for brands I will NOT use. After almost single-handedly fattening America, they exported their obesity to Asia with their foods that are about as healthy as their wrappers. It was so sad to see kids in Hong Kong tethering their parents to take them to MacDonalds and ignoring the family activities and conversations that were part of dim sum… but dim sum doesn’t give away toys with tasty junk food that has minimal nutrition.

    Nike is also one that I find detestable, in that they were the first big corporation to “woke” up when they dumped a shoe design honoring Betsy Ross’ flag, the first flag of the U.S., because their athlete/spokesperson claimed she was a racist! Their overpriced shoes are easily matched in quality by other brands, particularly New Balance.

    Most brands I usually use are fairly local to Kentucky, Tennessee and the Ohio Valley as this involves less transportation costs and pollution. So sorry to be a ‘downer’ on this blog, but I guess you hit one of my buttons. I still deeply appreciate your posts, and the picture (I assume of your mother) is a beautiful to a wonderful woman.
    Blessings on you, Kally. c.a.
    p.s. If you come to Kentucky we may break down and take you and your family to MacDonalds! 😨 (😊)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is really interesting, Kally and something I reflect on, often. The psychology behind branding is forever interesting. I think you have identified the rub between those brands families ascribe to (and are habitual, or perhaps traditional) and the pressure or exposure that good brand marketing puts on us today.

    Well, like you, I am a very happy Mac user. With all the places I have worked in and visited over the years, being exposed to so many different systems, I find my Mac and other Apple products a godsend. The rest of my family prefer other brands though 😂

    In terms of my wife’s family, Linda’s grandmother was a cook in an English great house 110 years ago. There are certain recipes that are only revealed from that time once the women in her family become married. An example is our Christmas pudding. It is made using a recipe from way back when, but not only that, the brandy for instance, must be a certain brand. When pickling the onions it’s the same. Only a certain brand of brown vinegar can be used.

    In more recent years, there has been some amazing branding going on and it has worked its way into what we’re our “family choices.” We are not fans of McDonald’s or Maccas as we say over here, but we prefer HJs (Burger King everywhere else on the planet). We have gone away from KFC as it is inconsistent and a local chicken chain has found the “magic.” What’s interesting with fast food is download the app, place the order and you get real time updates, even where the driver is on the map. Yes, I think we have all experienced what happens when they spot the brand they want 😂

    In terms of shopping, we are lucky that it has moved away from the massive shopping and mall complexes to more of what is happening locally. So, we get to support very local business. Who would have thought that this would ever happen again? I guess what’s interesting is that big brands have now tapped into this approach too and so you find them popping up in the smaller places now.

    Have we passed on certain biases to our kids, yes we have. But, in the main they make their own choices based on the quality vs cost that they experience.

    Like

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