Basic Ingredients for Brand Loyalty
In this second part of our ‘Building Brand Loyalty’ series, we are identifying some of the basic ingredients that a brand needs to start building a loyal customer base.
With the foundational elements below, a brand can leverage success with repeat business. We suggest monitoring the success of these elements and leaving room to make adjustments as-needed.
Think about your brand’s identity. Is it meaningful? Relevant? Appropriate? Consumer preference for a brand is often viewed as either an emotional or logical decision. When customer relationships are built on logic (for example, slightly lower prices), they are less likely to inspire long-term loyalty.
Consumer psychology tells us that people desire a deeper reason to connect with a brand or product. This means that businesses must emphasize the complete experience when marketing a product. The goal is to create a brand to which people attach strong, positive feelings because customers will shop more frequently and spend more money when their logic is reinforced emotionally.
Before you move forward with trying to build brand loyalty among customers, first make sure that your brand identity is one that they can emotionally and logically connect with. If it’s not, be open to customer feedback and spend time refining your value propositions.
These days, social media is a space where businesses have a lot of power to convert a lead into a customer.
Even those who still shop in stores have grown accustomed to the process of locating businesses on social media as a quick way to vet the brand.
A good social media profile can offer valuable information and opportunities for engagement. But not having a social account, or having a poorly managed one, will only serve to scare off potential customers.
It may seem obvious that a loyalty program will help build brand loyalty, but we can’t overlook their effectiveness. In fact, a Forrester Research report found that 72% of adults belong to at least one online loyalty program. Additionally, it showed that customers join loyalty programs to save money, which ultimately influences what they buy.
A loyalty program can be as simple as sending coupons via email or setting up a system in which certain actions trigger special discounts. Think about what your business has to offer and the unique ways that customers could interact with your brand. You will often find restaurants and coffee shops that offer loyalty cards, where customers receive a free sandwich or beverage after a certain amount of purchases. Perhaps you want to drive more in-store traffic, so you could offer a free service or a ship-to-store option to bring more people to your physical location.
Whatever you choose as a loyalty program, be sure to make it simple and easy for your customers. The purpose is to gain customer trust through positive experiences, so avoid any complicated rules or fine print that might cause frustration.
Since most businesses offer a similar range of products, excellent customer service can serve as a defining part of a brand that encourages loyalty.
It’s common for people to look for assistance online, hoping to avoid hold times and automated directories. For this reason, a great way to provide customers with quick answers is a Frequently Asked Questions page on a company’s website.
Taking it a step further, many online businesses will feature a customer service dialogue window or chat-bot that can take care of customers instantly.
Simply put, customers are loyal to brands they can trust. And when it comes to earning their trust, transparency is key.
Business transparency means being forthright about various company operations that may be of public interest. Transparent companies share information relating to performance, revenue, internal processes, sourcing, business values, etc.
Take, for instance, the beauty industry. When selling cosmetics, it’s extremely important for customers to have access to product ingredients. Making the ingredients easily available on labels or packaging can build trust with cosmetic consumers because it reassures them that the products are safe, cruelty-free, and don’t contain any harmful ingredients.
Of course, each industry will have its own consumer concerns. The sourcing of gemstones, the working conditions of clothing factories, and charitable contributions of non-profits have all been subjects of public scrutiny.
So, what is it that raises eyebrows in your industry? And how can you make it more transparent to your customers?
By showing your customers you’re not hiding anything from them, you’ll build their trust in your company and earn their loyalty.