Is a brand holding you captive?

As consumers, we buy brands for many reasons.  In many cases, brand loyalty transcends all behavioral understanding.  No one has figured out consumer brand loyalty behavior yet; if anyone tells you otherwise, don’t believe them.  Once you think you got it figured out, the customer evolves and changes the pattern.  Recently, I found myself captive by a premiere brand based on my own consumer brand loyalty behavior.   

Let me explain, there is a particular brand that I have bought for years.  I have always loved this brand.  I have come to rely on this brand more and more to help me juggle my home and professional responsibilities.  So, I’m deeply invested in this brand.  Lately, I haven’t been happy with the product’s performance.  Which, by the way, when I Google the problems, they are always well documented by other users, signaling to me that these are common occurrences!   

I mean, let me clarify, at one point I really wanted the brand.  It represented to me the good life.  After almost two decades and many products later (not to mention, a small fortune invested), I started re-evaluating the brand.  It has let me down at key points in my life. Yet, I have been devoted to it for years. Why?  Because I got caught up in the hype. The brand made an emotional connection with me and made me feel good. Well, after years of devotion, being disappointed and told by a genius that nothing is wrong with the device; I now feel like a brand captive.

I have the freedom to make choices, right?  Well, I considered “switching” but it was amazing how reluctant I was to complete the transaction.  I did all of the research.  It even appeared that other brands had caught up and/or are out-performing my brand.  Still, I felt like I couldn’t abandon this brand because I had too much invested. So, I did the next best thing.  I started complaining about this brand to anyone who would listen. And, low and behold others were feeling the same!  As much as misery loves company, it’s also disheartening.  

Where is our courage to dump this brand and adopt another? 

Are the stakes too high or are we just way too complacent to make a change?

Better yet, maybe we care just a little too much about what we imagine that others will think of us? 

So, remember not every loyal consumer stems from a strong allegiance some of us our held captive by the brand.


Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. 

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in  Fairfield County Connecticut.