Brand Loyalty 101: What It Is and How to Build It
We all know brand loyalty is important, but unfortunately, there’s no secret formula to building it. That’s what keeps marketers on their toes. It’s a cumulative result from consistent positive experiences across all your channels and every touchpoint in the customer journey. And, the scales could be tipped by something like your flexible return policy, membership program benefits, or quick customer support on Twitter. But before we dive into how to use these things to build it, let’s take a closer look at what brand loyalty is.
What is brand loyalty?
|A brand loyalty definition that we agree with comes from Investopedia: “Brand loyalty is a pattern of consumer behavior where consumers become committed to brands and make repeat purchases from the same brands over time. Loyal customers consistently purchase products from their preferred brands, regardless of convenience or price.”|
In other words, brand loyalty is when your customers make repeat purchases over time and buy from you even when it’s easier or cheaper to buy from another brand. This happens when your customers know that your product meets their needs and there’s no need to experiment with another brand. We all want that, right?
Sure we do. Every brand aspires to find ways to keep its customers coming back. It’s one of the hardest challenges to solve and one of the most important for companies of any size. We all need to keep customer churn rates as low as possible. In order to do that, we need to understand the many factors that come together to create brand loyalty.
What causes brand loyalty?
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There’s no single cause behind brand loyalty. It’s achieved through a wide array of consistently positive experiences with your brand. These customer experiences include everything from the content accuracy on your website to shipping times. Did your customer’s order arrive on time and does it look like what they ordered? If yes, you’ve got a customer that’s one step closer to buying from you next time.
Make sure to focus your marketing resources on channels where people can interact with you, like social media. Global brands like Nike have specific social media channels for support so that customers feel heard and have their problems addressed quickly. If you can help one person with an exchange or solve a late-night problem that saves a birthday or holiday, you might win a customer for life. Here are some of the main things that come together to cause brand loyalty.
- Flexible and easy returns policy
- Free shipping labels on exchanges
- Membership and rewards programs
- Warm and helpful customer service
- Positive shipping experiences
- Easy check-out process
- Accurate product content
- Online community
- Active social media channels with quick response times
- Helpful product details and information
Now that you’ve got an idea of what causes brand loyalty, here’s how you can start to build it.
How to build brand loyalty
You need to design a brand loyalty strategy for the long haul, this kind of relationship is not something you can build overnight. The interaction that creates a loyal customer might be their fifth order from you, two years after their first purchase. There’s no way to predict when and where you’ll win a loyal customer, but you can focus on these three things to increase your chances.
1. Elevate the customer experience
You really need to go above and beyond to make each of your customers feel important. This can come from little things, like free samples or even candy with their orders. And this elevation can come from bigger, personalized experiences like assigning them personal sales assistants.
Sweetwater, the largest online retailer of musical instruments and pro audio equipment in the United States, assigns personal sales engineers to customers. Their sales engineers make sure that customers get their orders on time and develop lifelong relationships with customers by helping them reach their personal goals.
2. Reward your customers
Membership programs and rewards programs are some of the most popular ways to incentivize your customers to buy. You can also provide special discounts and create annual sales. Amazon is a brand that excels in this area.
Amazon Prime comes with faster shipping, free video access, and a discount at Whole Foods. Their members look forward to Prime Day every year. That’s a membership program that touches almost every part of the customer’s life. Chances are that you’ll never match these kinds of benefits, but you can learn from the breadth of Amazon’s customer rewards to create your own program and incentives.
3. Provide consistently great and helpful content
It’s vital to provide your customers with resources, education, and helpful information about their interests and your products. That might mean a knowledge base like REI’s outdoor expert advice section on their website. Or it could be a blog like the trusted Content Marketing Institute Blog.
You could take a creative approach like General Electric and start a podcast that entertains your audience. Their hit science fiction podcast, “The Message,” is a unique approach to branded content that elevated their company’s image. No matter which angle works best for your organization, you’re going to need help managing all the digital assets you create.
Launch your brand loyalty strategy today
You want your customers to buy from you repeatedly over time, even when they could choose to buy from another brand. That means you’re going to need a comprehensive brand loyalty strategy, a long-term view, and the tools to execute it.
When it comes to delivering a positive brand experience across all your channels, digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) software can help lighten the load. With the right DAM and PIM platform to support and scale your brand loyalty efforts, you can present your customers with an experience that meets their needs and expectations, making it easier for them to choose your brand time and time again.
Note: This article was originally published on Widen.com.