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Win Them Over:
The Power of Brand Loyalty
When was the last time you bought something because you really liked the brand? The finishing touch of embossing, the quality of the fabric, the simplicity of design — great features can make us come back to buy more from a specific company. After positive interactions with the brand, in which you experience top-notch customer service, fast shipping, and a customer-centric return policy, you trust it. Sometimes you just like a certain brand, and then its customer experience takes your appreciation even higher.
Most of us can relate to that feeling, which is brand loyalty, or a customer’s commitment to purchase repeatedly from the same brand. However, brand loyalty has a constant companion — brand advocacy — that urges people to share their interests about the things they value with others.
A lot of psychological factors come into play where brand loyalty and advocacy are concerned, and marketers have figured out a way to tap into our needs: to connect with one another, to belong to something, to be a part of something. Utpal M. Dholakia, Ph.D., says that “brands provide customers with a set of core beliefs and values to live their lives.”
The most successful brands — the ones that match their customers’ values with the types of products the business offers — have many loyal customers. When a customer is loyal to a company, they may take an additional step beyond repeat purchases and also advocate for the business. This word-of-mouth advertising, considered one of the most trustworthy types of marketing, is one of the most important aspects of brand loyalty.
Appealing to a customer’s basic needs is a shortcut to their loyalty.
Sales techniques that follow the well-known theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs help convince customers to purchase goods or services. This hierarchy presents the six core human needs, with the most basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid: psychological needs, safety needs, and social belonging. The needs for self-actualization and self-transcendence are at the top of the pyramid.
A company can inspire brand loyalty by helping a customer satisfy one or more of the needs mentioned in Maslow’s hierarchy. For instance, a company can share success stories about its customers, which can strengthen its credibility, authority, and brand awareness. When you read these testimonials, not only do you start to trust the brand more, but the company has also tapped into the desire for social belonging: Potential customers want to find success with this product, too. This is a widespread marketing method used by businesses that sell weight-loss courses, training sessions, and other types of self-improvement products.
Another important strategy, also related to the basic need of social belonging, is stimulating a feeling of being a part of something exclusive. Give customers access to limited offers as a part of their membership in a premium community. Tell them about special presale events or other premiums. Some of these offers may also help a customer’s ego, or their need for power and recognition, which is a step above social belonging on the pyramid.
One important part of brand loyalty extends past marketing and sales: U.S. consumers say that the safety of their private data is one of the factors that influences their decision to become loyal customers. This finding circles back to Maslow’s hierarchy because fulfilling our safety needs comes right after our physical needs are fully satisfied.
Invest in building your unique brand culture.
1. Unleash the power of surveys.
There are a number of tools that build online surveys. G2 Crowd reports that there are over 400 products that can help you collect the answers. After you choose the tool that’s right for your business, you can create your first survey. Generally you should avoid sending a one-size-fits-all survey to your entire database of subscribers; instead, run A/B tests on selected customers prior to launching surveys to larger audiences. Make sure your communication objective is clear and that it makes sense to your customers.
Also, keep in mind that your email isn’t the only one your customers will get that day. This is one reason why the response rate typically ranges from 20 to 30 percent. Increase your response rate by providing an incentive, or offering something valuable. It can be a $5 gift card for a popular coffee chain. (Who doesn’t like a cup of good coffee?) Or you can give them a promo code to use on their next purchase. Brainstorm ideas based on your customer base and come up with an exciting offer. Then use your survey to find out how to appeal more accurately to why your customers buy your products.
2. Analyze the communities where your customers talk about your brand.
Make your customers feel like they’re a part of a community.
A lot of companies tend to be too focused on acquiring new customers, and fail to establish long-lasting relationships with existing customers. One of the best ways to turn your newly acquired customers into a loyal audience is to create the feeling that they are a part of your “tribe.”
This is where brand tribalism comes into play: “A brand tribe can be defined as a social network of varied persons who are linked by a shared belief around a brand; its members are not simple consumers, they are also believers and promoters.” It’s crucial to instill a sense of belonging and make your customers feel like they are an important part of your brand. This, in turn, helps inspire brand loyalty.
Of course, this is easier said than done. You have to know what kinds of activities your company needs to get involved in to nurture these kinds of relationships. Begin with more personalized activities, such as sending each customer a birthday email with a special offer or a gift they will find valuable. Moreover, encourage users who have already received a gift to share them on social media. With this kind of publicity, potential customers will start to understand the benefit of being a part of your community, and may become a customer so they can earn rewards, too.
Do whatever it takes to build your community and increase brand loyalty. Invite your customers to be a part of something special, then convert them into VIPs by using badges, loyalty programs, or other tools. Whatever you decide to do, it should be with the customer in mind, as that’s the only true way to build loyalty with your customers.
Brand loyalty is a puzzle.
Brand loyalty is a puzzle. It takes research, honest communication, and effort to put the puzzle together, and doing so with your own customers takes a planned-out strategy. With patience and analysis, you can earn more brand loyalty from your existing customers and begin reaching new heights with company growth.
By analyzing their audience’s activity on social networks, businesses can learn a lot about their community’s interests and appeal to what the audience likes. This will, in turn, help a brand build its community and brand tribalism.
If you haven’t done so yet, consider creating a brand culture that’s different from your competitors’ cultures. Stand out. Engage in conversations with your customers on various online platforms to make sure you’re not missing out on what they need and want. Finally, make each of your customers feel like they’re an important part of a one-of-a-kind community. All the effort is worth your while: These tactics, when you implement them into your marketing strategy, can help you earn your customers’ loyalty.