There’s no doubt about it – these days, consumers have lots of brand options. And the pandemic has provided an idyllic environment for them to get comfortable researching their purchases. Not only that, but we’re also seeing consumers turning to brands that most reflect their values.
With these factors at play in the market, there’s good reason for your brand to be concerned about brand loyalty. Most brands will agree it costs more to gain a new customer than it does to retain one. That being the case, keeping a watchful eye on your brand loyalty is the smart thing to do. To that end, we’ll explore how to develop brand loyalty in marketing, so you’re reinforcing the messaging that matters to your custom audience.
To be specific, we’ll dive into the brand loyalty conversation with a look at:
- What brand loyalty is
- Why brand loyalty matters
- Steps to developing your brand loyalty
There are tons of brand loyalty statistics floating around the internet. If you haven’t broached the subject in a hot minute, here are a few that speak to the importance of retaining the customers you win at all costs:
- Pursuing brand loyalty is essential since the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is between 60 -70%.
- 49% of consumers say they make purchase decisions based on friends’ views expressed on social media and those of brands themselves.
- When consumers feel loyal to a brand, 60% of consumers will plug them to their friends and family.
Musicians and athletes practice fundamentals to stay sharp with the basics – so why can’t we do that as marketers? Brand loyalty isn’t a given in today’s market climate so let’s back up and look at what it is and build out from there. A fresh perspective is always nice.
What is Brand Loyalty?
Quite simply, when we talk brand loyalty, we’re talking about those consumers you’ve acquired that are sticking around making repeat purchases. In line with the statistics we shared, they’re also referring your brand and products to their friends, families, and co-workers. As such, they are never to be taken for granted in pursuit of new customers.
Brand loyalists form the backbone that builds trust in your brand. They choose your brand over a competitor – and do so repeatedly. These consumers are increasingly hard to find though, especially as the market becomes saturated with digital natives and competitor options. These options are making loyal customers less so, and that’s a problem for brands.
Brand loyalty is built on emotional connection, and those ties must be understood and maintained. A brand loyal consumer often relates to something in a brand’s identity that reflects their own views. Therefore, understanding the voice of the customer is critical for your brand loyalty upkeep.
Why Brand Loyalty Matters
As alluded to earlier, brand loyalty matters first and foremost from a cost-effectiveness standpoint. It can cost up to seven times more to gain a new customer than to retain existing ones. Oddly enough, many brands still lean harder into acquisition than retention. Both are important, but retention is the gauge that measures brand loyalty, so it should be a higher priority.
Secondly, brand loyalty helps solidify your reputation. That’s known as brand equity, where returning customers place a high value on your brand and share that love with others. As we mentioned above, these customers spread the news when you make them happy – like the GoPro customer below.
Both brand equity and customer retention lead to consistency in sales. These are the people spending the most money with your brand. Have you heard of the Pareto Principle? It’s also known as the 80/20 rule and has several applications – one of which is 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers.
Guess what? Those 20% generally comprise the majority of your brand loyalists. Let’s see what we can do as marketers to keep them around.
Steps to Developing Your Brand Loyalty
1. Share Your Brand Story
Aside from fire, shelter, and food, the human experience has been built with story. It’s an innate part of being human. Connect your brand story with consumers, and magic happens. That’s not pie in the sky rhetoric either. Customers are drawn to stories, and every brand has one to tell.
And don’t neglect to highlight the stories your consumers share about your brand – those work equally well for establishing brand loyalty.
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2. Use Social Listening to Map the Customer Journey
Consumers follow a lifecycle as they decide which brands they like and which ones they don’t. It’s called the customer journey, and brand loyalty is a measurable segment within it. Segmenting your online brand mentions for consumers loyal to your brand lets you dive in and discover what they love and where their pain points are so you can build messaging tailored to their needs.
Brand loyalty conversations will almost always be one of the smaller segments within the customer journey. No matter how small the narrative is, it’s vital that sentiment stays high. For instance, here’s a sentiment breakdown for a major CPG brand showing metrics for their customer journey over the past month. Loyalty is looking fabulous at 90 on a scale of -100 to 100.
Knowing where you stand with consumers is critical. Social listening provides deep insights into the fans of your brand. Dig in deep into these brand loyalty conversations and adjust your messaging to hit them directly.
3. Keep an Eye on Emerging Trends
Quite simply, trends have a significant influence on consumer behavior. As such, it’s critical to keep your data analytics tools at the ready to spot emerging trends. The world is moving at the speed of social and consumers are tuned in.
So, when the news media and social media show signs of trends that influence consumer perception, it’s time to adjust your messaging to line up with changing behavior. Blockbuster once had many loyal customers, but now they only have one store. That’s because they missed the boat as new trends and technology came along, causing their customers to abandon ship.
These are just a few things you can do to inform your marketing strategy so you’re continually fortifying your brand loyalty. You can always download our free 2021 Brand Loyalty Report for more tips and insights so your messaging hits with your MVP customers.
And be sure to reach out for a demo, and we’ll show you how social listening can get you on the road to brand loyalty success!