Thinking about my Subaru rant from yesterday, the idea of brand loyalty is fresh in my mind. Companies treasure and cultivate this idea of brand loyalty, always wanting to keep you coming back for more. While we do develop these attachments, particularly when our experiences are positively reinforced (i.e., our Subarus have never broken down, while every Ford we have ever owned or driven has) is it really love for product/brand? We use comparatives and get used to something and somehow this habit forms a type of loyalty, sometimes even a vocal one. This comes down, I suppose, to the power of the word-of-mouth recommendation (or complaint). I have recommended Subaru vehicles to others based on my positive (mechanical) experiences, but I have been even more vocal about my disapproval of their customer service.
But is this brand loyalty a real form of being happy with and supporting a quality product or is it really about being stuck in a rut and being afraid to try something different? We have all, for example, gone to a restaurant and ordered the same dish every time we go back. Often it is not because we love that dish so much but because it is a known quantity. It's acceptable. We're used to it. And what if we take a risk and order something new and realize it is awful? The comfort of familiarity can be so compelling and so strong, and I suppose this is what branding gurus count on in tying us forever to the same things (as well as the pull of nostalgia and the misguided urge to recapture things from the past).
In so many ways, I want to branch out and try and do different things. Let go of habits and brands. Even the things I said I would never do. It will start with getting rid of the Subaru and never getting another one.