Brand Loyalty and The People Who Identify with One or the Other

Ever feel like sometimes there are camps of loyal brand followers?

I’ll readily admit that I only drink hot drinks from Starbucks and not from Tim Horton’s.

Note to all non-Canadians:

I believe that Tim Horton’s is the brand equivalent to Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S.

We also have other chains like Second Cup, Bridgehead and alternative coffee shops, but Tim Horton’s and Starbucks are the two major corporations here.

Tim Horton is the name of a famous Canadian hockey player. The chain used to be American-owned (by Wendy’s) but not any longer.

To be fair, I don’t drink coffee, and I don’t like the alternate hot drink selections they have at Tim Horton’s, so if there isn’t a Starbucks around, I just won’t have anything.

(Even Second Cup, or any of those other chains can’t seem to make a decent tea latte to save their business).

But what I really mean is do you ever feel like people fall into one camp or the other?

We identify with brands so much that it becomes  a stereotype of sorts. Think of Apple.

Look how loyal some people are to the brand (BF is an Apple fanboy, whereas I am more fickle).

(Disclaimer: This is just what it seems to be not what it actually is. I have no stats, this is just from talking to co-workers and friends).

Tim Hortons’ drinkers seem to be characterized as being very loyal to Canada, working class folk who just want a normal cup of coffee.

Starbucks drinkers seem to be characterized as too-rich yuppies who wear power suits, are always on their smartphones and have too much money to burn to pay for such overpriced, gourmet coffee.

Neither stereotype is flattering, but it made me wonder why people may have such perceptions about each brand and I came up with some factors:

  • price of the coffee — $1.00 range versus $3.00 at Starbucks
  • marketing/positioning of the brands (see commercials & ads)
  • popularization by the media as celebrities tend to always have a Bux Cup*
  • variety of drinks and flavourings
  • ordering is simple & straightforward vs. varied & complicated
  • the people who frequent the place — a class/social image and status thing perhaps?
*Bux = Starbucks

As mentioned above, I am a Starbucks drinker because I prefer having soy instead of milk in my drink, I really love their chai and green tea lattes.

I’ve tried all types of non-coffee hot drinks at Tim Horton’s, and I’ve found them too overly sweet, powdery, watery and not as rich or as intense as what you can get from the syrups from Starbucks non-coffee drinks.

I am not a coffee drinker but I am told by Starbucks coffee lovers that Starbucks is way more intense in flavour, and what they’d expect of really good coffee.

Tim Hortons’ coffee lovers will tell you that Starbucks is too strong, and they prefer the flavour/blend of the Tim’s cups. People will SWEAR by their “cup of Timmies” and refuse to drink coffee anywhere else.

Both “camps” are extremely loyal to their brands and will argue late into the night over which cup tastes better.

What do you think? Are there coffee and brand camps?

And Is there a class divide or am I imagining it?

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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.