There are brands we recognize, and then there are brands we live by. When we talk about brand loyalty, top names like Apple, Nike, and Disney come to mind. Undoubtedly, there are people who use Apple products exclusively, those who collect hundreds of Nike shoes, and those who can recite the lines from any Disney movie ever made. These brands all have loyal customers, and they didn’t get them by accident. And yes, they’ve spent decades building their brands, but there are basic branding principles that can still help younger or lesser-known brands become more recognizable and competitive within their industry. To kick off this series about brand loyalty, let’s begin by understanding why it’s so essential to a brand in the first place.
Why Loyalty Matters
Some business analysts will argue that brand loyalty no longer exists. And yet, the success of the brands mentioned above tell us otherwise. Not only does brand loyalty exist, but it’s also necessary for a business to achieve long-term success. A brand cannot sustain itself on new customers alone. If a business were built on one-and-done transactions, brand awareness strategies would be ends in themselves. However, we know that it takes more than brand awareness to maintain sales. We know that converting a lead is good, but creating a loyalist is even better. The conversion to brand loyalist is the reason we, as marketers, map out customer journeys and work on nurturing relationships with current customers. So, while we may think of brand loyalists as returning customers, they are much more than that. Brand loyalists help build a brand’s reputation, provide valuable feedback, and encourage others to experience the brand with them. Let’s now take a look at how to recognize a brand loyalist…
Recognizing Brand Loyalty
Loyal customers exhibit four buying behaviors: They spend more money per transaction They buy more frequently They invest their time willingly They refer you to their family and friends Given these four behaviors, do any of your customers come to mind? Think about why they might be loyal to your brand. Do you offer an exceptional product? Excellent customer service? A great location? While one good reason may be enough to get someone through the door, it’s often a combination of positive experiences that keeps customers coming back. If you’re uncertain whether these four buying behaviors are applicable to your customers, it may be a good idea to set up a system in which you can keep track. Many businesses collect customer data during transactions, such as phone numbers and email addresses. This data can provide insight into how much of your business comes from repeat customers and can help you establish parameters around what your business wishes to define as a loyal customer.