The Ultimate in Brand Loyalty, Bobby Stokes and a Pencil case?

LIverpool Pencil Case

Loyal for life!

Chatting to a friend of mine last week the conversation came around to football, the Champions League Final and the ultimate in brand loyalty – the undying support for “your” football team.

Supporting your football team through thick and thin must be the ultimate in brand loyalty and is one of life’s greatest mysteries – how does this happen, when does it start and why do supporters never waver from their team despite success and otherwise?

How do we end up with this incredible bond with a football team from another country? – it really makes little sense but it exists and it runs so deep that it affects us, our moods, our friends and even those who we may not like!!

As a die hard Liverpool fan I can honestly tell you my form is great when they win, lousy when they lose, I get anxious about new signings and I get suspicious of people who support their arch rivals!!

I’m not from Liverpool (but I do like going there – the people are great fun!), my parents aren’t from there, I will do my utmost to watch every match (on TV or computer), I feel betrayed by Mr Torres, I did meet the legendary old club chairman Peter Robinson once and I think You’ll Never Walk Alone is the greatest football song ever!

How is it that in a lifetime we might have many personal relationships but we never change football teams? – what is that about and where and how does it actually start?

My friend is an Everton fan – how did this start? Well, his mother who he admits knows nothing about football bought him an Everton pencil case – he tells me the following year she bought him his first ever football shirt, a Liverpool shirt (she does have taste, that woman..), which he refused to wear. The ultimate brand loyalty had set in, he was a die hard Everton fan.

Bobby Stokes celebrates FA Cup winning goal versus Manchester United

Well done Bobby Stokes !

My cousin who I hadn’t seen in a very long time proclaimed he was a Southampton fan – curious I asked him how this happened? He nearly killed me that I did not know – he reminded me that when we were kids (1976 to be precise) he was visiting our house on FA Cup Final day when Southampton (in the old 2nd division) were up against the mighty Manchester United.

I warned him not to support Man Utd if he knew what was good for him – Bobby Stokes scored a winner (do click the Bobby Stokes link – the goal is worth watching!) for the Saints in the 83rd minute to  seal an unexpected win and a new “brand loyal” fan was won for life! To this day despite few opportunities to celebrate memorable wins he has remained loyal to his team.

Getting deep about this topic with my Everton buddy we actually agreed that you could even use the word “love” to describe that bond with your team – whoah, that’s heavy?

How can your brand or business instil even a fraction of that kind of loyalty with your customers?

– buy them a pencil case?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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9 Responses to “The Ultimate in Brand Loyalty, Bobby Stokes and a Pencil case?”

  1. Steve McDonald Says:

    Greg, I’d have to agree with a lot of that.

    My footballing loyalties were not left to chance where I grew up.

    I’d had older brothers, aunties and uncles waxing lyrical about the greats of Glasgow Celtic and how the Celts played football the way it was supposed to be played. The evidence was laid before me in the shape of the first “British” European Cup winner and in the shape of the legenadry figure of Mr Jock Stein. A very persuasive and convincing testimony was being set out for me. As a child i’d been gifted the usual football strips and pennants, I’d even been lucky enough to own a Jimmy “Jinky” Johnstone keyring resplendent in the world famous Hoops, so the product placement was ticking the boxes………… but the deal was sold for all eternity the day I was taken on my first pilgrimage to Celtic Park, under floodlights to see the Celts and King Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain etc etc…….I still have the scarf bought for me that night and it travels with me anytime we play in Europe.

    So, returning to your point, the advertising, the PR and promotions will only work so long as the brand experience delivers!

    Steve

    • Greg Canty Says:

      I agree totally Steve and that’s easy to understand with the big successful teams but what about the Southampton fan, the West Brom, the West Ham fan and all those others who you come across the odd time!!

      Cheers & thanks for the great story ..

  2. Donncha Hughes Says:

    Greg

    Great post. I have been supporting Manchester United for many years. The FA Cup semi final in 1985 when Gordon Strachan scored was my earliest memory – the match was on RTE midweek and we were allowed stay up late to watch the end. United won the replay and the final. My father is a long serving Utd fan, my older brother grew up on Liverpool as champions of Europe, another brother supported Everton and my twin brother was handed the Arsenal jersey. I will be very interested to see who my nephew selects – he is four now.

    I think that sport allows boys and young men to talk to their fathers. It is always topical and is always a safe topic to discuss. It allows us to build common interests and that is the key to relationships. It allows the generation gap to be bridged. So in one sense soccer is about kicking a ball of air around the pitch, but in another sense it is much more important than that.

    How a business can build a fraction of that loyalty. I think that people can work out your values as a business. If you can convince your customers to recommend you to their closest contacts you are onto a winner.

    regards
    @donnchadhh

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Great post Donnacha – does following a team allow us the ability to “belong” to a tribe? Is that a basic human need and does our teams from across the water achieve this for us?

      I guess as well it is an “investment” type of relationship – if you have followed results for years, defended them in the school yard, put on their shirt and dreamed about them the thought of changing is just unthinkable! – it is interesting ..

  3. Roberto Says:

    I actually became an Everton fan because my nan bought me a blue tracksuit and told me that this made me an Everton fan…

    Even though the rest of my family are reds… (my dad claims he supports Brighton and Hove Albion)… but I don’t take that very seriously.

    Nice post Greg

    Thanks

    🙂

  4. Shayla Price Says:

    Brand loyalty is all about trust.

    Companies can instill that value by offering great products, awesome customer service, and the ability to do good in the community they serve.

    I find that some companies are even using prior customers’ experiences to build that trust (http://bit.ly/1NwG6qj).

    Thanks for this good piece.

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