WHAT IS BRAND LOYALTY?
Brand loyalty is a customer commitment to repeatedly buy specific products from a particular brand or business. This emotionally charged act extends to services, goods, and spreading a positive message through word of mouth. When we think of a brand, it is both the conscious and subconscious feelings conjured that drive us to complete a purchase, not necessarily relevant factors like price, availability, or functionality.
If a company can evoke a positive emotional response when marketing a product, either through securing a new customer or encouraging repeat transactions, then you have achieved brand loyalty. Think of popular brands like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Apple or Microsoft. What images, thoughts, and feelings come to mind when you think about each brand? The answer will vary based on your own beliefs and values.
The answer to why consumers have developed loyalty to different brands lies in psychological reasoning. This can be split into two components; “attitudinal” defines our willingness to buy a product, while “behavioural” loyalty triggers repeat purchases.
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UNDERSTANDING WHAT DRIVES BRAND LOYALTY
The most critical factors for brand loyalty are beliefs and attitudes, and both are attitudinal components. It does not matter if either is based on fact or perception, they will inadvertently shape the way we view brands. The process of psychological reasoning takes into account our attitudes toward a brand before making a judgment or decision on whether to buy. We see brands as an extension of our identity and enjoy feeling part of something. A study from The European Journal of Social Psychology discovered that belonging to a group affects our decision-making in favour of the group we associate with, be it social or cultural.
If our attitude is positive and a brand shares our values, our commitment will continue, at least until our values change over time, or until the brand fails to reward our loyalty. By compounding a poor reward system with increasing prices or unsatisfactory service, brand loyalty can be easily lost. Many of us know brand loyalty is beneficial, but just how good can it be?
LONG-TERM BENEFITS EXIST FOR THOSE WHO BUILD BRAND LOYALTY
The ROI of brand loyalty can be difficult to quantify, mainly because of the length of time it takes to become established. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth investment—quite the opposite in fact.
Brand loyalty can lower the cost of acquiring new customers because your most loyal consumers do the legwork for you. They become your most prominent advocates, promoting your brand. Their loyalty is not only valuable as a means of generating business, but their continued support is also cheaper to maintain—the direct result of behavioural loyalty. Long-term brand loyalty has also shown the ability to:
- Grant a competitive edge, securing your company’s position
- Make launching new products easier; they are granted a greater level of acceptance
- Allow increases in price without negatively impacting sales
ENCOURAGING BRAND LOYALTY
Understanding the importance of brand loyalty is one aspect; the real challenge is encouraging loyalty in the first place. Building a loyal consumer base is an integral part of any successful business.
1: CREATE CONSISTENT, EASY TO REACH CONTENT
If a product is easy to reach, easy to read, and easy to understand, then you are already halfway to achieving brand loyalty. Simplicity is nearly always favoured by consumers. Therefore, all content—be it via a website, traditional media, or on social media—should be packed with the values your company holds in a simple and easily digestible format. That extends to the style, how it is formatted, and choice of topic.
2: LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Some companies offer a loyalty program for loyalty’s sake. While it is true that such initiatives encourage repeat purchases, if the rewards are short-lived, or disproportionate to the products or services being bought, then they will be a wasted investment. Here are three pivotal ways you can make loyalty programs work for you.
- Reinvest in schemes that go the extra mile for your most loyal customers
- Build partnerships with other businesses to offer diverse and unique benefits
- Make acquisition of loyalty points part of the entire customer experience
3: DEFINE YOUR ENEMY
Before applying the war paint, defining an enemy isn’t about a relentless assault on your closest competitor. Instead, it is about identifying the difference between you and another company to emphasise the values of your own business. A classic example of a marketing campaign focussed on defining an enemy comes from Apple circa 1984.
Apple portrayed themselves as cool, young, and trendy, while Microsoft was boring and dull. Not to say Microsoft was a terrible company, but consumers could clearly see the difference in Apple’s values to Microsoft, at least from Apple’s point of view. The marketing made it easy for consumers to define their own brand loyalty and pick a group to associate with.
4: PICK A CELEBRITY ENDORSER
Acting as an extension of your brand, celebrity endorsement can further strengthen how consumers perceive your company values. The key, of course, is to pick a popular figurehead who is synonymous with the same values as your business. Find an influencer that shares the same vision and conjures the same beliefs and feelings as your brand.
5: YUQO WORKS WITH YOU TO BUILD BRAND LOYALTY
Brand loyalty is earned by providing a great product or service with a clearly defined set of values behind it. Longstanding, loyal customers will not only spend more, but will help spread the message of your brand for you. If defining who you are as a brand sounds daunting, Yuqo’s expert team works with you to understand the goals, beliefs, and values you want to be portrayed in your content—whether that be a company bio, promotional material, or everything in between.
Knowing how to create concise, bespoke, and original content is at the core of Yuqo’s capabilities. Together, we can help capture your consumer’s attention and keep them coming back time and time again by conveying the values at the heart of your brand.