, Loyalty


Loyalty not often this permanent.

An article written by Martin O’Neill in 2018 but just as relevant now.

Words have a life of their own and come in and out of vogue.

Nowadays when I hear a word like loyalty I tend to think of a stamped card from a coffee shop or something similar.

Loyalty has been defined as a strong feeling of support or allegiance.

This however appears to be absent in a work place where the millennials are expected to hold 15-20 jobs in their lifetime.

But then, who needs a gold watch when you wouldn’t wear one and your phone is your time piece anyway?

It is difficult to buy software outright anymore. Loyalty is enforced by monthly rental fees.

Brand loyalty exists, but it hovers in a twilight, bewildered by rampant counterfeiting and price cutting.

Nowadays it not so much the word that is threatened but the concept and how to inspire it.

Today I met with a client from 11 years ago.

Most of the products we sell are designed to last-an old fashioned concept in itself, and although we do get a lot of repeat business and referrals and we sell a little Rozzie or Dirty Di and similar expendables it is unusual and gratifying to get a repeat over 10 years later.

To be honest it was a little emotional. I was revisiting one of the first full studio fit-outs we had ever done, and it bought with it a flood of memories; such as the mad beautician women next door making sound complaints even after we had far exceeded the building code. The subsequent soundproofing limiting the natural degassing of the vinyl, the “new car” smell creating havoc with a newly pregnant client. A reminder of the 200mm difference over the span of the floor; but better the catch up, the how and what are your kids doing, the where did the time go, a little gossip, and above all a sense of community. A reminder that we are of the same tribe in a sense.

Perhaps there-in lies a key. In a world where you can google the best price on anything and buy direct from China, after shopping with a mobile phone spy camera, among those crazy enough to hold stock for the touchy/feely moment then loyalty will never be a price driven thing.

It is the humanness that we have to hang onto in a technology driven world, so we don’t become avatars of ourselves and lose the belonging to our chosen tribes. Being loyal to that tribe may have to become part of our survival strategy.

It has apparently worked for dogs over time, not the humanness part but the supposed loyalty thing. I have reservations about this. When I came home after 6 years of vagabonding, Tigga our family dog, who used to go everywhere with me, seized the moment and bit me hard enough to draw blood. Maybe his loyalty had transferred to my long-suffering Mum. Maybe it was a small dog tribal initiation. Maybe he was just pissed off I hadn’t taken him with me. Loyalty after all is a two-way thing.

Either way, in this instance, loyalty was a confused question and is increasingly so in our changing world. Is playing Runescape being disloyal to your World of Warcraft guild? Probably.

Is shopping at DJs a slap in the face of your Myer card?


If you want a total loyalty meltdown take a look at teenagers and social media platforms.

So, this morning for me, a decreasingly familiar taste of old fashioned loyalty was a warm and fuzzy blast of goodness.

Thank you for that Suzanne.

Martin O’Neill

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