Recently I was invited by a corporate organisation to share my thoughts on the importance of social media for corporate brands and it got me thinking about the brands I am a loyal customer of and the money I spend on them.
Topping the list is Vistara – an airline I have been flying regularly on since 2016. I spend close to Rs 4 lakh per annum on this airline and it is probably the highest I spend on any one brand annually. Next up is Uber through Paytm where I spend an average of Rs 1 lakh per annum with a few thousands spent on Ola – my back-up ride hailing app. Finally, I spend Rs 20,000 a year on my fitness centre membership. I am a Cult fan because it makes me feel fit and happy. If you noticed carefully the first set of brands that I mentioned are all about mobility. Inter city mobility, intra city mobility and body mobility. Then there is Starbucks. I’m not a coffee person but I find the Starbucks at Galleria, next to where I live and the one in the building where my office is located very convenient for meetings.
Interestingly, most brands mentioned above have a Ratan Tata connection.
Next, I have multiple relationships with Axis Bank though my longest relationship has been with Citibank and HDFC bank. With Axis, I have a home loan, a credit card, a current account, a savings account, a Forex card and more. They earn from the credit card I use and the home loan interest I pay. And that is quite a lot. I do not have preferences for international airlines and hotels (both in India and abroad) where I spend a decent sum of money. That is because I use Cleartrip and Booking dot com which are convenience aggregators. I rarely shop online. On those few occasions I do, it is on Amazon. I used to buy a lot of clothes in my younger days from Wills Lifestyle. Sadly, this brand is on its way out. I spend some money at two grocery stores – Le Marche and Spar. And a few hundreds every month on couple of telecom brands. That is it. There are no other brands I am a user of in a big way besides the social networks which are all free.
Well, so why did I share my consumer preferences here? I did so because we often become loyal to a brand or two because they did something right to us or someone, we care for recommended the brand to us and we have never had a problem with the offering. With time we get used to it and a stickiness emerges.
In most cases the brands do not advertise heavily. Even if they do, they became part and parcel of our lives because of the way they connected with us. This is public relations. We often do not realise this and that is the power of Public Relations. We all have about a dozen brands that we are loyal to and another dozen that we prefer. These 25 brands in our day-to day life help us prosper, progress and profit. In the process the brands end up doing the same.
It will be a fun exercise for all of us to evaluate the brands we use and figure out which of those we are loyal to and which we choose randomly. And then to understand why we make those choices. There will be clues in those answers to which one connects better with us.