Customer Tribalism

For some bizarre reason as I lay in bed last night I got to thinking about whether tribalism plays a role in our day to day choices as customers.  You know…like the tribalism in football.

What is it they say? ‘You don’t choose your team, it chooses you’ …and then that’s it.  You have to stick with them no matter what… follow that team through a series of bad managers…up and down leagues…playing like Brazil one week and Barrow-in-Furness the next.  Ask any Man City…or Leeds fan what it’s like…no consistency of product, service or price…a volatile customer experience you might say.

And yet, there they are, week after week, in their thousands, often tens of thousands, not just supporting, but actively promoting their chosen ‘brand’…wearing their scarves and shirts with pride no matter how poor the ‘product’ on the pitch.  Go to Newcastle on a match day and I challenge you to find more than 3 in 10 people who are not wearing the black and white stripes…it’s no wonder that companies want to promote themselves through football sponsorship.

But does tribalism exist in our other product and service choices.  Do we stick with a company, or an individual regardless of the quality of service because..?  Well, because we’ve always used them/ worked with them?  Maybe our parents introduced us at an early age, and we wouldn’t dream of ‘switching sides’ because it would be ‘disloyal’?

Is that why we are often McDonald’s or Burger King, Pepsi or Coca Cola, Virgin or BA, Tesco or Sainsbury?  Do we become so loyal to the brand that we overlook poor service or poor quality, choosing to believe that they’re just going through a bad patch and they’ll get it right next time?

I don’t know, maybe I’m alone in this. Maybe I’m just a soft muppet who is way too loyal for her own good, and all of you have got it sussed.  It’d be good to know though…! ;o)

One brand that won’t be the recipient of  my undying loyalty, is the wonderful Blak Pearl, who I wrote to you about last week.  I finally received a reply to my letter requesting a refund for the ‘cocktail evening’ with Sir Richard Branson – a chance to network and learn from this super successful entrepreneur – to which he came for a full two and a half minutes, and for which I had travelled to London specially and paid the princely sum of £79!  The letter, entitled ‘compensation’ told me how delighted they were to offer me a complementary ticket to Business 2012 in November [entry is already free!], and a £5 entry to a workshop that is usually £89 [that I have absolutely no desire to go to].  You may be surprised to hear that I declined their kind offer and once again requested my refund. The saga continues…

4 Responses to “Customer Tribalism”

  1. Samsung Camera Reviews

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dobson

      Hi there

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you re the question that you posted on the Frog Blog last week.

      I had my blog set up by my website guy at the same time as my site, so I can’t say for certain what it cost. But I do know a number of people who have set up their own using
      Wordpress have templates that you can use, and it sounds pretty straightforward to do…I’m not very techy either, but my site is wordpress and I find it very easy to work with.

      Failing that, there is a small business I came across recently who specialise in blogging…you could e mail a lady called Faz, who is very friendly, and ask her for advice. Her e mail is

      Hope this is helpful, and I look forward to seeing your blog when you get it set up.

  2. Smurf

    I’d never considered it before, but you’re absolutely spot on!

    Brought up in an exclusive Tesco environment (a selection no doubt made due to logistics), I entered adulthood as a loyal Tesco shopper without even realising. I’ve occasionally visited Asda over the years and found a greater selection, better offers and friendlier service – yet I’m still shopping at Tesco.

    The only thing I’ve stuck to my guns on is petrol. I’ve switched affiliation where that’s concerned; purely because of Tesco’s mercenary approach to the whole thing in rural areas. Now I go elsewhere and even pay more, where required, for doing so. But that’s another story entirely… 😉

    Much food for thought – thank you!


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