We don’t buy brands we don’t like. Or do we?

My growing dislike of the UBER brand – thanks to recent allegations of sexism in the workplace, piled on top of previous negative commentary, criminal activity and other scandals – has yet to dent my usage: UBER remains my go-to for travel around Hanoi.

But if I don’t like the brand, why am I still using it? Surely, I should be booting it out of my repertoire and sticking with the private transport brands that I do like? Those that reflect my values and that I feel good about using.

Because, while emotionally UBER leaves me cold, functionally it’s still (usually) delivering. It’s easier to book than a taxi and gets me from A to B in relative comfort at a good price. So functionally, what’s not to like?

The problem is that functional attributes don’t make for a long-lasting relationship. Other brands can copy products and services, or improve on them, so to ensure loyalty – and the profitability that comes with it – brands must connect with their customers emotionally. They have to tap into an emotional need and deliver in a way that makes them a “brand for me”. That’s much harder for customers to walk away from when another brand jumps into the market place.

Of course, UBER has competitors, but in Hanoi at least, no brand has managed to offer both the functional benefits and the “likeable” brand. But that could change, and I hope it does, because until then I’ll continue to sell-out and hop into UBERs, but I don’t like myself for it.

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