Brand Loyalty Is An Attitude And Attitudes Are Resiliant

PORTLAND–Bob Hoffman, CEO of San Francisco-based Hoffman/Lewis, and I had coffee this morning at Stumptown’s downtown location.
Hoffman’s a fun guy to be around, especially if you enjoy discussing advertising over coffee, which of course I do. While it was early on a Saturday morning and the man may not have been prepared for a hard serve, I sent one his way (I’m like that).
“Bob, you argue for the elimination of meaningless jargon and hollow cliches, yet you create your own jargon when you package something like ‘Performance Based Advertising’.”
“Yes, it’s jargon,” he admitted, “but it’s helpful to brand the agency’s process and talk about it in this way.”
Fair enough. We then discussed one of the finer points in his agency’s strategic approach to the business. Hoffman believes advertising needs to change behavior, not attitudes.
I said seems like it would be much harder to change one’s behavior, versus one’s attitude. Hoffman vigorously disagreed. He said it’s easier to change one’s behavior. He said if a person is a Yankees fan (not a Mets fan) or prefers Coke (not Pepsi), it’s next to impossible to move them off that position and the only way to do so is to induce trial. In other words, there’s no opportunity to build a brand until the product or service is purchased and experienced.
Hoffman’s point is purely logical and I don’t argue with it. However, I will add that building the brand and driving people to purchase are two sides of one coin. Deciding which is more important is irrelevant. It’s one coin, indivisible.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. DB:
    Just a point of clarification.
    It’s not impossible to change attitudes, it’s just difficult, expensive, and time consuming. It’s far easier to change a behavior. And if you can change a behavior, an attitude change often follows.
    The way we sum it up is like this: the best way to build a brand is to sell someone something.