Brand loyalty the gem of all gems. Repeat customers who without thinking twice or even considering other options are the cream of the crop. Every business aspires to be the “go to” and have that loyalty. Loyalty is built based upon relationships and a sense of belonging. Relationships are built from trust which are stemmed from conversation, exceptional customer service, a website or store that has the product/service desired easily accessible with a trustworthy check out. The conversation cannot be built without awareness and a willingness to buy OR be a part of. I stress the being a part of as there is an emotional connection of being a part of, interacting with the overall experience. Brand loyalty comes in different forms and is spread across various industries. Sports teams, we associate with a team that we like and become a part of a group. We support that team and bleed their colors. Why? We do not know them but yet we watch them religiously, wear their jerseys like a badge of honor and act as if we played a role in their performance. What happens when they are not doing well? Some abandon, others stay and hope for the next season. There is an emotional connection to the team and with all the other fans as we form a bond by association. Authors, we await their next book and rush out to get it. Why? We anticipate that it will meet our expectations and want it to as we feel connected to them through their writing. We are not wearing their jersey and high fiving each other with each chapter and yelling at the book to perform better but yet we feel connected to the author and other readers. As we start to think about the tools whether traditional advertising or social media that we can utilize to create brand loyalty we need to examine how we can create the loyalty by utilizing the tools.
6 Ways to Create Brand Loyalty
1. Be Better than Anyone. What is your one thing and how can you do it better than anyone? This is not to say to only have one product but more to focus on what you really do better than anyone else. Being better than anyone else does not allow for consumers to consider alternatives as they know that they cannot receive what they get with you elsewhere. Chris Brogan says it best in his Do One Thing Very Well post.
2. Belonging. Create a sense of belonging whether it be via a “community” that is exclusive to your brand to give people a reason to want to wear that badge. Answer why should they be associated with you and loyal to you. Go beyond the we have a great product and identify why people would want everyone to know that they are connected to you.
3. Credibility. This is more than doing what you say you will or a product that does what you say it will. Remember we are talking about how to build loyalty with the tools available. You may have a great product, message but your marketing materials are photo copied or a profile that is a template and not reflective of your brand identity. Well done, aesthetically pleasing and user focused organized websites, materials and profiles give a sense of credibility which leads to trust.
4. Accessibility. This ties into belonging as if the “right” person is accessible, people want to be a part of that to say that they “know” this person or the CEO of the company reached out to me. This is where the humanization of the brand comes in as we are able to connect and really let people know that behind the brand is a consumer, family man/woman, etc who eats lunch, drinks coffee, etc.
5. Connectionability. How do you speak to your audience? Learn to talk like they do or teach them how you want them to talk about you. This is widely used with tag lines and the brand message however there are times that a brand takes on a new “language” that is driven by the audience. Know this and adopt it (so long as it is what your brand represents). Outside Nevada, it is pronounced Na-vah-da where locally it is Neh-vada. While some may use the outside version locally to grab attention, the focus goes off of the product/service and becomes about how the name is not pronounced properly.
6. Repeat. Stay on top of what consumers are saying and avoid being stale or changing too fast. Brands have a very long shelf life and those that are on top of where change or the shift in the mindset of consumers are able to adapt and maintain loyal customers. Be proactive and not reactive to try and pull people back as once they are gone, they are gone.
Brand loyalty is more than the product itself. Yes, it has to perform well, actually better than any alternative so there is no alternative in the mind of the consumer but place this more in the aspect of behavior. Socially how does your product fit into their social development and why should it? Why should they want to be a part of your brand and what emotionally will they gain? In some areas it will be the perceived value vs the quality (think laundry detergent) where with a television show it is about the connection to the characters and the plot.
What have you done to create brand loyalty? Is brand loyalty more about perception and being socially acceptable than it is about the product/service itself?
photo credit: Muffet