Want Brand loyalty? Go to the Dogs!

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Can we really learn about brand loyalty by observing dogs? Sure. Check out this blog post and see if we did it!

Have you ever heard of Hachiko?

Hachiko was the Akita of Professor Eizaburo Ueno. They lived in this little neighborhood of Tokyo called Shibuya. This is back in the early 1920’s. Ueno and Hachiko would walk to the train station every morning where Ueno would take the train to work.

And like clockwork, Ueno would return home on the 3pm train.

And like clockwork, Hachiko would be there waiting for him when he stepped off the locomotive. Every day. For years. Until May 21st, 1925.

While teaching his class, Professor Ueno had a sudden stroke. Expiring shortly thereafter.

At 3pm that day, Hachiko waited for his best-friend to step off the train.

At 3pm the next day, Hachiko was there again, waiting.

Hachiko would show up at Shibuya Station at 3pm, every day, for years, hoping today would be the day his loyal companion would return.

Hachiko did this until the day of his own departure — March 8th, 1935.

Cesar Milan, the man many of us know as the “Dog Whisperer” says, “Dogs want to love and be loved, which I think deep down is what all of us want.”

When I saw a recent survey stating 53% of consumers would be willing to pay a premium for a product they were loyal to—my response was, of course! Loyal customers show up, religiously, what they love.

• Coffee
• Cake
• Coffee cake
• And more…

And when it’s gone because:

• Product no longer exists
• Store closed
• Ran out of coffee cake
• And more…

We show up, exchange currency, and satiate this feeling of being loved by something.

And because of this, we love it back.

The purpose of this blog is to show you, dogs aren’t the only ones who are intensely loyal. This blog will provide you a couple simple ways, how you can create a loyal customer base by doing a couple simple things.

What are they?

How do you get this potential customer, client, investor to drive off the cliff Thelma and Louise style with you?

First, be responsive.

Responsiveness = Making people feel special.

People want to feel important.

  • When we call customer service because our bill is magically higher this month, we want customer service to feel our frustration.
  • When our hot water heater explodes, we want the plumber to sympathize with the fact your standing in two feet of water.

And we want it as soon as humanly possible.

And it’s you who is being instantly responsive. Not some automated “Hi, this is Becky, I’ll get back to you in a moment”chatbox crap. Be instantly responsive.

Let the person contacting you feel like the most damn special human on this here Earth.

You do that, you just took a step towards kinship and a step away from everyone else.

A kinship which is earned, not entitled. A step towards making that customer and/or client feel loved. Which, deep down, they all kinda want?

Kinda like a dog.

(Now, let’s get something established for those of you who may have let your minds drift here — I’m not comparing you or your clientele to dogs. I’m providing a simple innate quality both the canines and homo-sapiens possess.)

Recently, I approached Jon Gicewicz, owner and chief designer for  JEG DESIGN INC about loyalty. I don’t think I was even close to finishing the sentence before he excitedly jumped it:

Me: “Jon, what do you think about loyalty and…”

Him: “Dude! So funny you say that!” (If you know Jon, the exclamation points are not overused.)

Him (cont.): “Just the other day, one of my clients re-signed with me because of, and I quote, loyalty!”

Me: “Why?!?!” (If you know me, you know, without question, the exclamation points are not even close to exaggerated. Plus Jon and I are probably both deaf from so many Phish concerts. Our conversations are really loud. Hippies.)

Him: “Responsiveness!”

When someone emails Jon, he instantly responds back. His responses are not long, actually, it’s quite rare when one of his responses ever exceed a simple, “Got it!”

Because they don’t have to.

The moment the customer and/or client see an email, text, or returned call, that moment, their “I am special” balloon is inflated. That’s all they want. They just want Jon to acknowledge their issue. Which he does. And when he can, he will address it.

You love them, and they’ll love you.


However, the desire to love and be loved isn’t the only commonality you share with your fluffy Fido.

Pack Rats (Not really)

Why is it that dogs, when presented with their new home, are tentative and timid?

There are a variety of variables, but which is undeniable is being taken from their litter, their family, their pack.

Cesar Milan explains that dogs want to be a part of a pack. They have to be a part of something.

“Dogs aren’t loners. When they lose a member of a pack, even temporarily, they feel that a part of them is missing.”

When people buy into a product line or proudly exclaim their usage of a certain service, they’re a part of the culture. They’re part of a pack.

How does Jon Gicewicz obtain the mass majority of new clientele?

Him: “Referrals.”

Me: “What do they say?”

Him: “I bust my ass for my clients, and I’m a stand-up guy.”

Me: “You made up that last part, didn’t you?”

Him: “They also think I’m handsome.”


Jon is referred to by his clients as “their guy”.

Like the mechanic you trust. “Go to my guy, he’s da best! Tell em’ Joey sent ya.”

(You know, in case you’re friends with Joey from, well, “Friends.” I mean, aren’t we all friends with Joey Tribbiani? I digress. I’m not paid on a word-count. Hand to God…)

Here’s the point, when you do your job well, people like associating themselves with you. They proudly proclaim working with you. It makes them feel and look smart.

Hell, it’s why there are so many Patriots, Yankee, Red Sox, Golden State Warrior fans. (Mets, not so much.)

It’s because people like being associated winners.

And it doesn’t have to be just sports. Because, and here are the lasting images I want to provide you with…

If you brand your service correctly, by serving your customers properly…

You won’t have to brand your customer, they’ll brand themselves.

Professor Ueno earned his dog’s loyalty.

By doing right by the dog, the dog would never forget it and him. For less than two years, the professor loved his Akita. And that Akita devoted the remainder of his days to him.

If you do right by your customers or clients, by responding to them instantly and directy, by creating breaking your hump to make those who work with you feel wise for doing so.

They not only will never forget, they’ll let their family and friends know…For years to come…

It DOES happen. It’s happened for years before us and it will for years beyond…

Why not you?!? (Jon and I yelling simultaneously. We’re so loud.)

To find out why Jon Gicewicz has collected his own personal little fan base, contact him today for your free estimate.

And be sure to mention his dogs, he just loves his dogs…


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Written By Keith Hannigan

Keith has over a 11 years of copywriting experience and has been blogging for companies in the advertising, design, boating, and marketing industry. For examples of his work or to contact him with any questions, please email Keith at [email protected]