Let’s say you are tired of your trusty old iPhone 8 and you are ready for an upgrade? With the latest smartphones about to hit the market, it can be tough to decide which one to choose. The iPhone 13, Google Pixel 6, and Samsung Note 21 all have similar technical specs, but when it comes down to it, why do you find yourself gravitating towards the iPhone 13?
The answer lies in the concept of brand loyalty. As an Apple user for so long, you have developed a trust and emotional connection with the brand. This is what drives brand loyalty, and it can be a powerful factor in determining consumer behavior.
When it comes to purchasing a new phone, you want to ensure that you are getting the best product possible. But, with so many options available, it can be hard to differentiate between the various brands and models. This is where the power of brand loyalty comes into play. By choosing a brand that you know and trust, you can feel confident in your purchase and know that you are getting a high-quality product.
So, why did you choose the iPhone 13 over the other options? It’s simple: you have a strong emotional connection with the Apple brand, and that is what ultimately drives your purchasing decision. Whether it’s the sleek design, user-friendly interface, or unbeatable customer support, Apple has worked hard to build strong brand loyalty among its customers.
Brand loyalty refers to the positive feelings a buyer has for a particular brand, causing them to only buy that brand’s products. For example, in your daily or monthly grocery shopping, if you’re satisfied with a product from a company, you will buy that product without thinking about it. For instance, if you choose tea from several options and are satisfied with that product, you will add a brand product to your cart without a second thought during your next shopping trip.
Unlocking the Power of Brand Loyalty
Companies take steps to create brand loyalty in their potential buyers. However, before discussing these steps, let’s examine the psychological reasons why people feel brand loyalty.
One factor that increases brand loyalty is social identification. This is a sense of belonging to a group that we humans possess. This feeling leads to having different values, and companies show in their advertisements that they share common values with you, giving you the feeling that you belong to their group. This type of relationship between the company and the buyer also increases trust and word-of-mouth advertising. Word-of-mouth advertising refers to people liking the product and recommending it to others.
How can you increase the feeling of brand loyalty in companies?
It’s clear that each of us has certain habits, even when shopping. These habits can influence our choices. For example, imagine that instead of being picky, you have a habit of getting things done as quickly as possible. This habit may lead you to choose a product that is worse than others, if not overall. Imagine you want to order food. Although the restaurant far away offers better service, you order from the nearby restaurant so you don’t have to wait too long. And because you do this consistently, the service provided by that restaurant is already elevated in your eyes compared to the others. This is called the “Continuous Exposure Effect” in psychology. Now let’s answer this. I will share with you 12 ways to build brand loyalty for your business.
Okay, so let’s start off the list.
1. Product quality.
If there’s one thing that’s going to kill a business faster than anything else, it’s having a awful product or service. It is the most basic of basic. You have to make the absolute best product that you can, even if it’s a value product, a cheaper product. You still have to make the best value product you can. If it’s a premium price product, well, you better make it great, because the more people pay for something, the more they expect it to be awesome.
2. Focus on the benefits.
Having a sharp focus on the problem you’re solving for your customer and more importantly the benefits they’re getting is key to building brand loyalty. There are two kinds of benefits, and one is more important than the other. The first one is functional benefits, that’s what your product or service actually does, but the more important one is emotional benefits. That’s how the product makes people feel. The emotional payoff for using your brand, whatever the need is that you’re solving, safety, status, satisfying a craving, whatever that is, you have to focus on the emotional payoff and center your communication and your marketing efforts around that. How you make people feel when they interact with your company is critical to building brand loyalty.
3. Customer service.
The pandemic has brought out the absolute worst in so many companies when it comes to customer service. Phone wait times have skyrocketed, email response times have gotten longer and longer. Sure, it was a huge disruption, but after a year, you better get your act together. Right? Providing a great customer experience is one of the keys to building brand loyalty. It’s not only what the people get when they make that purchase, that’s just the beginning. You have to remember purchase satisfaction, follow-up, repair, and problem solving. True personal engagement. Brand loyalty is built over time and it takes long-term commitment.
4. Having a mission and ethos.
Every brand needs to have a higher calling. It’s not just enough to be able to sell the thing and deliver the thing. Your company has to have a deeper reason for being. It has to be codified into your brand strategy and it should be memorized by every person in your company. It should come out in every action that your company takes. If your company has not developed a mission statement, I suggest you work with a brand strategy firm and develop one right now. Developing brand loyalty is harder if your mission or your goals aren’t deeply etched into the DNA of your company.
5. Having an employee-first mentality.
Having a mission statement for your company is important, but if your employees can’t recite it or don’t live and breathe it with every interaction they have with your customers, your efforts in building brand loyalty are going to be really wasted. And not only should they know it, but they should be reflecting it in the work that they do. And they won’t be reflecting it in the work that they do if they’re unhappy, unmotivated, or if they feel taken advantage of or exploited. Your employees’ happiness and satisfaction on the inside of the company on the job is critically important to growing brand loyalty on the outside of your company. Your employees are the mirror, the face of your company, so you’ve got to take care of them. The companies that really succeed and have amazing brand loyalty have happy employees.
6. Be consistent.
The cornerstone of virtually everything having to do with branding has to do with consistency. You must be consistent in your visual branding, in your brand’s verbal and written communication. You also have to be consistent in the quality and delivery of your products and services. Having consistent customer experiences, having consistent customer support when something goes wrong. It’s also really important—critical to building brand loyalty. Loyalty of any kind comes from trustworthiness, and people need to get it every single time.
7. Rewarding loyalty when customers come back to you again and again.
You have to recognize it; you have to let them know that you appreciate it. You can reward them with discounts or free products after a certain number of purchases. You can upgrade them, like hotels and airlines do, by creating loyalty programs. You can make your customers feel appreciated for bringing you their business. Loyalty programs also have the added allure of kind of gamifying the brand experience, making it fun. Loyalty programs have a tendency to make people think about the brand more often too, as they track their rewards.
8. Be authentic.
In the digital age, it’s really easy to show up on the internet as one thing, looking perfect and polished, when actually you’re something else, like totally dysfunctional and broken. People want to do business with people, not brands. So, the more you humanize your brand, the more you’re authentic, the more you’re honest about your flaws and admit your mistakes, the more loyalty you’re going to build.
9. Be transparent.
There’s a really old and very famous cartoon where you have two dogs who are sitting in a computer and one dog turns to another one and says, “Hey, on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” Well, back in the day, that might have been true, but it’s not anymore. People like to see how a company runs. They want to know what you’re putting into your business, what you do, how things are made. No one trusts the man behind the curtain anymore. Having opaque business practices are a sure signal to people you can’t be trusted. And it sounds kind of counter-intuitive, but the more transparent and honest you are about your business, the more people will like and trust you and show loyalty to your brand.
10. Don’t lie.
The rumors about the death of truth are just media hype to get clicks. Don’t believe it, and even if you think truth can be hit for a while, it won’t be for long. The truth will always out, I repeat, always come out, and everyone will hear about it in about five seconds. So, if you’re a brand and you get caught lying, your brand loyalty goes down the toilet, so don’t do it.
11. Build community.
People like sharing what they like and feeling like they got a deal or found something before anyone else. But more than anything, people want to be part of a tribe or community of like-minded people who share their passions and beliefs. You have to give people who love your brand a place to be around other people who love your brand. Brand loyalty grows explosively and solidifies when it is experienced in groups, so start a Discord group, Facebook group, or Reddit group, and then show up and engage thoughtfully with your consumers. But don’t try to control the conversation, just engage, give value, and let them interact with each other.
12. Make your customer feel seen and heard.
Brands that build the strongest brand loyalty celebrate their customers, recognize them, give them a voice, feature them in their ads, and acknowledge their customers. Even a personalized email header is better than a generically addressed email. There are lots of things you can do to make your customers feel seen and heard.