Am I the only one who is insulted when companies talk about my loyalty?

Triggered by an e-mail I receieved this morning from Microsoft:

To me, the word “loyalty” refers to small sacrifices one chooses to do to support a greater cause. Being loyal to one’s family, to one’s country, to one’s employer, to a common goal, to an ideal.

When a company tells me I’m being loyal towards them, it seems a bit off. And if they openly tell me they’re managing my loyalty, if just drives me nuts.

In French, systems like Air Miles are usually called programmes de fidélité. The word fidélité is more often seen when referring to a dog’s attitude towards his master. Not much better.

To me, Microsoft is a supplier. I am not giving them money repeatedly because I like them, I’m buying (uh, renting?) licenses from them. It’s not loyalty, it’s repeat business.

I’d prefer if they told me something more subtle, like “trying to retain my patronage” or to “wanting to reward my continued customership”.

This is not about Microsoft specifically, it’s just an example I got this morning.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Like it or not, “brand loyalty” is a commonly used term.

Eh - repeat business is loyalty.
loyal: “c : faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product”

If everyone could please stand, I would now like to lead us in reciting the Microsoft Pledge of Allegiance.

They’re patronizing you for patronizing them.

Oh. I thought you meant when the company I work for talks about loyalty. As if they expect mine in return for my paycheck. I am insulted when words like that are thrown around in staff meetings or whatnot, because I know that company would throw my ass right under the bus if it would make them some money. No company deserves my loyalty. We have a transaction agreement: I spend one-third of my life pushing papers around on a desk and you compensate me for that time. Loyalty has fuck-all to do with anything on both sides of the employee-employer relationship.

I think the OP is being oversensitive about the concept of customer or brand loyalty.

I’ll take a heaping helping of what **Ascenray **said with a generous dollop of what **Dogzilla **is having.

It’s just marketing speak; pay no attention.

I agree is it a common and accepting wording, but I also understand where the OP is coming from. To me, loyalty assumes a certain amount of sacrifice and stick-with-in when times are tough.

Most people, including myself only purchase from a brand when it is in MY best interest. That doesn’t fit any sense of the word “loyal.”

When I think of brand-loyal people, I think of people that purchase that brand even though they have a sucky/overpriced product compared to other brands. For example, some people buy XXX brand of automobile because that is what their father always bought and what they have always bought.

Besides brand-loyal, the other term that describes these people is “stupid.” That is why I could image it being offensive to be called loyal.

I’m less irritated by brands assuming I’m loyal to them than I am when my employers assume I should be loyal.

I’m brand loyal to a few products because of their history. I wouldn’t stop buying Kraft peanut butter because of one bad jar but if it was something I’d never purchased before I might never again. I think blind loyalty, where you continue to ignore a radical quality reduction for a long time is a different thing.

With what I’ve quoted here, I can understand your position. There certainly is a difference between intended brand loyalty, and purchasing because you have limited options or because MS offerings are ubiquitous, in both support and availability.

I think a fair example would be a local gas station. While some people may frequent a given station, many times they do so because it’s cheap and/or close-- they aren’t necessarily loyal, though. In other examples, actual loyal patrons will drive that extra mile to purchase fuel from their favorite brand/station. As I frequent other auto forums, I know many who fall into either category, so there is a distinction to be made.

That said, I wouldn’t really take insult to it, but I am in full agreement with Dogzilla. :stuck_out_tongue:

Some people who are loyal to a particular brand are so because they’ve learned from experience that the products made (or customer service offered) by that company can be trusted to be consistently good quality. There’s nothing stupid at all about that—though nowadays it seems with all the buyouts and mergers and companies changing their formula to cut corners, brand consistency doesn’t mean as much as it used to.

I bought my family’s third Honda in a row, and they said I qualified for a “loyalty” discount.

If it makes my car cheaper, I don’t care what you call it.

Marketing speak within a company is one thing, when it leaks out to customers it is another. Whoever gave this survey its title was being inward focused, not customer focused, because the title pisses me off also (not the text, though.) Loyalty is considered a good thing - saying that a survey is about loyalty implies that anyone giving negative responses is disloyal.
Rewards for loyalty are different, because they are for a characteristic you already displayed.

I think the term loyalty makes sense when it comes to brands. A common example would be Pepsi and Coke. A lot of people don’t really care too much and would drink either, but imagine if you’re at the store and there’s a sale on the one you don’t usually buy, some people would buy the cheaper one, but a lot of people wouldn’t. I know for me, there’s some brands that I particularly like and will pay more for, others I don’t care as much.

I’m also okay with some sort of a loyalty reward program. Even if there’s never really be a reason to switch, one has still been a customer for a long period of time and they’re doing it to help keep you as a customer.

I don’t like the kind of thing that the OP talks about though. It makes sense from a marketting standpoint, it’s a simpler way of talking about repeat customers, but it feels sort of condescending when applied directly to me. It’s not unlike how I know that to my boss’s boss’s boss I’m just a number in his report, but if he’s going to meet me, he ought to at least put on an appearance to me that I’m more than that. Keep the marketting terms in those meetings, and treat the customers like people.

But really, loyalty to a brand is a measure of preference, convenience, cost and, to some extent, momentum. If any of those factors get out of wack, I’ll swap. It’s not like my family where, even if they’re a pain in the ass, I’ll still be there for them.

Here I thought you were talking about corporate loyalty in the sense of employees’ required loyalty to their employer, of course without the slightest expectation of loyalty in return.

Welcome to Costco, I love you.

I thought the OP was about employees being expected to be loyal to the company when the feeling is not mutual. That gets on my nerves (at my old job that I left the company was using the bad economy to drive down wages and benefits despite company profits being in the billions. Loyalty was a one way street there and I’m glad I’m gone).

But as far as brands I actually buy, no I don’t mind. If I stick with a company it is usually because their quality and/or prices are high and if they want feedback on how to improve their services then that is fine.

I’m with Dogzilla and Wesley Clark, meaning I thought that is what the thread would be about. I also feel as they do.

So often we are told “We couldn’t do it without you.” They are fond of not replacing those who walk or get fired, so actually yes, they could do it without us I guess. Did I mention those who walked were fed up with being treated poorly, overworked and underpaid? Or that most of the fired ones were not liked by the boss? Trust me, I could go on. Their “loyalty” is me needing a paycheck, and no more.

I’m not in the habit of giving loyalty to soulless sociopaths, but I do–of necessity–engage in financial transactions with some of them. This applies to the sociopathic amalgam I work for* and the ones I purchase things from. I have precisely as much loyalty to them as they have to me.

I don’t get particularly offended when companies talk about “loyalty”. I expect facile, self-serving lies from them. It’s what they do. They could probably phrase it more effectively than they do, though.

*I have a certain amount of personal loyalty to a few of the people I work with, but that’s about it.

Your ‘loyalty’ with a third party is loosely defined. You’re correct in that it is really just business (something that can be ‘managed.’) More idiotic, IMHO, is loyaly to one’s employer. Loyalty to one’s boss is the boss’ invention, meant to put an employee at a disadvantage.