Liz Earle and the power of brand loyalty

By: Fiona Humberstone

Date: 18 July 2011

There’s a wonderful lady in one of the networking groups I belong to who is an agent for Arbonne. So lovely is she that when she presented her business at our last meeting I wanted to try her products. The service was fantastic; she came to my home, gave me a bag full of goodies and explained how I should use them. She explained that she’d be back in a few days for the bag, but to just enjoy them and get to know the product.

I really wanted to like the product so that I could support this lady. She’s been a great support to us in the network and she’s a really lovely lady to know – why wouldn’t I want to support her. So with this in mind I tried the products.

What happened was interesting. It totally clarified the power of a strong brand.

I’ve always used Liz Earle products and really rather like them. And having another brand to try out directly against them actually deepened my loyalty – to Liz Earle! Not the outcome the Arbonne lady was hoping, but interesting from a branding perspective nonetheless.

What’s interesting to me is that both were very well designed. Both do their job well. But I subconsciously and irrationally identify with Liz Earle more than I do Arbonne. For me, the product, packaging, price point and perfume of Liz Earle are far more seductive than I realised. They just feel like me. And when I analyse this a bit more I see why.

Both brands are powerful and successful. And, as you’d expect of large and successful organisations, they’ve both worked out who their target markets are. I guess I’m just not an Arbonne girl. The design of the Arbonne packaging is very strong – very winter, very bling. That just isn’t me. The scent didn’t do it for me either – I think it was too sophisticated for me! The whole brand feels incredibly well thought through, incredibly well serviced, but just not me.

But do you think Liz Earle would have retained my brand loyalty if they’d played it safe? Not likely. Just like Arbonne they’ve put themselves out there, been brave about communicating what they’re all about. And they have a huge band of loyal followers because of it. Do you think the same could be said of your business? Or are you trying to be all things to all people?

Fiona Humberstone, Flourish design & marketing

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