Brand Loyalty: Is it Worth the Price You Pay?

brand loyalty

Is Brand Loyalty Worth it?

We’ve all heard the saying about getting what you pay for, but is it always worth paying more? Is brand loyalty worth the price you pay? My mother always seemed to think so. I’ve found in many cases this simply isn’t true. Sometimes it pays to be brand loyal, but does it always? In today’s post that is just what I want to explore.

First, what is brand loyalty?

Brand loyalty is the positive association consumers attach to a particular product or brand.

Investopedia

So simply put, brand loyalty boils down to how good we think a product or brand is. This isn’t necessarily due to a supreme difference in quality or durability, it’s just our perception of the product! A lot of this boils down to advertising efforts put in and branding – if you need to blow your nose do you reach for a facial tissue or a kleenex? I haven’t bought a name brand facial tissue in a while, but I still call it the same thing.

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Times I’ve Found Brand Quality Wasn’t Worth it

Toilet paper

I thought toilet paper had to be quilted and had to have a northern in the name in order to do the job. I have worked for an institutional supplier that used the product it sold to institutional customers in the employee restrooms and this was always my “proof” that generic toilet paper was scratchy, too thin, and took more to use.

Why buy something if it takes more to get the job done? It’s not saving money, is it? Well, if it’s cheap enough, yes. And some people will buy anything if it’s cheap enough. But frugal isn’t cheap, remember. There is also a big difference between generic and institutional. I now buy the generic septic safe toilet paper from Aldi and it is fine. It also comes in easier to store package sizes and has no complicated math on the packaging.

credit: unknown

Mayonnaise

I was raised on the original mayonnaise and believed all other mayonnaises inferior. Turns out I was wrong; as long as it says real mayonnaise on the label 9 times out of 10 I find it just fine to put on my sandwiches. To be honest I have only been disappointed once; there was a cheaper than the normal cheap brand at Walmart once, and I bought it. That was a mistake.

Small Appliances

I have had very few primo brand small appliances in my adult life and they have almost all held up as well as the more expensive version with regular use. I once had a Keurig that gave me more fits than our current Farberware single-serve coffee maker. This one is even tall enough to put the travel mug under!

The Few Exceptions in Which I am Brand Loyal

Oils

This shouldn’t be surprising if you’ve read any of my posts on being a frugal oiler, but I once saw a quote that said something to the effect that life-changing oils aren’t cheap but cheap oils are rarely life-changing. This is a category I firmly believe you get what you pay for; quite a few of the oils labeled “pure” list fragrance on the ingredient. Always read the label people. On everything, not just oils. You’d be surprised what you might find.

I Definitely Have Brand Loyalty When it Comes to Ranch Dressing

Yes, I am more than serious here. I live in the South, and while midwesterners may be the stereotypical ranch lovers, I consider myself to be quite picky with this item. I have had philosophical discussions with dear friends about how wrong they are when they consider XYZ brand to be ranch. It’s not ranch; it’s an imposter.

I have seriously considered taking the suggestion of a friend and buying the dressing mix in bulk on Amazon. It seems like a small price to pay to never run out of my beloved Hidden Valley. I grew up not eating salad, but using HVR like most people use steak or barbecue sauce. Now I eat salad too, but I still love it as a dipping sauce for just about all meats! Don’t get me started on low fat or other new, weird varieties. Sorry, not sorry.

brand loyalty

I Have a Somewhat New Brand Loyalty With Shoes

I have bought cheaper tennis shoes just as casual footwear and they wore out quickly. In my early workout days, I bought cheaper shoes to wear to the gym and my feet hurt. I have come to realize that a good pair of New Balance trainers in the $40-$60 range will keep my feet happier longer than most other shoes.

Shoes are expensive and I have come to hate shoe shopping. Next time I need a new pair of gym shoes I will head straight for the New Balance section. For everyday casual footwear, I am loving these Keen Hush Knit hikers my husband bought me for my birthday. My younger self would be shocked, but I would now rather have fewer pairs of quality shoes I love to wear than a lot of lower quality shoes I like but have to replace often. I feel so adult and minimalist just typing that!

For Me, Brand Loyalty is a Mixed Bag

I’m willing to pay for something if I know I’ll get my money’s worth (provided it is in the budget, of course) but past a few categories, I don’t consider myself to be a very brand loyal person. I’d rather be a frugal person who makes more thoughtful purchase choices based on more than just advertising and brand names.

In the past, my cheap self hated the idea of brand loyalty (except where my ranch dressing and toilet paper were concerned) and enthusiastically embraced more generic options to save money. Logos? I hated them; the idea that someone would pay money to advertise for a company (shouldn’t that work the other way around?) was beyond me. Today, I have one hat and one shirt embellished with a brand’s logo. These were thoughtful purchases made with my husband’s employee discount. I can live with that. Just don’t count on ever seeing me in anything that says I’m juicy!

What about you? Are there any brands you consider yourself a loyal patron of? Do you buy generic everything without exception? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the psychology of branding and brand loyalty.

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