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Deb Gabor of Sol Marketing in Austin, Texas, coined the phrase, “irrational loyalty,” for the title of her second book on branding and marketing.
Irrational loyalty, Gabor explains, is when a customer is so bonded to a brand, she would feel like she was cheating on the brand if she bought anything else.
“When someone says, I’m a Coke person, or a Chevy person, or for 15 years I only drove Audis, that’s irrational loyalty,” Gabor said. “You know there are other products that can serve your needs, maybe even better, but you like the brand so much you’ll buy it time after time.”
Gabor says her business is built around helping her clients identify the levers they need to pull to create the conditions for irrational loyalty. Listen to Gabor explain the concept in a recent blog post:
“A great example of a product that inspires irrational loyalty is the Apple iPhone. I’ve owned every model of an iPhone since the beginning of iPhones. I’ve had iPhones that heated up in my hand and burned the side of my head when I tried to talk on them. I have broken half a dozen iPhone screens, which I think are too delicate. And the iPhone costs about one thousand dollars! For a phone!
“I believe there are more durable, technologically superior and better-functioning products out there. But I don’t care. I won’t switch to a different brand because I’m irrationaly loyal to the iPhone. I once looked at a gorgeous Samsung phone with a big beautiful screen. I caressed it in my hands and lusted after it. But after about a minute of pure animalistic attraction to the sexy device, I ran out of the store because I felt like I was cheating on Apple. Sad, I know. But that is the definition of irrational loyalty.”
Given Gabor’s description of her illicit attraction to a Samsung smartphone, you won’t be surprised to learn the title of her first book: “Branding is Sex,” with the subtitle, “Get your customers laid and sell the hell out of anything.”
“That one flies off the shelves,” Gabor says of her first book.
She says the rather crass title came out of her frustration with trying to get through to clients in the tech industry, like Dell and Microsoft.
“I’ve worked with a lot of tech CEOs who were very analytical, came up through the tech ranks and went on to build gigantic companies,” Gabor said. “All this squishy, emotional stuff we talk about in branding sometimes doesn’t land very well with highly analytical people.”
One day, Gabor said, in a fit of frustration when trying to get the point across that the people who make tech purchases are not nameless, faceless androids, she asked, “How does this blade server or work station get that guy laid?”
“The client is like, ‘Oh, I get that,’” Gabor said. “It’s crass but it’s the one thing I said that opened up potential for companies. A blade server is not a Ferrari, but if it delivers unmatched performance and keeps that IT guy in a place where the CEO isn’t calling him to ask why the database is down, we’re making that guy feel like he has the world on a string.”
Gabor says when she works with clients on their brand identities, the first thing she and her team of about 10 employees does is try to understand who is the human being behind the purchase.
“This is work that doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” Gabor said. “When we work with clients, we call it discovery. It’s basically research, formal or informal, designed to tell us who is the purchase decision maker we have to influence with this brand? What’s important to them? What attributes of the brand will ensure you deliver to them a promise that gets them to buy?”
Gabor says she felt validated recently when University of Chicago professor Richard Thaler won the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics for his work on behavioral economics. As the Washington Post reported, the Nobel committee called Thaler a “pioneer on integrating economics and psychology,” adding that he had made economics “more human.”
“It’s all about humanity,” Gabor said. “People have to feel something to do something.”
May 26, 2019 at 02:27PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs