Loyalty Beyond Reason
When it comes to displaying your love for something â€“ person, place, or even product â€“ you canâ€™t get much more extreme and long-lasting than a tattoo. That kind of adoration â€“ a desire for an all-day, every-day tribute on your own body â€“ is clearly Lovemarks territory. In fact, when we launched Lovemarks: The Designers Edition at the Frankfurt bookfair, we had master tattoo artist Adam Craft tattoo a â€œLoyalty Beyond Reasonâ€ design on several volunteers and tattoo aficionados (see the video).
It reminds me of a great quote about brand loyalty: â€œRetention is for wimps. We measure the percentage of customers who have our name tattooed on one of their body partsâ€ (Harley Davidson annual report would you believe! See more below). These are the customers who plan to stick with you, no matter what, who literally have â€œskin in the gameâ€. Who will pay to be a walking ad for what you stand for. Who want everyone to know how much you mean to them, how much they love you. The etymology of â€œbrandingâ€ actually originates from a process closely linked to tattooing, back when farmers used to burn their mark into the skin of cattle to indicate ownership.
Martin Lindstrom explored the brand-tattoo phenomenon in his 2005 book, Brand Sense, sharing the results of a survey asking which brands people would most want to have tattooed on their arm. (And ask my youngest daughter Bex about Betty Boop!!!)Hereâ€™s the top ten:
- Harley Davidson (18.9%)
- Disney (14.8%)
- Coke (7.7%)
- Google (6.6%)
- Pepsi (6.1%)
- Rolex (5.6%)
- Nike (4.6%)
- Adidas (3.1%)
- Absolut (2.6%)
- Nintendo (1.5%)
Of course, choosing an option in an online questionnaire is one thing â€“ getting inked up is another. Last year, Australian law firm and trademark attorneys Nicholas Weston conducted a survey with 20 tattoo businesses in Melbourne, asking them about the popularity of various brands:
- Harley Davidson
- AFL (Australian Rules) club logos
- VB (Victoria Bitter â€“ Australian beer)
- Disney characters
- Fox/Alpinestars (motorcross gear)
- Triple J (Australian radio station)
Their results were significantly more local, but three names remain consistent: Harley Davidson, Nike and Disney. Perhaps itâ€™s bizarre that Disney is up there (although that Mickeyâ€™s an iconic fellow!), but itâ€™s no accident that the grand winner of both cases is Harley Davidson. The company has long known that the passion of their customers is more important than any figure on a spreadsheet, as evidenced by this extract from their 1997 Annual Report:
â€œCustomers show their loyalty in different ways. Buying a product says one thing, customers tattooing their bodies with our Bar and Shield says quite another. We see Harley-Davidson tattoos on our customers (and some of our employees) 365 days a year. Our Daytona and Sturgis Bike Week tattoo contests recognize these lifelong customers. What greater evidence is there of the strength of our brand than a customer who wears our name like a badge of honor? Now thatâ€™s a passionate commitment.â€
Kevin Roberts is the CEO worldwide of The Lovemarks Company, Saatchi & Saatchi. For more information on Kevin, please go to www.saatchikevin.com. To see this blog at its original source, please go to www.krconnect.blogspot.com.
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