Saturday, July 26, 2008

How Wisk Laundry Detergent Lost My Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is something companies desperately want. It means that you will only buy their product in that category of thing. I'm brand loyal to very few things - Wisk laundry detergent, Heinz catsup, Tampax tampons and Jif extra crunchy peanut butter. I know it's not a long list, but I am fiercely loyal to those things - would never buy another brand - even if they were selling it for a penny.

However, I recently bought something other than Wisk, and I can't imagine I'll ever go back. What happened to make me stop after 20 or 25 years of buying only Wisk? Was I unhappy with the product itself? No. I was unhappy with their lack of commitment to the environment.

A few months ago they, along with other companies, came out with triple strength detergents. That meant smaller bottles and less packaging ending up in the landfill. Then, almost as suddenly. the triple strength disappeared and only double strength was available again. I've been waiting for the 3x to come back and have given up. Their website says it's available but if I can't actually purchase it at my local store it doesn't matter that it may still be manufactured somewhere. And, frankly, I'm not keen on the idea of continuing to manufacture the lower strenghts when it's not necessary.

So, I looked at the choices on the shelf and bought All because it was one that was triple strength. Wisk has lost my business. Of course, I'm only one customer and I doubt very seriously they care they've lost my $5 worth of detergent purchases every 2-3 months. But, if I'm really serious about doing what's good for the environment I cannot buy a product that is generating more waste than is necessary. I can either be serious about doing what I can in my personal life or I can blather on about it and continue to spend my money on products that aren't doing all they can. I'm choosing to be serious.

Of course, the main reason they won't care about my business is that Wisk and All are both manufactured by Unilever. So, the same company is getting my money in the end anyway. Can you say conglomerate?

Of course, the danger to them is that I have no brand loyalty to All yet. And that's not something any company wants to hear, because I could wander down the aisle and buy something from another company. They want to engender brand loyalty above all. But, All does offer a coupon for a $1 off on their website, so they'll probably get me to buy at least one more bottle.

Have I ever mentioned my somewhat unnatural love of coupons? I think it's just the coolest thing to get money off of something I'm going to be buying anyway. I don't use them nearly as much as I would - just because I don't get them very often - but this one conveniently printed out at my elbow. Coupons are one of the ways companies get you to try new things, and try to build brand loyalty of ones you're already using.

Oh, and as usual, the regular disclaimer - I'm not a blog whore - and when I write about a product here it's genuine and not because someone is paying me for it. If I'm getting perks for writing something about a company or product or whatever I'll be very clear about that - so far no one has been banging down my cyber-door, asking me to tout their products. The only perk I'm getting is the same coupon you can get by following the link above.
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Anonymous said...

In 2005, Unilever partnered with Walmart to reduce packaging of All detergent. In February 2006, 3 times concentrated All detergent came along.

Walmart then expanded it's program to all their detergent supplies and as of May 2008, they announced they'd only sell concentrated detergent.

Walmart has been leading the green drive for several years now. Pretty much across the board with everything they sell.

It gives them good press as well as decreases the loads their trucks carry from distribution center to stores. Less packaging also requires less shelf space for them, less labor to put up the concentrated products and I'm guessing less trash to recycle or dispose of.

It's a win-win situation for both Walmart and environmentalists/ conservationists.

It's driving the industry. Just as when Walmart made the decision a couple of years back to only sell the spiral energy saver lightbulbs from then on. As soon as Walmart made that decision, the higher energy use lightbulbs weren't stocked anywhere but the clearance places.

I'm guessing that if Walmart decides it'll only sell triple concentrated detergent, the triple Wisk will come back.

Patsy Terrell said...

It's nice to see someone else give Walmart some credit for what they do for the environment. I'll probably just use different things until I find something that really strikes me. But, the loyalty is gone now. That's the tricky thing with brand loyalty - once it's broken, it's done with. Companies employ hundreds of people to tell them this and, apparently, ignore the advice. Of course, I could be the only person on the planet who cares about this 3x vs. 2x wisk thing! :)