The man who drove 1,400 miles for his favorite pizza. Now, that's brand loyalty.

Pizzas
Pizza is without a doubt my favorite food. Veggie, meat lover’s, Hawaiian or just good ole cheese – I’d take em all.

So, if anyone could understand this bizarre story – a man’s 24 hour journey for pizza, it would be me.

However, I must admit, even this is beyond me. A Mississippi man literally drove for 24 hours -- 1,400 miles to Town Spa Pizza in Stoughton, MA to buy pizza he grew up eating as a boy. The man returned home carrying 150 pizzas in his trunk which he then shared with his family and friends back in Mississippi. And what’s more is that this isn’t the first time he’s done this either. In fact, the man says he's got the process and packaging down to a science.

My first thought? Brand loyalty at its best. There are certain brands out there that have established an amazing sense of loyalty from customers; a loyalty where customers inconvenience themselves and go to great lengths for their beloved brand. If you think about it, this is pretty powerful seeing as inconvenience is something we as consumers absolutely hate.

So what’s the secret sauce (no pun intended)? How can companies get this type of brand loyalty for their products and services? It seems this is the very question companies, advertisers, marketers and PR people have been trying to answer for decades and have made little progress. I don’t think there is a single answer.  However, there is a foundation that must be laid; something that must be present for a brand to see any type of loyalty -- and that is quality. It sounds simple but it’s true. You have to consistently put out a good, quality product before you begin to build any type of loyalty.

So why did this man travel 1,400 miles just for pizza? Is the pizza that good? Better than any other joint within a 1,400 radius? Or, is the reason more deep-seated? Does the pizza taste that much better to him because he associates it with fond childhood memories? It’s hard to say, but I would guess it may be a combination of the two. But, at the same time, I would be very surprised if the pizza itself was not a high quality product.

This brings me to my next point; the power of public relations. Yes, I’ll stand by my conviction that no brand will ever gain loyalty with the absence of quality. However, how many people after reading this article will now make their way to Town Spa Pizza (including myself – did I mention I love pizza?) to see for themselves if this pizza is worth a 24 hour drive? My guess is that there will be quite a few.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this pizza place sees a flurry of new customers and an uptick in sales because of this article.  PR and advertising can do wonders building up brands and companies. However, we must not forget, when it comes down to it, even the best marketing tactics can’t make up for lack of quality.  

Contribued by Jessica Boardman. Follow her @J_Boardman