Logos, tattoos and brand loyalty

When partnering with credit unions on brand and member experience programs, one of the examples we use regarding brand loyalty is Harley-Davidson fans who get some version of the company logo tattooed on their bodies. 

A quick Google search will show thousands of such examples, some great-looking, others a little on the iffy side (but I’m not thinking the marketing and brand people at Harley-Davidson care much — after all, these are volunteer walking billboards for their brand).

While waiting to catch a flight to work with a partner credit union on member experience training a few weeks ago, I noticed a gentleman seated near me at the terminal gate with a slightly different corporate logo tattooed on his calf; one I have not seen in this format before. It was the logo of IN-N-OUT Burger, a non-franchised eatery chain started 70 years ago in California (and rapidly growing). 

IN-N-OUT enjoys an extremely loyal customer base, but who knew that loyalty was high enough to earn a permanently-inked advertisement on a consumer’s leg? 

Out of curiosity, I just had to ask the gentleman why he got the tattoo. His answer was polite and engaging (although relatively short as we were about to board). He smiled before I even finished asking the question (which to me possibly indicated he gets that question a lot) and said, simply, “I just really like their cheeseburgers and always have.”

Any way you want to look at it from a brand perspective, that’s a terrific answer. The gentleman may have focused more on the product than the culture around this particular retail entity, but his loyalty to that product is more than likely bolstered by the customer experience offered by the burger chain.

We’ve talked about tattoos and credit union culture before. But this airport example of an unexpected tattoo helped reinvigorate that thought process in my mind. Certainly devoting a portion of your body to the logo of a company indicates a level of passion and devotion. It also leads to a compelling question; does your credit union instill a similar level of passion in its members? 

While you might not enjoy a legion of members that do go out and pay money to tattoo your logo on their bodies, here are four brand loyalty questions you do need to be asking yourself:

  1. Are your members expressing their enthusiasm for your brand in other ways? 
  2. Are your members active and loyal proponents of your brand, amongst groups such as friends, family and coworkers? 
  3. Does your commitment to brand and the member experience lead to key metrics moving in positive directions? 
  4. Alternatively, has your possible lack of commitment to brand and the member experience led to a level of member loyalty that is lackluster at best and waning at worst? 

However you answer these questions, your key metrics are likely good indicators of your credit union brand loyalty barometer.

Ultimately, successfully-branded retailers like Harley-Davidson and IN-N-OUT Burger are  not selling merely motorcycles and cheeseburgers. What they are really selling and promoting is an experience, a lifestyle, and a status that consumers rally around, identify with and proudly say (both with tattoos and their wallets) “this is a brand I’m really into and I want everyone to know it.”

Isn’t that a grand brand goal to which every credit union can aspire, inked or not?

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: www.markarnold.com Details

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