Far from being another over-hyped, convoluted piece of marketing jargon, brand loyalty can be the difference between your business being a success or a failure.
Persuading consumers to fall (and stay) in love with your brand is the ultimate goal of your marketing efforts.
Brand loyalty means that not only will customers continue purchasing products and services from your company, it also means they aren’t contributing to the success of your competition.
So how do you as a Brand Manager inspire brand loyalty among your customers?
Here we will explore six strategies you can start employing right now that will persuade your consumers to fall in love with your brand (and increase your bottom line!)
Why do we have favourite brands?
As humans we are led by both our hearts and our heads. Whilst it’s true that we do employ our logical and rational minds when considering purchases, research has shown that our ultimate purchase decisions are most often based on emotional factors.
Whether you’re in the health and fitness, food and drink or even the telecommunications sector, engaging your customers on an emotional level is the key to commercial success.
Why? Brand loyalists ultimately become advocates for your products and services. Suddenly, your customers are doing your marketing FOR you, out in the field with their networks who are likely to be interested in your products and services too!
Sound good? Let’s make it happen for you…
1. Create a personality for your brand.
Your target audience can’t connect with a faceless company. The first step in the process of driving brand loyalty is to create a brand personality for your business. This will provide the basis for a relationship with your customer.
By having a consistent set of traits that a specific consumer segment enjoys, you will inevitably build your brand equity.
Product sectors do naturally impact a brand’s perceived personality, for example banks are perceived as a whole to be very serious, grown-up, intelligent and straight-talking, whereas athletic shoes brands as a category are perceived to be competitive, young and adventurous. However, other factors such as the length of time the brand has been on the market, price points, and more importantly it’s brand assets also play a part.
CuCo have worked with numerous companies to develop unique brand personalities to represent their business, developing the brand identity (logo), brand story, brand creative, tone of voice, typography, colour palette and brand photography style.
Once established, a strong set of brand guidelines is a great way to ensure your communications are always on-brand.
2. Make sure your brand is relatable.
Our fundamental needs for belonging and being understood are amongst the highest predictors of human behaviour. Therefore, the more you understand who might buy your product or use your service, the more you can tailor your brand to suit them and their needs, wants and aspirations.
CuCo have created buyer personas for a number of our clients, establishing detailed personality profiles for typical buyers to enable businesses to focus their marketing messages, mediums and timings to be more effective.
These needs-focused brands then become vehicles used by consumers to express a part of our personality to the world, and eventually the brand becomes a part of their ‘self.’ Brand loyalty and advocacy inevitably follows.
Interestingly and probably due to the popularity of social media, modern branding trends have seen the emphasis shift away from offering up a single person as a representative of a company (i.e. Sonic the Hedgehog for Sega), in favour of focusing on collective users of the brand’s products, (i.e. A host of brand-aligned influencers such as YouTube gamers).
3. Make sure your brand makes people happy.
Happiness is a huge factor in brand endearment. Just like a human personality, your brand’s personality is built by the outcome of every experience a customer has with your business. So make sure it’s a positive interaction. This doesn’t only include your all-important customer service (the point at which so many brands fall down) but your brand itself should make your audience feel good.
Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the quartet responsible for our experiences of happiness.
Dopamine – That surge of pleasure you feel when you achieve a goal.
Serotonin – Flows when you feel significant or important.
Oxytocin – Creates intimacy, trust and builds healthy relationships
Endorphins – Released in response to pain and stress to alleviate anxiety and depression.
If your brand can tap into one or more of these chemical-sugar rushes, you’re onto a winner.
Innocent are a great example of a brand that focuses on making it’s customers feel happy. The top tips on it’s packaging are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The compliment generator on their website allows you to send positive vibes to your friends and family too! Oh, and did we mention that 10% of all their profits go to charity? Their tone of voice is refreshingly funny and their Twitter updates are hilarious.
4. Show your brand cares.
And we’re not just talking about customer care.
Charitable businesses are often rated as more deserving of trade.
When your brand shows it cares about similar causes to it’s customers, those customers instantly feel they can understand and relate to your brand’s ethos.
Recent studies suggest that Millennials in particular have driven the latest social responsibility movement, with 70% of them reporting they’ll spend more with brands that support charities and causes.
Consider which charities your target audience are likely to be passionate about and then get in contact to see how your organisation can help.
You don’t necessarily need a huge budget or marketing team to execute a strong ‘giving back’ campaign. Even small donations can make a big difference. The opportunities are endless and extremely helpful.
5. Make sure your brand appears trustworthy.
Trust matters more than ever before for brands.
With genuine branding comes consumer trust – a critical strategic asset. But it isn’t easily won. As a brand it’s vital to put your best foot forward, but also to be true to your roots. Be honest about your brand’s values, where your brand came from and where it’s going. The internet makes it easier than ever before for consumers to check your company’s claims. Don’t fabricate 100 years of heritage if you’re a fresh new start-up.
You also need to ensure your online reputation stands up to scrutiny. When customers can easily check the reputation of any company via a quick Google search, reputation management becomes paramount. Consumers look to peer feedback to check a business can deliver what it promises. As a marketer you can say your business is honest and creditable, but without external validation, today’s informed consumers aren’t buying it. A clever marketing campaign may generate interest, but trust will get your consumers over the line.
6. Make sure your brand makes it’s customers feel special.
Remember earlier we talked about serotonin? Serotonin flows when we feel significant or important. Making your customers feel special to your brand serves as a powerful relationship device and differentiates your brand – making it distinct from other competitive offerings. Don’t lump your customers into a single consumer category – make them feel valued.
When our Marketing Manager Claudia asked her local Tesco store to look into stocking a wider range of her favourite vegan BOL pots, she tweeted BOL the good news when upon her next weekly food shop, as if by magic, the entire range gleamed back at her from the shelf. Not only did BOL tweet her back specifically to say thank you, they also sent her a hand-written thank you note and a host of vouchers for free BOLs! She’s been a brand advocate ever since.