How Are You Encouraging Brand Loyalty in 2017?
Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s better to sell a man five cars in his lifetime than one car that day”? As a business owner, it’s great to close a sale, but it’s even better to develop a relationship and make multiple sales with a customer throughout the business’ lifetime. The name for this type of repeat business between a consumer and business is known as, brand loyalty.
What is brand loyalty?
While that is a dramatized version of brand loyalty, we define it as an “established trust between an organization and its consumer base.” C+R Research — a market research agency — has outlined the Five Defining Characteristics of Brand Loyalist.
They talk about your brand and recommend it to friends
They use your brand in unique ways
Whether creating signature recipes or repurposing its packaging, loyalists incorporate your brand in meaningful ways to their lifestyle
They really “know” your brand
Brand loyalists can tell you how many times your logo has changed, can identify your original color pallette, and how often you post on social media.
Your brand is part of their family’s rituals and traditions
Whether it’s a Coke with Christmas Eve dinner or Velveeta on Thanksgiving, human being are creatures of habit. Generational loyalty by association with family traditions is the number one way to indoctrinate, so-to-speak, future loyalists.
They “own” your brand
Purchasing branded clothing, memorabilia, and novelty items that are not part of a business’ product line. Hoodies, tumblers, vinyl decals, sunglasses, etc.
Our follow-up example to brand loyalty as seen in the film, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou’, is a Coke v. Pepsi challenge. In this clip, participants perform a blind taste-testing experiment in an attempt to distinguish which brand is which. See if you notice any of the five characteristics as you watch this clip.
During the reveal, most participants (whether right or wrong in their guess) realized that without looking at the can, they were unable to discern between the beverages. At 2:47, a participant remarked that,
When you’re not tasting them blindfolded, you’re not seeing that Coke has totally built itself on being an athletic brand. Whereas Pepsi has built itself on being almost like entertainment and music.
Most of the participants assigned emotional or nostalgic value to the brands. These people are brand loyalists in a basic sense of the word. To elaborate, they buy into the product via the branding and marketing efforts. Because of their loyalty, they would much rather purchase the product they feel most strongly about despite being unable to discern it’s flavor from a competitor.
However, brand loyalty requires more than a positive recollection of product packaging in 2017. Today, loyalty marketing strategies are employed in the form of incentive-based programs to ensure brands are encouraging maximum customer retention. So the question is, how are you encouraging brand loyalty in 2017?
As defined by MarketingSchools.org,
Loyalty marketing refers to building trust among recurrent customers, rewarding them for continually conducting business with a company. For many companies, 80 percent of all their business comes from 20 percent of their customer base.
To develop brand loyalty today marketers institute loyalty programs, a tactic that has proven useful across several industries.
Travel → Frequent Flyer Miles
Retail → Point Accrual Programs: Lowe’s, Target, Starbucks, etc.
Finance → Credit Card Cashback Programs
Brands like Coca-Cola have relied on brand loyalty programs like ‘My Coke Rewards’. In this program, customers enter numbers found on the lid of purchased Coke products into an online account with the beverage company. In time, these points qualify them for participating offers like free digital content or promotional material from cooperating brands.
It doesn’t matter if your business isn’t the size of Coke or an airline. It’s not only possible but imperative that you show gratitude towards your customers. Think back to the expression of “selling a man five cars over his lifetime.” Christine Barney, CEO of Rbb Communications outlines three points to be remembered when developing a brand loyalty marketing program.
Put the Customer First
The customer has already chosen to shop with you. Now show them why they made the best decision.
Sure point accrual programs and freebies are great, but what about throwing a free event for members/loyalty-program subscription holders. It can be an opportunity to reciprocate your customer base’s loyalty by treating them to a fun, memorable event — Media from the event can used for content in remarketing campaigns.
Communicate with Soul
Customers have already spent their hard-earned money with you. Therefore, remember to remain genuine in your efforts to thank them.
Encouraging brand loyalty doesn’t just benefit the customer, but you as a business owner. What better feeling is there as a business owner to be successful enough to reward not only your employees, but your customers. Diving into hard number and legal terms can suck the soul out of your business, but developing brand loyalty programs allows you to re-cultivate some of the sense of why you began your venture in the first place — You recognized a need, developed a solution, and sought to share it with others. As a reminder that things worked out, why not spread the love. If you’re still not convinced on the the power of brand loyalty, remember this –
Gen Z, Gen X and Millennials were more likely to pay 50-100% more for a product they felt put them first, over value, customer service and experience (compared to Boomers), and are more likely to want a customized product. – Tonya Gazdik, Marketing Daily
At TalenAlexander, our team is dedicated to creating innovative marketing and branding solutions. Customer retention is our specialty, as we guide our clients through an extensive brand development process in helping them clearly define,
- Brand Identity
- Company Culture
- Marketing Collateral
Although brand loyalty programs fall into the area of marketing collateral, these programs are an extension of your brand identity. In order to create branded marketing efforts, it requires first understanding who our clients aren’t. By eliminating personalities and character traits that aren’t in-line with your true brand identity, we are able to peel back the layers to your brand at its core. From here, we can develop a successful loyalty program based not only on your industry and clientele, but according to your own unique brand. If you’d like to learn more about how our team at TA can help you meet your branding and marketing goals, contact us here.
For a wider perspective on the number regarding loyalty marketing programs, we’ve compiled an abridged version of some SocialAnnex’s harder hitting statistics on brand loyalty programs. You can see the full takeaway here.
Statistics on Brand Loyalty
Lowering your customer churn rate by 5% can increase your profitability by 25-125%.
The average repeat customer spends 67% more in their 31st to 36th months of their relationship with a business than in months 0-6.
It costs 500% more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones.
87% of shoppers say they want loyalty programs.
62% of customers don’t think that they brands to which they’re most loyal are doing enough to reward them.
77% of transactional loyalty programs fail within the first two years.