Creating Brand Loyalty: 4 Core Values That Drive Customer Retention

by Grace Miller | Customer Loyalty

In today’s economy, creating brand loyalty that lasts despite competition is a formidable task. The modern consumer has millions of options, all of which can be accessed at their own convenience with their mobile device. With the increase of options and loyalty rewards programs, statistics are showing that even your loyal members will likely shop around. For instance, while 82% of US adults are loyal to brands, 54% reported switching brands in the past year, with only 13% reporting that they do not shop around if they are loyal to a company. 

Brand loyalty and customer loyalty are closely linked but are two different concepts. Both customer and brand loyalty are the results of positive and consistent emotions. The main difference between brand loyalty and customer loyalty is that customer loyalty mainly relates to the overall spending power of consumers. Whereas, brand loyalty is all about customers’ perception of you.

What is brand loyalty?

Brand loyalty, a key factor in retention, is essentially how customers perceive your brand and their tendency to recurringly purchase from you especially after a positive experience. Companies that have a strong brand loyalty experience repeated customers. Brand loyalty gives your brand a competitive edge and helps you push past your competitors. It also increases customer lifetime value and improves revenue stream. Being viewed as a preferred or trusted brand can prove to be quite lucrative. Why do you think people flock to Apple’s latest launches and pay a significant premium as well? It’s because of brand loyalty. According to Brand Keys, improving brand loyalty among the average customer by just 7 percent can significantly increase lifetime profits per customer by as much as 85 percent. The data also revealed that increasing loyalty by just 3 percent can lead to a 10% cost reduction as well. Brand loyalty turns dormant enthusiasm into active fidelity. Although there is no definite route to measure brand loyalty, some broad measurement indicators include retention, repurchase, and referral. Customers stay loyal to a brand that successfully earns their trust through quality service and personalized customer experience and communication.

Creating brand loyalty

Benefits of brand loyalty

  • Your most loyal customers will help you exponentially increase revenue, attract new customers through referrals and grow your business. It’s a known fact that it’s cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones and brand loyalty can decrease your lead-gen efforts. Also, existing loyal customers are 50% more likely to try new products and will spend 31% more than new customers leading to repeat purchases.
  • Building your brand image is no easy feat but if you have built brand loyalty, your customers are more likely to share their positive experiences on social media and with their inner circle leading to strong word-of-mouth.
  • Loyal customers give honest feedback in the form of reviews, customer comments, and filling up surveys. As a responsible brand, you can use this feedback to measure the success of your customer experience, understand customer motivations, reduce churn and improve your business decisions.
  • As you opt for a more customer-centric approach and focus on improving brand loyalty, you also tend to increase CLV and give your customers more reasons to keep coming back to you.
  • In a tight economy, it’s imperative for businesses to focus on brand loyalty because it turns shoppers into loyal advocates. Brands can generate more brand advocates through customer loyalty programs, building communities, and brand ambassador programs.

How to create brand loyalty

  • Use social media to communicate with your customers regularly about the latest updates, launches, developments, or replying to concerns or queries. This strengthens your connection with the customers.
  • Double down on your efforts to improve customer experience. Continue to exceed your customers’ expectations and cater to their preferences. This shows that you are a brand worth doing business with. Quality should always be non-negotiable.
  • Give your customers an incentive to come back for more through effective loyalty programs. When they feel more valued and taken care of, they are going to be loyal to your brand. Tier-specific rewards, access to exclusive events, early access to sales, or social impact rewards are great ways to foster customer loyalty.
  • Constantly deliver on your brand promise and also gather feedback from your customers. This will help you improve your services and understand your customers better. At the same time, focus on an effective content strategy that engages, informs, educates, and acts as social proof and gives your customers insights about your brand.

The modern consumer also expects brand loyalty to be reciprocal. In a recent market survey, 63% of consumers agree that brands must show loyalty to their consumers. However, having a rewards program that encourages loyalty is no longer sufficient for maintaining customers. To create sustainable brand loyalty, it is important for brands to appeal to consumers on an emotional level. The most successful modern companies have used these four key values in their loyalty programs: compassion, respect, nostalgia, and corporate social responsibility.

Core Values That Drive Customer Retention

Compassion

An act of compassion is both memorable and moving. A simple act of kindness or a compassionate staff member can turn an angry, frustrated customer into one of your company’s biggest advocates. According to a study by Accenture, 81% of customers are loyal to companies that are there for them when needed, while as many as 50% have switched brands due to a poor customer experience. Training your sales staff to act with compassion towards customers that are rude is key to creating an increase in happy, satisfied clients. On a larger scale, empathizing with consumers is one of the keys to effective marketing. For instance, 51% of consumers are loyal to brands that consistently offer the best products and services. However, while 80% of executives feel that they understand the needs of their consumers, only 15% of consumers agree.

Respect

Consumers desire respect from their brands, and, for many, this also means brand honesty. Studies show that 42% of consumers distrust brands, while 70% distrust advertisements. This is in part due to brand arrogance, and in part due to the spread of “fake news,” which has caused consumers to lose trust in the media in general. Building trust through respect, while challenging, is critical to consumer loyalty. There are several key ways that brands can show respect, and thereby build trust:

  • Demonstrating transparency: This includes using upfront marketing techniques as well as informing your consumers about the inner workings of your brands such as environmental impact.
  • Answering consumer concerns: Addressing consumer questions and concerns show respect for their time and their opinion. As a brand, it is in your best interest that consumer concerns or frustrations are addressed by your company rather than vented to the public.
  • Transparency about mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes, but it is better to admit these mistakes than to deny or avoid them. With plenty of ways for consumers and interested parties to share information, it is important to take control of the narrative and to take measures to remedy the situation.
  • Customer service evaluations: Asking for feedback will help consumers feel respected and valued.  Evaluations are also key to letting you know how your company is doing in terms of pleasing consumers.
  • Product guarantees: A guarantee on a product or service demonstrates respect for your company and pride in your product, as well as respect for your customer’s time and money.  
  • Using preferred channels of communication: A key part of respect in modern advertising is interacting with consumers on their own terms. According to a study, 51% of US consumers are loyal to brands that use the customer’s preferred channels of communication.

Creating brand loyalty: respect

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a powerful human emotion that also has a potent potential influence on buyers. If your brand happens to have a long history, bringing back something from the past as part of a modern campaign can help draw consumers to your product. If you are a relatively new business, creating a strong, relatable story around your brand is also helpful.

Social Responsibility  

Customers want their brands to reflect their personal beliefs. In fact, 89% of Americans in 2017 reported that they are loyal to brands that share their values. Social responsibility expands beyond the marketplace and into the community. This can mean engaging in charity events or supporting charity organizations. 35% of U.S. consumers reported loyalty to brands that actively support important causes such as public campaigns or charities. Meanwhile, 79% of Gen Z shoppers reported that they wanted to engage with a brand that will help them make a difference. There are many ways to get involved in social responsibility as a company. While some companies sponsor events or charities, others may decide to give their own employees paid time off to pursue volunteer efforts.

Recognizing and utilizing the effects of human emotions can help in creating brand loyalty, while also helping you avoid common reputation pitfalls.

 
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