Self-Dishonesty and Brand Loyalty
I just finished reading “The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves” by Dan Ariely.
The book was quite good in the level of detail the author included about experiments and how the results of those experiments show that people lie to other people and to themselves more frequently than they might think.
But the takeaway of one study was one that I found intriguing:
These results suggest that once someone (or some organization) does us a favor, we become partial to anything related to the giving party — and that the magnitude of this bias increases as the magnitude of the initial favor (in this case the amount of payment) increases.”
It is interesting that I was reading this book at just about the same time that I was writing the draft for my Cabot Cheese social media case study post in which Cabot sent me free cheese. I ended up using the cheese as ingredients for recipes posted on my food blog and then posted about my overall experience with the brand here.
It’s not too surprising, I think, to read the above quote.
Dishonest with yourself
The dishonesty part came about because, in the experiment, people underwent fMRI scans while seeing a painting and a logo of a gallery. Each participant was informed that one gallery provided payment for the experiment.
Participants were asked to like or dislike paintings, and the results showed they liked ones from the gallery that paid for the experiment. But when asked, participants said the logo had no effect on their choice.
Clearly, self-deception was at work.
It should not be a shock that when a brand does something nice or offers a free product or service that there will be a little bit of loyalty. The loyalty does not have to last a lifetime, either.
I recognize that I’ve had these types of feelings toward other brands when they have been kind or done nice things to me. I tell myself that I feel no need to reciprocate the brand’s kind gestures.
But, really, there’s nothing wrong with reciprocating, so long as you’re honest with yourself.
How willing are you to reciprocate exposure or other gestures to brands when they do so to you?