We all roam the globe searching for something to lean on.
People and things frustrate us, and often it’s the people who cause most of the frustration.
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So we are tangentially committed when we find people (or things) who keep their promises and deliver.
I am driven to the depth of such considerations because I have just read a treatise on loyalty. Well, one book less and one more rather large research projects That examines the concept of brand loyalty.
Marketing consultancy Brand Key conducts this research each year, to examine which brands inspire emotional commitment from the harassed and underprivileged, and which do not.
This year’s edition offers some stimulating insights.
Robert Pasikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, put it this way: “This year’s roster proves that meeting or exceeding consumer expectations allows brands to transform market-share and loyalty into category and market dominance. Those brands are the ‘Loyalty Juggernauts’—brands that The overwhelming economic power that their ability to meet expectations makes them far more powerful than public awareness alone.”
It is difficult to meet expectations on a regular basis. People are so demanding these days. And, thanks to the glory of social media, everyone is emotional. Update: People have always been so emotional, but these days they have more outlets with more choices among competing brands.
So please, jump with me into some of the juggernauts your parents want you to marry.
Which brand is the number one loyalty object among smartphones? What about Apple headphones? Apples, too. And which brand inspires the deepest loyalty when it comes to laptops? Why, not apples. It’s Samsung.
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And on tablets it’s, oh, Apple again. What about flatscreen TVs? Welcome back, Samsung.
Microsoft and I wipe?
I scanned the list of winners and couldn’t find one name: Microsoft.
At first, I couldn’t decide if it made me feel weird. Over the past few years, Microsoft has done relative wonders in changing its image from mildly despised to surprisingly likable.
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Yet when I look at the brand that inspires the most consumer loyalty in video chat, I see Zoom, not Microsoft Teams. And did I need to look at brands that win hearts in search? I did, but really shouldn’t have. Google it.
Naturally, this got me thinking about artificial intelligence.
Microsoft pounces on AI like a hungry tiger pounces on something meaty. It’s taken OpenAI in an almost unrequited loving embrace.
But as the future unfolds so quickly — so quickly — will AI have a concept like brand loyalty? Will people choose to trust one company’s AI more than another?
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In fact, will Microsoft spur the most AI allegiances, as Apple and Samsung have come to dominate many of the categories Microsoft once supported?
Apple and Samsung have done some things like that — haven’t they? They create products that lift the spirit. They presented them in a way that appealed to the senses, rather than being bogged down with features.
Can Microsoft do the same with AI? Can it make people make an active choice and stick with it?
A minor element of that question may revolve around whether the company’s partnership with Sam Altman and his siblings increases Bing’s market share.
It seems this may not be the case — yet — though Microsoft isn’t enamored with Data Profiles.
But with Samsung tweeting AI in its latest Galaxy phones and Apple starting to think about AI, well — who knows? — Will Google’s continued search dominance shift to AI offerings?
Or, perhaps, has Microsoft’s almost reckless foray into AI convinced inquiring minds that the company is not merely leading, but already the most trusted?
Most important, perhaps, is whether people care where their AI comes from. In AI, will any one brand be equivalent to Intel Inside? I write this when word comes out that most reputable news sites actually block AI scrapers.
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It remains to be seen whether this makes any difference to anyone — or, indeed, how it might affect how we view the world and the way we live.
I can hardly wait for the next Brand Key study that tries to explore consumer loyalty in AI.
I wonder where it might lie.