Splitsville: Breaking up with your favorite brand

Jack Blog

May 6th, 2011 By Jack Morton

I was inspired recently by an NPR Music podcast about “breaking up” with a once favorite band and it got me thinking about the strong relationships we have with brands and what makes us break up with them. It can be lots of things:

Long Distance. Some brands are so entrenched in a local geography that when you move away, you just kind of forget about it. You may see them when you’re home visiting your parents, and you remember why you liked them so much—but you’ve moved on…literally. (“It’s not you, it’s me, White Hen Pantry)

Age. Some brands mean the world to you at various ages but as you grow older—they just lose their resonance. (Esprit. I’m looking at you.) The fun thing is if you have kids, you get to dip back into some childhood brands all over again (oh Duplo! I’ve missed you!)

Dishonesty. Disappointment. This is the most egregious break up as it usually happens when a brand stops delivering on it’s promise. I recently made up (with an experience brand!!) that I had broken up with years ago: I wore NIKE shoes all through grade school and high school sports. I was a loyal (athlete) customer and have fond memories of my Nikes and big wins. But then NIKE stopped making good shoes. They hurt, felt flat and no matter how I tried to sell myself on them (“they’ll be different this time, I know it”), they stopped making the quality product that I had come to love. And I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

Recently though I went to the best running store in the world in my hometown and decided to try them again. Low and behold—NIKE won me back. They put the focus back in their running shoes and won back a customer who had been lost for years. (It feels good. We’ve both matured.)

It’s a good lesson. No matter how much a brand puts a lot of flash on advertising, retail design or online experiences—if they don’t make a quality product and deliver on their brand promise—it’s time to break up.

What brands have you broken up with? Are you on the verge of a break up?