The Secret Sauce
What brand loyalty comes down to is whether a brand can offer mutually beneficial interactions.
Mutually beneficial interactions occur when both the business and customer share an experience that goes beyond the sale of a product or service.
What does this look like? I’m glad you asked.
We previously discussed how loyalty programs could offer mutually beneficial interactions, but it can also be applied in a broader sense of the business.
This time, let’s consider a local wine distributor who is faced with the challenge of building brand loyalty. What are the incentives for a consumer to buy wine from this particular retailer, rather than the grocery store? The grocery store is convenient and offers comparable prices, so how do they win customer loyalty?
The answer, as you may have guessed, is through mutually beneficial interactions.
Employing a wine-pairing expert who can make personalized recommendations would be a great start for this wine retailer. They could even assist with menu planning. Taking it another step further, they may begin to host a series of wine tastings.
With both of these suggestions, there is a mutually beneficial exchange between the customer and the company. Customers gain knowledge and practical advice about how to pair wine, and the retailer learns about customer preferences and information gaps that they can work to close.
When considering the interactions your business can offer, try to come up with original ideas that speak to the values of your brand. Distinctive interactions are more likely to stand out and create a stronger personal association between the experience and the brand.
Of course, since we are in a digital era, it’s also crucial to include a strategy for digital experiences.
A digital experience can be as simple as an expert-hosted live stream. Or, it could be as complex as a custom mobile application. In any case, convenience and quality should be a priority when designing any type of digital experience.
Here are a few additional considerations that are important for digital experiences:
- Personalization. How can you personalize the experience? By simply addressing a customer by their first name can help them feel more connected with the brand.
- Customer Benefit. Don’t forget; the interaction needs to result in a mutually beneficial exchange. What is the customer getting and, more importantly, is it valuable?
- Data Collection. A business will typically collect customer data as part of brand interactions. Consider the type of information that will help drive multiple business strategies for an even bigger impact.
- Shareability. A digital experience can be much more fun when it’s shared with friends. Plus, it can promote engagement and result in more brand awareness. Now, with whom would you like to share your quiz results?
If we’re talking about the secret sauce of brand loyalty (and we are), quality content is absolutely essential.
Generally speaking, customers don’t want to feel like they’re being sold something. Instead of approaching the customer like a hunter’s prey, lure them in like an expert fisherman. Customers want to know how a brand’s products or services can address a common problem they’re experiencing. Get them on the hook them by addressing their problem(s), then continue to reel them in with quality content.
For example, we can look at a brand campaign as a kind of hook; it’s appealing and draws people in. To continue reeling them in, consider writing blog posts, producing videos, or developing unique content that provides solutions in an altruistic way.
With this approach, consumers begin to trust that your business cares about their problems and wants to help (regardless of whether they buy anything from you or not). This may sound counter-intuitive, but it actually helps to draw people closer, where they can really see the value of your brand.
Do you know what customers are saying about your company? Because you can guarantee that online shoppers do.
Customer reviews are extremely important for eCommerce since shoppers aren’t able to hold the product in their hands or test it before they buy it. A good or bad review can mean the difference between someone buying your product or not.
The good news is that business owners can leverage positive customer reviews to boost confidence in online shoppers.
When potential customers see that others are satisfied with a product, a good review can serve as a measure of reassurance and confidence in the brand. If possible, engage with these customers by thanking them for their review or offering a discount on future purchases.
Additionally, if someone leaves a glowing review of your product or service, it’s worth reaching out to create a potential brand ambassador relationship. Consumers are keen on whether a review or sponsorship is merely transactional, so the more honest and authentic the review, the better it is for your brand.
As far as negative feedback, the best thing you can do is try to repair any lost trust by genuinely considering their feedback. For example, if a customer had a poor service experience, it’s often worth contacting the customer to smooth things over (and maybe get them to update their review).
So, don’t be afraid of customer feedback, as it can offer valuable insight into what customers want from your brand. By addressing their feedback, whether positive or negative, it can help strengthen consumer trust and loyalty.