It’s been a relatively quiet week market wise – quarterly earnings continue and we are in between major economic releases and Fed meetings. As a result, I thought we could all use a fun “Pam to Paper” exercise on brand loyalty. Market musings will return next week!
Last week, Warren Buffett gave a three-hour interview to CNBC’s Becky Quick. In true Warren fashion, they covered a variety of topics. One item up for discussion was Berkshire Hathaway’s sizeable investment in Apple. When asked about the investment, instead of quoting the financial metrics of the business, Warren instead commented on the inspired leadership under Tim Cook as well as another essential characteristic of the company – its brand. Warren marveled at the degree to which the Apple brand is woven into the lives of millions of people and how strong the brand loyalty is amongst its almost fanatical user base.
Here’s what he said:
If you’re an Apple user and somebody offers you $10,000, but the only proviso is they’ll take away your iPhone and you’ll never be able to buy another, you’re not going to take it. If they tell you if you buy another Ford car, they’ll give you $10,000 not to do that, you’ll take the $10,000 and you’ll buy a Chevy instead
I’ll freely admit it – I’m an Apple user and Warren has me pegged. I would not take that offer – not a chance. I am exceptionally loyal to the Apple ecosystem (watch, phone, ipad, macbook, apple TV – you name it, I love it!) and truly can’t imagine ever switching to an alternate provider.
And it’s not just inertia over not wanting to do the work to switch to a new ecosytsem (which would be quite the task). It’s the fact that I truly love the brand and value what it adds to my daily life – its ease of use, its reliability, its design, its simple joy, and so much more. I am fiercely loyal to it as a result and there is no competitor that could take its place in my view. I also have a lot of respect for the company and its management, believing that it is a net positive for society and that matters to me as well. I know I’m not alone in this – making Warren’s observation about the value of the brand and the stickiness of its revenue very accurate.
This exchange with Warren got me thinking about the multitude of others brands and companies I interact with and if there would be any other “turn down $10,000” qualifiers. It was fun to think about and made me realize the qualities I value in the brands I am fiercely loyal to including: reliability, ease of use/low friction, sense of joy, feeling of being valued, continual exceeding of expectations, and enjoyable (and consistent) interactions.
Want to know a few other brands that are on my list? Not without you trying this for yourself first! If you’re so inclined, send me an email and let me know a few of your inextricable/non negotiable/best in show brands and/or the traits that make them top of your list and I’ll reply with mine (Note: comment section has been turned off due to ongoing issues with spam/bots – but email lines are always open!)
Until next week,
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