Loyalty or Happiness

Brand loyalty demands that you keep buying products from a specific company no matter what. You like the brand, so why wouldn’t you support their efforts?

Think about that for a moment. Brand loyalty means that even if another brand has a superior product, you’ll continue to buy the inferior one. In fact, it generally means you won’t even acknowledge the other product’s superiority (or existence) in the first place. You’ll spend your money where you’ve spent it before because that’s where you’ve spent it in the past.

This is why most companies dream about winning the loyalty of their customers. They needn’t compete quite so hard with their rivals when they know you’ll buy regardless of how their product measures up.

Loyalty, while often considered to be a highly desirable trait, results in our ignoring better opportunities in favor of the ones that are more familiar.

Instead of taking the road that’s most favorable for us personally, loyalty instructs us to take the one that’s most favorable for the company we currently work for. Instead of being with the person we want to be with, loyalty compels us to stick with the person we once wanted to be with because they got there first.

Instead of focusing on loyalty, I would suggest we approach both our product purchases and relationships more analytically. If we take the time to figure out what we want, and what is best for us based on those wants, the companies selling to us may just realize they’re selling to the wrong demographic (or making the wrong product), and the people we’re with may realize that we’re not ideal for them, either.

This is not to say that we should all be opportunists, moving from shiny new thing to shiny new thing regardless of the company or person in question. But it does mean that, if properly thought through, a change in direction is not an ignoble act. In fact, such a shift could be the most beneficial thing for everyone involved.

Update: February 22, 2017

Want to make a lot of people feel uncomfortable? Question the value of loyalty in their presence. This nobility of loyalty is so ingrained in most cultures that the very idea that it might not be a good thing can spark righteous anger or holy terror in some.