Friday 29 August 2014

Love the Product, But Hate the Brand: It's a Conundrum #WorthTheRead #BrandRelationships

Love the Product, but Hate the Brand

I love reading interesting and informative posts and articles about business, social media, marketing and blogging. My Worth the Read posts are my way of sharing my take on a given topic, with a few related links I think are worth taking the time to read, and ponder. 

This week's topic: Products vs Brands. 

Brands and products are not the same thing, making it quite possible to love one and not the other. Most of us have been there at least once in our lives, where we love a product, but can't stand dealing with the brand, or more importantly how they deal with us. Instead of sharing other people's posts, this week I'm sharing my thoughts on this conundrum. Since my past experiences with, and how I feel about a brand largely influences the products I choose buy, it really is a conundrum for me.

Brands are like people, in that, we look for the same qualities in brands as we do in people; integrity, honesty, loyalty.

We are drawn to individuals (and brands) who possess those qualities and are genuine, caring and give back to the communities they're in. We view brands as people, because ultimately it's the people behind the brands that set the tone, culture, priorities and messaging for those brands.

I have a theory that at least 50% of all buyer's remorse cases are misdiagnosed, and are in actuality cases of love the product, hate the brand. 

No matter how much I love a product, I almost always regret a purchase where the buying experience or the brand interaction has been indifferent or negative. I can never have a truly positive user experience with that product because I feel resentment each time I use it, and am reminded of that negative brand experience. And there in lies the conundrum. So my question to you is what do you do when you love the product but hate the brand's tone, engagement, service (or lack there of), environmental or human rights policies, or whatever is important to your purchasing experience? Do you even care? Is price the only deciding factor for you?

Even if price is a factor, and lets face it price is always a factor for most of us, is it the only factor or deciding factor? 

Personally price is only part of the equation, and if I can purchase a similar or comparable product at a comparable price from a brand I like, I do. There are a short list of brands I simply refuse to purchase, no matter the price, and would rather pay more than deal with them. My "no-buy, no way, no how" list is very short, but some have been on that list for 15 years and after all this time I still feel the same way. Note to Brands: Even if you're not on the "no-buy" list your indifference begets my indifference and impacts your bottom line. Just as I'm willing to drive further and pay more to avoid the brands I don't like, I am equally willing to do so to buy from the brands I do like. 

If I feel good about my experience I regularly take the time to share that on social media or in person with friends and family. Rarely do I share negative experiences or about brands I don't like on social media, but I also make a point not to engage with them or share their content. And while I may not share on social media I do share both good and bad experiences with friends and family. You know how it goes: I tell two friends, and they tell two friends and so on...

Not liking a brand is almost never about a single bad experience, but instead a feeling that develops over time. 

I'm not necessarily angry with a brand, I just don't like them, and they don't know that "average joe me" feels that way because they don't care. In my experience there are two main reasons for not liking a brand: bad service, or attitude (either, online, phone or on social media). If a brand has the winning combination of both then they're probably on the "no buy, no way, no how" list, and deservedly so. 

  • Bad Service: On Occasion everyone makes mistakes, and every brand can be caught short staffed, with system issues, or stocking issues. If these issues are more than on occasion, it's a pattern of behaviour and indifference. If you don't value my time, money and right to a good customer experience you don't deserve my loyalty or business. Think about each customer interaction as if you're required to pay each an hourly wage from your own pocket for wasting their time and that should put an end to that. If your service is bad fix it or save everyone time and frustration and put an "I Don't Want Your Business" sign in the window.

    • Marketing & Sales 101: I should never feel like I'm in the scene from Pretty Women where I'm not good enough or important enough for your attention or to be acknowledged. Brands shouldn't be snobs! My money and loyalty should be at least as important as the expert or influencer being paid to engage. Based on online engagement and in-store interaction some (not all) of the people working for certain brands are snobs. They believe and convey the message; it is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to spend my hard earned money on their brand. But they are wrong. Just because I don't say it doesn't mean I don't notice and think Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now ... and buy your competitors products.

    I can't be the only one who has felt this way, and as a result doesn't buy from a brand.

    There must be me x 1000's, which adds up to substantial loss of potential free advertising, profit and sales. You know nothing about me, and never took the time to find out. It's a privilege for a brand to have even a minute of my precious time and money. Just as it's a privilege for me to have even one minute of my readers precious time. In the end brands are responsible for who they hire and the messages they sent. Sometimes what looks good on paper does not translate into real life experience. You may not be able to put into words what it is about a person or a brand that you like, but you know it when you see it. Loyalty, integrity, and honesty are always in style, and there are plenty of brands out there with these qualities that I can deal with. 

    What is important in a brand for you, and what is a deal breaker?

    Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about what I think is worth the read. 

    Note: I have not been compensated in anyway for this post. All opinions are my own, and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers posts and articles I find interesting.


    1. I have yet another side to this love the product hate the brand dilemma. My husband owns his own business and often does jobs for other businesses in town. I can't tell you how many of those businesses will never again get a nickel from me because of the way they treat people (like my husband) that they have contracted to do work. Of course there are also establishments I make a point of frequenting because they were fair, honest and respectful.

      1. In the end we all want to be treated with the respect we deserve. Good honest work is to be respected regardless of the job being done, and fairness honesty and respect never go our of style and always get my business! Thanks for adding your perspective Shayna, it is an important one.

    2. There are many reasons that I don't support a Brand and some of them aren't a conscious effort or lack there of on their part. For example, I will support a Canadian product/brand over a foreign one even if it is more expensive (to a degree). One that uses less packing or more reusable/recyclable products.

      However, if the Brand does not conduct themselves in a professional manner then I don't care if they are the only ones to sell the product in Canada, I will go without. Sometimes, it's how a company handles a mistake and not the mistake that they made that makes or breaks them for me.

      Great post. Thanks for making me think.

      Besos, Sarah
      Blogger at Journeys of The Zo

      1. I totally agree with what you said about local and packaging. I think disregard for our environment speaks volumes (at least to me) and indeed would rather do without in some cases rather deal with brands that don't value me my time and money. And totally agree that the way a brand deals with a mistake or issue speaks volumes as well and why in general one bad experience isn't what makes me dislike a brand, but is rather an opportunity for to build a better relationship. WOW Sarah so in a nut shell I agree with everything you said! LOL

    3. For most things, I actually stray away from Brand Name products. I have a sneaking suspicion that there isn't much difference between brand name and no name quality of many household items, like batteries, vitamins, health and beauty products, etc.

    4. I enjoyed this post very much. I am careful about brand loyalty. There is the obvious reason of being frugal, but there is always something to learn about a brand before attaching yourself to it.

      I don't know that I have ever loved a product and hated the brand at once though... that would be quite the conflict. :\

      I try to go for local and more environmentally conscious brands/products. It isn't always easy, but it is always important.

    5. Great post & trust me my friend; you are not alone! There are many brands that I will not purchase for specific reasons and there are many that don't associate back. Despite being a blogger.

      Like you said though, many are snobs and those usually turn out to be the interns that are only there for the credit, sadly! Many are absolutely awesome and make you feel comfortable with the account more so than the brand but you get what I'm saying.

      Keep your head up & keep in their face :)