Updated: Jan 25, 2021
Building brand loyalty is an efficient means of maintaining demand. Repeat customers generally spend more and according to classical business wisdom, require less marketing investment in order to convert.
Building brand loyalty is all about embracing a brand persona - a personality and identity which is engaging and attractive to a customer audience - and manifesting a symbiotic relationship with a loyal, repeat-purchase, brand-loyal audience.
In order to establish that symbiotic relationship, it is still important that the product quality is there. A good product or service is important for establishing brand loyalty. Beyond that, if you want a loyal audience, be entertaining and engaging.
What is Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty is the establishment of culture, excitement and sense of belonging around a brand, generating repeat business and a lasting, long term relationship between loyal customers and your project or business.
Brand loyalty can be inspired by many different things. Marketing campaigns may be inspiration for brand fandom. It may be the nature of the product or service, or the brand itself. It may be related to a loyalty program or customer experience or customer service, but whatever it is, it is the acknowledgement from a target audience that the product or brand does something in an impressionable way.
Brand Loyalty Example: Coca-Cola
The escapades of the great brand Coca-Cola serve as a great example; through the combination of marketing, cultural cultivation, and the uniqueness of the brand, and the generational shared experience has allowed Coca-Cola to leverage remarkable, lasting and global brand loyalty.
The degree of loyalty to one’s soda brand is quite strong in many people though many taste-tests suggest that the brand-alignment can not be based exclusively on the favorability of the product - in fact, that may not even be the primary determinant. As testament, New Coke.
To summarize, Coca-Cola had developed such profound brand loyalty that their own reformulation of the revered beverage caused upheaval and a return to “Coca-Cola Classic”; an event which ultimately rejuvenated the brand and resulted in media attention and increased sales in the long run.
Backlash and demand for the brand millions were loyal to forced Coca-Cola to reintroduce classic coke and sell what was eventually branded as simply “Coke” or “Coke II” while the original formula was branded “Coca-Cola Classic”. Though consistently preferred in blind taste tests, the new formulation only represented a small fraction of cola market share, around 3% at its peak while coexisting with classic.
Brand loyalty requires a good product, but it is so much more than the product.
Why is Brand Loyalty Important?
Brand loyalty is important because it promotes word of mouth awareness and referrals, helping to grow your business or audience. Brand loyalty is essential to the development of a strong brand.
With strong brand loyalty, a venture will benefit greatly from the enhanced social media engagement brand loyal customers offer. Establishing fandom around your brand will improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns and ultimately help greatly in establishing awareness and growing your business.
6 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty
1. Find your brand voice and story
Your brand needs to have an origin, a narrative. Tell the story of what inspired the creation of your brand. Give your brand a past, give it a message, motivations and goals. Represent your audience in a way in which they uniquely identify and you will have established yourself as a brand capable of inspiring loyalty.
2. Understand what makes your customers tick
In order to efficiently and effectively establish brand loyalty, you are going to need to understand your customers or audience well. In order to do this, you will need to define that audience first. Explore the demographics of your existing customer or audience base. Determine what the common thread(s) is for all of the individuals that seem interested in your product, then market accordingly.
This isn’t as easily done as it is said, but with a sharp eye and keen people skills, and research, it is likely you will find what makes your audience or customers “tick”.
Don’t limit yourself in what unites your audience; for many Coca-Cola drinkers, the beverage was an emblem of their cultural identity as Southerners. Cultural and subcultural identity is a feature of many strong brands - can you identify or create yours?
3. Invest in consistent branding
Once you identify your audience and brand story, you will need to start to hammer out the details. You must create logos, colors, fonts, message, and using the same aesthetic and voice, you will then need to start to populate your social and site with content consistent with the brand persona you are intending to develop.
Planning is key to consistent branding. Setup brand guidelines and make sure to distribute these materials to all who may create content for your brand early in the creative process. Be consistent and speak to your subculture of loyal customers.
4. Provide incredible customer service
A cornerstone for virtually every single brand with a rabid, loyal customer base is outstanding customer service and interactions. Giving your following nothing but a positive experience will certainly help create and cement a loyal customer base.
5. Build a community from your audience
From a strong audience, you should be looking to build a community. A brand community is composed of an external audience, customers, fans, and followers as well as your internal audience, employees, volunteers, your marketing teams, etc. Interacting and encouraging your audience to communicate with one another can result in the sort of community you really want.
A community will encourage greater awareness of your brand, it will improve traffic and engagement metrics, drawing more to your profile or page, and it will increase word-of-mouth conversion and repeat business.
6. Provide high-quality value for your customers
Ultimately, it is going to come down to the value and quality you offer to your customers as to whether you are able to develop brand loyalty and community. It is certain that producing a premiere product or by offering superior service you are more likely to gain the positive public impression needed to plant the seed which may grow into a strong brand and loyal following.
It is important to tap into the audience. Speaking to them and providing a brand message, persona, and story is important, but it must be built on the bedrock of a good product or service, organization or endeavor.