Brand Loyalty - How to Earn it and Keep it

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Jack Quinney

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The Importance Of Brand Loyalty

It’s easy to understand why businesses want to boost brand loyalty. After all, while only 8 percent of a typical online business’ customers may be repeat buyers, they account for a disproportionate share of its turnover – a whopping 40 percent. Clearly, a business’ bottom line can be seriously boosted by dialling up customer loyalty.

Also, our new research report, Brand Love, finds that those who are completely committed to a brand are three times more likely to recommend it to others compared to those that are more apathetic. Loyal customers help brands find new customers. This is what every business is after – and so putting a premium on brand loyalty is worth its weight in gold.

But wait, there’s more! People who love a brand are more forgiving of the errors it makes. Brand Love finds that they will tolerate twice as many mistakes from a brand they’re committed to than from a brand they don’t connect with. Of course, if you keep making mistakes, you’re not going to keep loyal customers – but you get the point; loyal customers will stick with brands through thick and thin.

Brand loyalty is potent stuff. So, how do you build it for your brand?

What Matters For Brand Loyalty?

An easy mistake to make is thinking that brand loyalty is all about price and customer service. These factors matter but they’re not the key ingredients that drive loyalty. According to Brand Love, just 33 percent of marketers think value for money is important for brand greatness. Instead, they posit that the brands we deem great are those we trust (60 percent) and those which make us feel good (58 percent).

Greatness is one thing, but if a brand wants to be loved, there’s more to be done on the comms front. Our marketers say that brands need to have values that align with customer values and identities – they need to become part of people’s lives.

This might sound like a daunting prospect but there are some key comms steps to engage customers that will set-up brands to succeed in becoming loved.

The Role Of Comms In Boosting Brand Loyalty

Be Personal

A loyal customer wants to feel that the brand knows they exist as an individual, values them and their custom. They do not want to feel like just another name on a list! Sending loyal customers mass marketing messages is out – it’s incredibly alienating.

Use Your Data

There are plenty of opportunities to gather data on the customer so that the content shared with them and the interactions are bang on. A company may need to deploy big data and a heap of effort to do this, but richer interactions with customers will be rewarded.

Fit In

The brands we love fit into our lives. So, it’s important the communications – through their timing and content – show that the brand understands where it fits.

Be Real

The brands we’re loyal to have values that sync with our own. We need to know what those values are and see them demonstrated through actions not just words. A brand doesn’t necessarily need to have a Ben & Jerry’s inspired big corporate social responsibility programme (unless that’s part of its customer’s values too), but it does need to be authentic, consistently its true self.

Being Joined up is Also Important

Someone may be interacting with a brand in many ways – on social channels, through the site, on the phone, via email, in-store, through the customer service team. At every touchpoint, the communication must be personal and on point. It’s no good being good some of the time.

Don’t Get Complacent

Many brands may feel that they have loyal customers. But if they’re not communicating in the ways listed above, it could well be that this perceived loyalty is actually apathy!

Brand Love finds that 53 percent of people will stick with an ordinary brand even if it messes up twice. Customers could be putting up with some seriously bad service. A brand may get away with this for a while but remember this apathy cuts both ways.

When a customer jumps ship it will be hard to win them back. They will stick with a rival, for ages, even if they make mistakes! All the more reason to keep customers onboard through following the key comms steps outlined above.

A Final Word

Don’t be complacent and don’t take existing customers for granted.

We’re loyal to the brands we love; earn that love, and then through your communication, prove you deserve it.

If you’re after any advice on your comms strategy and how it can be leveraged to boost brand loyalty and ultimately the bottom line, get in touch!

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