Insights / Branding
“Oh, I don’t want those shoes. I’m more of an Adidas kind of guy.”
Ever heard someone say something like that? They rejected a perfectly functional and high quality product in favour of one from another brand, despite the plethora of similarities between both those products. This article will delve into explaining this phenomenon and sharing some tips and tricks on how you can achieve it for the advantage of your brand!
What is “brand loyalty”? What does it do for your brand?
Brand loyalty is more than just repeated purchases from a customer. Rather, it also refers to their view of a particular brand as better than its competitors in terms of quality and perhaps even value.
What many people understand as brand loyalty is actually another concept called customer loyalty. The main difference between them is that customer loyalty is dictated by price, while brand loyalty is achieved through the positive perception of a brand.
For example, customer loyalty would mean that customers make repeated purchases from a brand because they have good deals and promotions, but brand loyalty would see purchases coming in regardless of price because people have a trust for the brand to deliver better products or services than others. This trust stems from the emotional connection they’ve formed with the brand.
Brand loyalty is a powerful tool, in that it helps with customer retention, avoiding the dreadful churn that often happens with brand agnostic consumers. Additionally, it saves costs in the long-run as it would require less advertising to sell an idea, product or service to brand loyal customers. The profit margin on purchases from these customers also tend to be more substantial in comparison to the average purchase.
How Can I Instill Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty begins from forming a positive experience for your customers in relation to your brand, so much so that the selection of your brand eventually becomes an automatic response in the future. This is because neural pathways in our brain become more efficient in identifying what brings us joy over time.
But in order to form a strong positive experience for your customer, it takes more than having great products. Here are some of the steps you’ll need to take:
1. Know, understand and cater to your customers
- What makes your customers excited?
- What are their preferences? Dislikes?
- Any particular needs in this current moment?
- Do they have any common values or beliefs with your brand?
If you want to keep your customers, you need to know them. Understand their lifestyle and consumer behaviours and patterns to get a clearer picture on how you can position yourself to approach them. Again, a positive experience needs to be formed with your brand in order to spark brand loyalty and memorability, which means you’ll need to know what they desire and give it to them.
Conducting research on your target market is crucial and could be done through a variety of means such as surveys, focus groups, or even observing other successful brands that are in the same industry as yours. When you’re proactive in recognizing your customers’ needs, you’ll then be able to effectively and creatively cater to them, fostering mutual value exchange.
Take Netflix for example. Aside from having lots of thrilling original content and a great user interface, this streaming service has a fantastic understanding of their users. One of the biggest reasons customers are loyal to Netflix is because the brand engages with them in a relatable and fun way, maintaining this consistent brand voice across all social media platforms.
2. Stand out and differentiate
In this competitive climate, it’s sometimes not enough to just be “as good as everyone else”. In order to add perceived value to your brand, it's important to present yourself in a way that makes customers think you can offer them what your competition can't. You may do this by focusing on what your brand does best and then emphasizing on it as your USP to create differentiation from other brands.
Another way to stand out is to ensure your visual identity does too! Be eye-catching with your logo design, media content and in your products and services. Your uniqueness will be sure to turn heads, capture attention, and keep customers hooked if they feel like it’s something they can’t get anywhere else. Just be careful to stay consistent with your core brand message and how you present yourself!
3. Offer an experience and identity
Apart from offering them something special in your products and services, customers would also be more likely to stay if they feel like they’ve become a “new person” because of your brand. If done right, your customers would feel as though your brand has become a part of their personal identity as they’ve discovered a new part of themselves through you.
Do the terms “VSCO girl” and “Insta babes” ring a bell? They are used to refer to particular groups of people who follow a certain lifestyle and wear particular types of clothes in association with the aesthetics of those brands. In wanting to emulate the essence and identity of those brands, people label themselves in relation to them and make it a part of their own identity.
Another good example of this would be fandoms. Some people might “stan” a particular celebrity, group or even company so much that they turn completely against any other competing forces. It becomes part of their identity to be a defender of the entity that they support. Especially apparent examples would be in certain portions of Korean pop group fandoms and in those who are passionately involved in the Marvel vs. DC quarrel.
4. Build a community with your customers
Identity is often reinforced by a sense of belonging, and your customers would have extra reason to stay loyal if they felt as though they were a part of your community. There are 2 types of community your brand should consider fostering:
I) Community directly with your brand
II) Community amongst customers / fans of your brand
Before you can achieve the latter, you would first have to build a direct relationship with your customers by becoming a true partner. This is done by getting as personal with them as possible; staying connected between projects and interacting with them across platforms, promotional events, campaigns and so on. Make your customer your friend and you’ll begin to see their level of commitment rise.
Following that, it would be a big plus to have customers motivating each other in their zeal for your brand and what you offer, aside from having to take matters into your own hands. When customers feel strongly about your brand, they might feel the urge to share in that joy with others. That’s where your brand could foster connections within your customer base by finding ways to connect them with one another, whether in events, social media or in online forums.
5. Show that you care
We all want friends who care about our wellbeing and celebrate our victories. The same thing applies to your customers. Show them that your brand is actively rooting for their betterment and wants to contribute to making them succeed. These kinds of campaigns can even be done with a non-brand-related subject matter if you think that it speaks a powerful message to your target market.
Take Dove as a fantastic example of this. The multinational brand that mostly offers hygiene care products has embarked on several campaigns that set out to transform society’s perception of beauty and the damages that come with it. As shown above, their self-esteem project aimed to inspire young women to love the way they look in spite of the growing pressures of social media. It also encouraged parents and youth leaders to have conversations with young ones in order to reverse the negative effects that have been caused by the distorted lens on beauty. Many customers loved the message coming from this well-known brand and quickly championed it, forming a positive association with Dove as they felt seen, understood and uplifted.
Brand loyalty requires a brand to be proactive in adapting to customers needs and wants. If you present yourself as a brand that grows alongside them and who’s constantly cheering them on, then the chances are they'll keep you around for the long-haul. If you need help building up your brand into one that customers will trust, wait no longer! Contact a branding agency and get connected with your customers.