Brand loyalty certainly isn’t a new concept when it comes to giving businesses a competitive edge. But what keeps customers coming back for more, and feeling an emotional connection with your brand?
When we talk about brand loyalty, we’re referring to a certain type of customer behaviour. Someone who chooses a brand over another consistently. The reason a person would do this is that they perceive your brand as meeting their needs above all others. From customer satisfaction to quality and value, customers will get an impression of your brand from how you interact with them. Then there’s the emotional element. The most successful brands build a true affinity with their customer by building trust. The question is, how can you recreate this for your business?
Why brand loyalty is crucial to your business
There’s a reason why big brands like Nike, Apple, and Starbucks are market leaders. Their competitive edge comes through years of building brand advocacy. But what exactly do these super-brands do to garner such support?
Take a look at these global powerhouses to see exactly how brand loyalty can keep a business on top:
- Coca-Cola versus Pepsi- Just look at the battle between cola giants Pepsi and Coca-Cola to see just how powerful brand loyalty can be. Surveys show that Coke retains 94.4% of its loyal households each quarter. Pepsi keeps hold of 91% of theirs. How do they do that? Surely, from an impartial point of view, the products are overwhelming similar. But by building a strong customer following over many years through things like marketing, customer relationships, and celebrity endorsements, each brand is able to create an unquestionable brand loyalty.
- Starbucks - From one beverage to the next, Starbucks is another example of a brand with a solid fan base. This is no mean feat given the amount of cool, independent coffee shops springing up across the globe. But that’s not all, it also outperforms all its international competitors, such as McDonald's and Krispy Kreme. And how does it do it? By condensing its offering to being about coffee, and coffee first and foremost, and by welcoming all its customers without the snobbery that can come with smaller, specialist coffee shops.
Using social media to drive engagement
There are a number of ways to improving brand loyalty. Reward programmes, marketing, and delivering an outstanding customer service are all part of the picture. Social media is another valuable tool being used by companies large and small to increase engagement and drive brand loyalty.
Used right, social media provides a platform for brands looking to boost their profile. It’s interesting to note that a survey from Sprout revealed that customers are 75% likely to share a positive brand interaction on social. One caveat to this is that your social accounts need to be fit for purpose. Just take a look at fashion behemoth ASOS to get an idea of what kind of work is involved in a true social strategy. This includes:
- Keeping your social media goals clear
- Tailoring posts to suit each social media platform
- Having a firm focus on customer service
This can create a lot of manhours even for smaller companies, but help is at hand. Employing a branding agency like us here at sevenseven is one easy way to keep your social accounts slick and current.
Why you should put the customer first
Getting a flood customer endorsement over social media makes for tasty reading indeed, but the groundwork needs to be put in to create those newsworthy social posts in the first place.
Looking after your customers is the surest way to stand out from your competitors. Just look at Zappos versus Amazon for instance. This is a brand that has 75% repeat customers and regularly engages with their loyal customer base on social media. Actively engaging with comments and delighting their customers with outstanding customer service is just part of their day-to-day. And this keeps their customers enthralled.
Back on a regional level, we have our very own experience of a business that puts the customer first. Warrington-based estate agent Harper Williams was launched with an unequivocal focus on going above and beyond for each customer. And why would this be so important to their brand identity? Firstly, because they understood that being an estate agent comes with a certain stereotype when it comes to customer service. By being honest, open, friendly and proactive they set out to break the mould and cut through the marketplace with a different way of working. In return, they get happy customers who are willing to spread the word, exactly like those loyal Zappos customers.
In conclusion …
Brand loyalty is something that can be difficult to measure and even harder to attract. In truth, the most successful brands have put years into creating a hard-to-beat offer that keeps their customers happy, and loyal.
That doesn’t mean that companies large and small can’t adopt the right attitude to increase brand loyalty. Having an unshakeable customer focus is certainly at the core of every great story. This, aided with tools like social media to boost word-of-mouth and create a platform to truly interact with customers will give you a solid starting point.
An experienced branding agency will be able to help you to boost confidence in your brand by using powerful tools like social media platforms. To find out more about how this could benefit your business, get in touch with our friendly team.