Disloyal Bonding

By Jeremy Blake on December 19, 2019

I ask the person handing me the coffee cup, “are your lids compostable?”  “I have no idea,” comes the reply.  I check the lid. 100% Compostable reads the embossed vegware.  “They are” I say!  “Oh, we don’t recycle anything here, it all just goes in one big bin,” accompanied by their eyes rising to heaven expression.

A few days later, I’m looking at a shirt in a clothes shop, as I pull out the shirt and look at the tag, which reads £78, I breathe inwards and hold it at the distance long sighted people do to read menus.  I am approached by a man with a slow theatrical walk, “hang on a week or two, they’ll be at least 20% off, come back then, there’ll be some left.”

These are just two examples of what I like to call disloyal bonding. Believing I will warm to them and therefore the brand.

It is a growing example of attempts of many people to bond with customers. These people don’t like their companies enough, or more likely don’t value the products and service they are paid to sell and serve.

Instead of bonding, it has the reverse effect on me and I wonder why they work there, what they really care about and how does recruitment and of course, training and people development happen in these places!?

The 1970’s “I only work here” signs in offices mildly humorous at the time, are now of another age. The fact the accounts payable department didn’t know what operations was up to is rather different to hundreds of people telling you that they don’t value their clothes, coffee or whatever else they are serving/selling.

And that’s the issue; they are not serving in the true meaning of the word and if they were selling, they should steer the conversation to find out what I value, to see how they can help with that.

Disloyal Bonding is a cheap short cut that takes you off the road to purchasing or repurchasing, from companies large or small.

If disloyal bonding exists in your organisation then you need to get under the culture to find out why it is there.

Are people unhappy, underpaid, overworked, misunderstood, bored, not recognised for what they do, unable to have any variety in their work?

Are their managers feeling all of these things too and that is why the disloyal bonding virus is catching?

I think it is very dangerous and like any epidemic it needs to be treated, fast.