Audacious Brand Affinity

We’ve got a great episode of the Audacity Marketing Podcast for you today. We’re discussing what brand affinity is and why it’s important.

First things first, let’s talk about what brand affinity is. It’s more than convenience. It’s more than loyalty. It’s how a brand makes you feel about them and how (and why) you align with them.

Jeep is a great example. If you know a Jeep person, then you know how all in they are in the Jeep universe. There are Jeep clubs, conversion kits, Jeep podcasts, and even “ducking” (where a Jeep owner will put a rubber duck on another Jeep’s windshield to show them how ‘ducking’ awesome they are). Jeep people aren’t just loyal, they have an affinity for Jeep. They’re not Jeep owners, they’re Jeep people.

So, consider these top three reasons people give for brand affinity:

  • “They care about people like me.”
  • “They make a positive difference in the world.”
  • “They get me.”

We hope this episode gives you some insights on brand affinity. Tell us in the comments what your thoughts are and why YOU choose the brands that you do.

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:07 Welcome to Audacity Marketing with Hazel Kempo and Michelle Fette. On this podcast, we’ll challenge you to think differently and break free of the same old strategies. We’ll push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to think outside the box. So take notes, make bold decisions, and be audacious.
Speaker 2 00:00:34 All right. Welcome to Audacity Marketing. How you doing, Michelle?
Speaker 3 00:00:38 I am good. How are you?
Speaker 2 00:00:40 Pretty darn excellent. Today we are talking about brand affinity. You know, I love brand affinity.
Speaker 3 00:00:47 I know you do
Speaker 2 00:00:49 , . We’re gonna talk about what it even means, why it’s so important, and the actual, like, scientific ways to get there. There’s ways proven to help, uh, develop brand affinity in your audience to help them keep your brand top of mind, uh, and have that loyalty that makes them think of your brand first always. So let’s dive right in.
Speaker 3 00:01:13 Absolutely.
Speaker 2 00:01:15 I know that a lot of people, when I talk about brand affinity with cust with, uh, you know, clients and different folks trying to build in this, they tend to start talking about brand loyalty, which I think is a thing, but I wanna talk about how they’re different. Mm-hmm. . Um, to me, brand loyalty is programs to get you to stick around, but affinity, there’s no to get to, like, I think you choose to stick around. What would you say, Michelle? Mm-hmm. .
Speaker 3 00:01:44 Yeah. I would say affinity begets loyalty, but loyalty doesn’t necessarily beget affinity, right? So I could be loyal to a brand. Like I I, well, when I used to drink soda, I was a Dr. Pepper girl, two, three Dr. Peppers a day, right? Mm-hmm. . And I was loyal to Dr. Pepper because I liked it, but I didn’t have an affinity with it, right? It wasn’t like I wasn’t buying swag, I wasn’t wearing T-shirts, I wasn’t David Notten running down the street singing, I wanna be a dr, you know, be a pepper too kind of thing. . So it’s a difference for sure.
Speaker 2 00:02:11 , that is an excellent example of the difference between loyalty and affinity. And Amy, you could strive for both anything that magic happens when you have both, but I think it’s important to differentiate them. Mm-hmm. . So what’s that to me, brand affinity. I always refer to this one chart, which I know we’re in a podcast we can’t all see, but I shared this chart with, uh, Michelle right before the call, and I pull it up here so I can look at it. It’s the survey that they, that a group has done. It talks about what are the reasons people give for their emotional brand connections. Mm-hmm. . And it’s a chart of the way a brand makes them feel. And the top three are the brand makes them feel like they care about people like me. Like they’re making positive differences in the world, and like they get me mm-hmm. and Michelle. What are some brands you think they do that really well?
Speaker 3 00:03:07 So, I don’t own a Jeep, but the people that I know that own Jeeps are total Jeep people. And I think that there’s an affinity associated with that brand. And, and a couple of things happen when you, when you’re a Jeep owner, I have friends that own Jeeps. I’ve actually driven in a Jeep on the Watkins Glen Speedway because
Speaker 2 00:03:28 What’s the Watkins Glen? Glen Speedway?
Speaker 3 00:03:30 It’s like, it’s a, a NASCAR type. I don’t think it’s, it’s like a form formula. I don’t, I’m so not into racing, but it’s a, it’s a racing, it’s a car. Yeah. Car racing. Right? And so, um, Jeep people have Jeep conventions and Jeep events and Jeep clubs and it, and so there’s this affinity with the brand. They wear Jeep hats and shirts and they d they trick out their Jeeps and they drive with the, the doors off or doors on. And then there’s this whole thing called ducking, right? So like, people with Jeeps have these little, they have these little rubber duckies and they, they put little tags on ’em that say like, I fuck I, no, excuse me. Ducking love your Jeep about ad ducking love your Jeep, or your Jeep is ducking awesome. And they put them on the front of the Jeep. So people who get ducked in their Jeeps, like it’s this secret language or this secret initiation, or I almost like a secret handshake amongst people.
Speaker 2 00:04:31 Mm-hmm. I think speaking that language, like it is, it’s almost like a language in that way, right? Like, you know, the secret greeting, uh, and speaking their language, I think is so key. I watched, uh, the documentary last night, uh, the PEs Outlaw on Netflix.
Speaker 3 00:04:45 Oh, I saw it last week.
Speaker 2 00:04:46 Okay. So let’s talk about the P Outlaw for a second. Yeah. And how poorly PE handled this.
Speaker 3 00:04:52 Absolutely.
Speaker 2 00:04:52 Cause to me, it, it’s interesting, this has happened back in the nineties. So you can see the way companies, I don’t know, almost had this hostile view of their customers as opposed to
Speaker 3 00:05:04 Them Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:05:05 Issue. And this one is, the Pez company was very upset at this man who was importing Pez for, uh, from overseas. Uh, and it was really for a collector audience. And he was like printing ads. Some of this, the amount of money he was making compared Toez was very little. To me, the ideal move for Pez would be to make their own limited edition stuff. Be very excited, like people are into selling them out. Make the limited edition learn from what the audience is telling you. Instead of trying to, in this documentary, Pez continually tries to write their own narrative instead of what the customers are wanting. Mm-hmm. , it ends up like they end up copying the guy to win, which is ruthless, but instead of trying to figure out ways to, to actually build that affinity for, they already have this affinity for their brand, and they were shunning it. Mm-hmm. , that was, that was like wild to me in that documentary that you had this strong affinity.
Speaker 3 00:06:03 Yeah, absolutely. And I loved the show. I was like, just dumbfounded by the way they handled it. Like this guy is actually ordering, he, he designed his own Pez and he had the maid at a Pez manufacturing plant. Like, and they did, they were sent to him on the official Pez cards, like in the bubble, like packaging or whatever the, you know, the plastic packaging
Speaker 2 00:06:26 And technically all legal through a series of
Speaker 3 00:06:27 Loopholes. All yes. Absolutely. And instead, and he’s charge, he’s like charging $25 for these like $3 PEZs or $2 Pez dispensers. Uh, and instead of, like you said, instead of going, Ooh, we could have our own and do this, they duplicated exactly what he was doing and sold it for $3, thus undercutting him in the market and completely leaving him be wrapped and holding so much. Um, he ended up literally burying in his, on his farm, all of these unsold peas.
Speaker 2 00:07:00 Like That’s right. He should dumping
Speaker 3 00:07:01 Them, dumping them in the ground and covering ’em with dirt and walking away from the whole Pez, everything. Now he was a little eccentric, but that didn’t mean
Speaker 2 00:07:09 He an interesting guy. I think that it’s a really good example of grand affinity being, I don’t know, call it the right answer. Like it’s the very forward thinking answer. Mm-hmm. . Cause you can watch this documentary and just see how blatantly wrong Pez was for not figuring out ways they’re making more money off of this. And just focusing on ways to fight your fans. I think lots of brands had this early on, like Disney used to fight their fans when they would like try to dress like the characters. And it’s like, no, now Virgin, this sort of thing.
Speaker 3 00:07:38 Exactly.
Speaker 2 00:07:39 Picking up brands with strong brand Affinity, Disney, Starbucks, these like Major C Oh my goodness. Corporate brands, the reason they’re major corporate brands cause mm-hmm. people. It’s the most corporate thing in the world, but man, people love them. Some Starbucks brand . Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:07:53 I’m not gonna lie, I have the app so I can accumulate points to get my free Starbucks swag all the time. All the
Speaker 2 00:08:00 Time. And then I think what’s cool about brand affinity is it begets community, right? Like by def by definition. Yeah. Even these crazy corporate brands like Starbucks, there’s a community around, like, every time they release a cup, I guess this goes after the PS collector marketing strategy. There’s a community around each time they release a cup, it’s like big news. I have a friend who’s still like, fighting for the ma black Starbucks Cup if anybody sees it ,
Speaker 3 00:08:25 You know? But you’re absolutely right. And to go back to the Jeep idea, right? I don’t know if you know this, but Jeep actually hides things in their design. So like, if you pour over your Jeep with a fine tooth comb, you’ll find like embedded in plastic little animals and things like that as part of the thing. And so you go on this hunt and you know, there’s like, I don’t know, I’m making the numbers up now, but like 25 things, 25 secret little things that you could find in your Jeep. My friend who owns a Jeep for four years has only found 10, and she knows there’s like 15 more in there, right? So it becomes
Speaker 2 00:08:58 That’s amazing,
Speaker 3 00:08:59 . Yeah. And there’s Facebook groups, like local Facebook groups around it. There’s International Face Group, Facebook groups around it. And the idea that it’s you really gives you that sense of belonging, which is what Affinity is, right? So Affinity means I align myself with this. I feel like, like you said, I feel like I belong, feel like they get me. And that’s like the whole thing. I think, uh, we see that in WordPress, right? So the fact that it’s this free open saw mm-hmm. Open, open source software, and yet there’s, there’s conferences all over the world. I’m going to Asia next week, right? By the time we publish this, I’ll be in Thailand. Um, because WordPress has built up a community and such, um, uh, an affinity, right? For, for the product that people will be like, I could probably build a website faster if I just went to Wix and did a drag drop, but I’m not gonna do that because I’m loyal and I have an affinity for WordPress.
Speaker 2 00:09:57 And I think one thing that’s so interesting about WordPress, even about the Jeep one, about all of these that affinity started organically with the, with the community, right? So community, I, as I said earlier, I said earlier, affinity begets community, but frankly it works the other way around too, right? Like it can Yeah, for sure. Community starts circulating around your brand organically. Man, double down on that right away. If you see that happening organically, you’ve struck gold. Like that’s better than product market did to me. When you have two people using your product Target talking together that they like it. Yeah. Whew. That’s magic.
Speaker 3 00:10:28 Facilitate that. Facilitate it, facilitate it, facilitate it. Because when brands don’t, you see what happens to things like, um, Beadie babies, right? Beadie Babies was one of those things that built, built, built, built. And then the Thai company decided it didn’t want people having their own newsletters. They didn’t want people having their own swap meets. And th that’s another not documentary by the way. You can watch the one on Thai Beanie Babies and the whole market fell out from underneath. And now people who think they’re sitting on their retirement fund by having thousands of beanie babies in their closet, basically just have an overpriced, uh, beanbag chair.
Speaker 2 00:11:04 , I remember that. Now I bet some people that have a software out there. My example of my, my go-to software digital for boring software is payroll processing software. So let’s say you are running a pay processing software and you’re like, sure, Michelle, Hazel, Starbucks and Jeep. That’s easy for them. But I sell payroll software. How is anybody gonna care? I’ll tell you about an organization, they went out of business and the end of the story doesn’t go well. Beginning of this story though, for brand affinity, there’s a company called Fast that was just a, uh, payment gateway for websites like that is the most boring type of software proliferative, but man, it was utilitarian and boring people. They had hoodies, people were dying for these hoodies. All they said were fast. They had this brand affinity. They had really just built by having a strong community of like people that cared about commerce, they figured out the human portion of their business product. And I think once you figure out that human portion of your business product, that’s where the affinity comes in because it’s not, B2B is still bought by humans.
Speaker 3 00:12:14 Yes, it is. Absolutely. When I was running payroll for a massage school back in the day, uh, I, the next place that I worked at when somebody said, oh, do you know a payroll p people? I was like, oh, you gotta use the ones I just was working with because they were so good and the people were amazing to talk to. Like I could tell, I still remember the woman’s name that I talked to every week when I called in my payroll and I remember calling her saying, Hey, it’s my last week and I just wanted to say goodbye because
Speaker 2 00:12:45 That’s amazing,
Speaker 3 00:12:46 Right? You build that affinity with the people if it isn’t like the taste of the Dr. Pepper or something. Absolutely.
Speaker 2 00:12:53 Absolutely. I think dev, no matter the product, there is a human, um, connection to be had.
Speaker 3 00:12:59 Absolutely.
Speaker 2 00:13:00 Well, cool. I think, uh, what do we got next to talk about here, Michelle?
Speaker 3 00:13:04 Um, I don’t have it in front of me. We’re gonna talk about, let’s see. Um, oh yeah, word of mouth marketing, right? So that’s, that’s the one thing that affinity Mark, your brand affinity can absolutely lead to that word of mouth marketing. Um, in back in the eighties there was a, I think it, it was a shampoo called G Your Hair smells terrific. And, and it was Heather Locklear and she said, it smells so good that, and it feels so good that you’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on and so on. And every time she said it, so on the number of her like duplicated on the screen, right? So that suddenly 20 Heather Locklears are telling you how great the shampoo is. But that’s the whole idea is that, uh, word of mouth marketing and viral marketing can spread that way because I tell you now, you tell two people, those two people each tell two people and it spreads like that. As long as you have the right product or service to back up the, what people are saying about you. So it all falls apart. If the product sucks or the service for it doesn’t work, then it’s all just lift service.
Speaker 2 00:14:11 And I think that the, it segues into what the, so, okay, so cool. People like my brand, so what
Speaker 3 00:14:18 And,
Speaker 2 00:14:19 And I and I think some of the, so what is man, get those people to write reviews. If you, if you’ve figured out brand affinity, you’ve figured out testimonials and reviews, which go to any convers Oh yeah. Conversionary optimization site on the website, they’ll tell you it’s scientifically proven. People just wanna see that someone else has liked and bought the product. Um, and, and if you have a affinity, I would make sure you have the content around that to use the parlance of the terms that people call it U G C user generated content. I think that sounds very cold, but honestly, if you have Brett Infinity, that’s where you should connect
Speaker 3 00:14:55 Te testimonial social, social proof, um, is is social proof. Social proof is, is absolutely paramount to success. Yep. In today’s market.
Speaker 2 00:15:05 I think the other, the other thing you’ll get out of this, uh, on that same note is amplification in a revenue way, right? Like you can build your own ambassador and affiliate program, and I’ll call it an ambassador program more than an affiliate program, even if you are giving them a kickback, because folks that have brand affinity should be motivated more to share a problem that they solved as opposed to sharing it for the financial gains. But the financial gain’s a nice benefit
Speaker 3 00:15:31 . Absolutely. Yeah. If you have all of those things, then your tipping point is, is obvious, right? Yeah. And people will, will want to, it’ll take off. I, I often think about where did certain terminologies come from? Like at 1.1 person said, that’s awesome sauce. And suddenly everybody in North America was saying Awesome sauce. Well, it started with point, 0.1, one person and it took off like wildfire. And that’s what you wanna find. You wanna find the awesome sauce in your brand affinity.
Speaker 2 00:15:58 Yep. And then I think last would be repeat purchases. We get stuck as marketers really thinking about like, how do we get new eyeballs? How do we get new eyeballs? How do we get new eyeballs? People with your affinity have like a lot of affinity here. Brands don’t forget them because they’ll become resentful and go on to the next one and, and it’ll be a deeper chasm than if it had drifted away. Um, yeah, that repeat revenue, man, that’s the, that’s the low hanging fruit of the world for me. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 3 00:16:24 . Yep. That’s why people who, that’s why the Jeep Company needs to make Jeeps with a lower, uh, lower entry point, uh, physical entry point so that as people age in, they’re, it’s still easy to get it in outta their Jeep
Speaker 2 00:16:36 . That’s actually, I like that idea. We’ll, we’ll write that into Jeep . Um, well great. I think that’s gonna wrap it up for us today, Michelle. Absolutely.
Speaker 3 00:16:47 I
Speaker 2 00:16:47 Do too. You have a great trip in Asia. Thank
Speaker 3 00:16:49 You so much. Yeah, absolutely. And well, and, uh,
Speaker 2 00:16:52 Oh, I wanted to put the word out there that we’ll be looking for guests for future podcasts. Do you wanna share a little bit about what kind of guests we might be looking for?
Speaker 3 00:16:59 If you have an idea in marketing that is audacious, we wanna know about it. So we wanna hear what’s works for you. What are some ways that you went out on a limb or took that leap of faith and what is your product or your proposal or your story. And we wanna help you, um, share that with other people so that they can find their audacity and their success also.
Speaker 2 00:17:22 Awesome. Thanks Michelle. And I hope this podcast, uh, episode was helpful for everyone. We’ll see you next time.
Speaker 3 00:17:27 See ya.
Speaker 1 00:17:29 This has been Michelle Rochette and Hazel Kempo with Audacity Marketing Theater to be different and dominate your market with audacity.