Today, fewer consumers are staying loyal to brands. The days of walking down an aisle and looking for your specific item and then walking away are over. Consumers are now, more than ever, discount and deal driven. And, the internet is continuing to make this easier. A day’s worth of shopping can now be done in a fraction of the time — instantly comparing brands, vendors, and similar items to ensure the best and most cost efficient purchase possible.Brand loyalty is fickle and unpredictable. Put simply; most consumers are never unequivocally loyal to a single brand. That’s why companies are required to continuously nurture existing relationships while attracting new customers to stay competitive in ever-changing markets.
What can we do to build and maintain brand loyalty? Here are some suggestions:
- Keep your quality high.
- Perhaps this goes without saying, but if your customers have come to expect a certain level of quality from your product or service, you must maintain — and even exceed it — regularly. No one talks about mediocre brands or products, so make it a point to routinely be exceptional.
- Engage with your customers.
- Solicit feedback through your website, social sites or printed collateral. Give your customers reasons to come back to you. And most importantly, show your appreciation for them. This could be as simple as saying “thank you” and “happy birthday” to your customers, wishing them “happy holidays and a great new year” whether it’s face-to-face or via auto-triggered email campaigns. These simple acts let your customers know that you care about them outside of your business relationship.
- Run your business with a conscience.
- Whole Foods is a great example of a niche brand that stayed true to their ethical principles and now registers sales in the billions. Customers align with brands that have similar beliefs. There’s a great desire from customers to frequent companies that support their communities outside of the financial side of their business. It’s also an indicator of honesty and integrity for your customers.
- Don’t forget about videos.
- Video marketing is quickly becoming the norm. Not only does Google love it, but video content is a great way to provide answers to your customers’ questions and interacts with your audience in a valuable and meaningful way. With this medium, it’s not always about making the sale, but about starting a conversation
- Stay innovative.
- Keep a close eye on your industry trends and monitor your competitors. If your marcom strategy is relevant and provides value, it will never fall on deaf ears.
- Seek out and develop brand ambassadors.
- These are the people that love your product or service and want to shout from the rooftops about how great your brand is. Determine who these people are, how your brand ambassador program will be structured, and create swag gifts for them in order to continually reward them for the praise. They are your biggest fans and your greatest asset. Make it count!
The bread and butter of a company’s income is their existing customers. Roughly 75% of Americans think that brands should implement better strategies to encourage brand loyalty, according to a study conducted by Toll Free Forwarding. Remember, the key to building brand loyalty it staying sharp and engaged with your customers to provide an ever-evolving relationship, so that you never lose your edge.