I don’t usually think of myself as particularly brand-loyal. Something I did this weekend has me thinking otherwise.
Rachel and I were in Arlington for my parent’s 50th anniversary, and, upon checking into the hotel Thursday night, realized we had forgotten to bring toothpaste. I went on a quick quest for toothpaste.
As I pulled into the nearest convenience store parking lot, content to by whatever brand of toothpaste they carried at whatever price. As soon as I was off the road, I noticed a QuikTrip across the intersection from the Valero into which I had turned.
I pulled back onto the street, waiting through the traffic light cycle, and went to QuikTrip for my toothpaste purchase.
Why would I choose QuikTrip over Valero for toothpaste?
The only explanation I have is that my experience with QuikTrip is always satisfactory. They always price their gas competitively, and upon entering the store, I know exactly what to expect. Every QuikTrip I have been in has greeted me with a nearly identical interior and friendly, eager-to-help employees.
My brand-favoritism of QuikTrip over Valero has almost nothing to do with Valero; it is all about my positive experiences with QuikTrip.
They’ve been telling us in Church Growth workshops over the past 2 decades that the Americans have less brand loyalty than they used to when it comes to church or denominational membership. It seems to me we in the church have often read this as indicating that some other churches are offering better experiences or fresher, more relevant presentations of the Gospel.
I can’t help but think, on the heels of my Valero/QuikTrip experience, that what we (as United Methodists; though the same would hold true for any group) ought be doing is shoring up a reality that in any United Methodist Church anyone visited anywhere, they would have a common, recognizable experience, and that would be an experience they would want to come back for.