Follow, follow, follow

We all make choices about brands every day.

Even if we consciously try to avoid falling into the trap we end up making choices subconsciously based on things we have identify with.

So I thought I would look at a brand that has my loyalty and think a little about why I chose it, consciously or subconsciously.

The first is brand choice that I made before all others and that is why it may have stood the test of time, even when it was not cool to like it. A brand that I have had to defend against criticism, a brand that I have spent thousands on, a brand that I have hated at times but a brand that has given me moments of joy and life long friendships.

I grew up in the Essex town, now city of Chelmsford. Chelmsford is unremarkable for many reasons, and one of those reasons is it underperforming football team. But at the age of 3 or 4 I had to chose to a team. We had a football pennant at home so I supported that team. And I have stood on terraces singing give me a C, give me and H, give me an E, give me and L, give me and S. Hang on S? Yes, the pennant was for Chelsea. I chose Chelsea, I thought I was choosing Chelmsford. But I started following the brand and some 45 years later I still do.

I would argue that Chelsea aren’t a brand if someone said they are in the pub but the reality is they are.

So when nearly 40 years ago I saw then lose 5-1 I don’t chose someone else to follow. I didn’t chose someone else when they spent years in the second division, I didn’t swap even when their captain John Terry was the most hated man in the country. (I didn’t defend him though).

I bought in to Chelsea and I guess over the years played a very small part in forming who they are now.

And there it is I felt I was a part of something and my actions went some way towards contributing to the success of the brand. Being one of a few thousand supporters on a Saturday afternoon in Bolton to watch them win the league for the first time in 50 years was special to me and I felt that I was a part of something.

If we can create brands that inspire that much loyalty and passion then we are excelling ourselves.

But can it be done outside of a sports team?

I’m writing this on a MacBook, I have a film on in the background on my iPad, my iPhone on my desk next to me.

Of course, this may just mean I am a sucker for a brand.


Also published on Medium.