Brand loyalty…when it goes too far

We are all consumers of different type of products: coffee, wine, TV(s), tablets, smartphones, and the list goes on. And of course as we get older and independent, our taste for product types, brands, quality is getting established and in some cases, we choose to stick with a certain brand in a product category, often for long years.

brand-loyalty
Image courtesy: cultideas.com

We just love how that brand proves itself with design and material quality, sensible functions, comfort. Or, it just has a cool logo, looks like your favorite fruit 🍎… Such we have with certain clothing and shoe brands, tablet and smartphone designers/manufacturers for example, and these are the biggest examples too I think these days, those you spot easier and most often. There is nothing wrong with it either, after all, it is about our well-earned cash we invest in those brands’ products, so, it’s certainly a great thing if it pays off in the long run with satisfying our expectations in their category, or, in some cases, even better, scoring above expectations. It happens. So, logically, you become loyal to the brand.

The trouble is when a far too extreme set of feelings grows with brand loyalty in combination with a far too weak, highly unstable personality. When loyalty gets extreme, in most cases with “just” trolling occasionally with lighter expressions as ‘iSheep’ ‘fandroid’ or ‘MS-shill’ (a few classic old ones) and that is where it ends too, OR, gets highly aggressive to “protect” his/her brand (or justify his purchase decisions, yearly and very expensive ‘upgrades’ for another megapixel extra).

Former troll you just laugh about, ignore, often maybe not even blocking as it never really crosses a certain line. Hell, even amuses at times. Latter, however, is seriously abusing. Getting all the way personal, self outside the scope of brand discussions (or brand WARS, let’s state the obvious), prepared to cross every imaginable line in a conversation, throwing the most indecent, outright filthiest comments if he finds necessary, just for one purpose seemingly: protect what he thinks and feels about as his own, THE brand! That’s the troll indeed a normal person just can’t understand nor accept, and wants to get rid of. But why does such a thing exist, happen, and it happens (online) far too often?!

I think of some viable choices when it comes to exploring possible reasons, and for clarification and disclaimer: just my opinion, I am by no means an expert in psychology or anything related, just what I think could be logically served as the reason:

  • Unconsciously, trying to justify (repeated) purchase. Insecure about the value of the item somewhere deep down and if he/she should have done the “upgrade” in the current financial situation, but blinded (and maybe scared by possible outcome of an analysis) to see, THE logo shines all too bright!
  • No (or not much of) satisfying social experiences for a while. The old and basic urge to belong to a person, big group, camp, getting there his points and appreciation from his “mates”, cult members, goes even so far to call family members. Must protect this experience at all cost, and showing his brand loyalty to the new found “family” of the cult, no matter what. After all, what else is left there in life…
  • Superiority complex. Oh hell yeah, among tech fans particularly this one must be well-known! Whatever development happens, one brand MUST  be and is the real shizzle and saint, compared to anything else (especially compared to its main rivals), because I can only have the No.1., the COOL and most advanced, shiniest, biggest, and as the first on the planet! That basically explains those little online Hitlers/Napoleons of brands or products (Apple<–>Samsung, iOS<–>Android, Adidas<–>Nike, for three examples).

What is common, none of the times when they are asked could they serve with well formed, structured, in-depth technical (if needs) reasoning to answer the whys, why could be or should be there only One (which we know, would be terrible, monopoly isn’t very good for development, innovation). Just feelings, curses, abuses what one can expect instead of conversation of reason and coherence.

But I am no expert at all, and I respect those with more knowledge, better insights in the (fascinating) topic like the ones below:

Pew Research Center’s analysis, findings

Study on ScienceDirect (complete with PDF file)

Or a complete looking summary of types of trolls, and some advices on how to handle each, from BuzzFeed

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