Brand Loyalty



Ease of use stands out as a particularly strong loyalty driver when evaluating a good brand experience, a Mailchimp survey found.

Dive Brief:

  • Frictionless experiences — and the removal of barriers to shopping journeys — are a key aspect of building loyalty, according to an Intuit Mailchimp report on the science of loyalty released Monday. Canvas8 surveyed about 4,000 consumers from the United States, U.K., Australia and Canada on behalf of Mailchimp.
  • Nearly all customers who made repeat purchases — 97% — said their preferred brand made purchasing quick and easy.
  • “One theme that unites the most prestigious behavioural scientists — such as Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler — is their belief that one of the most influential behavioural nudges is: ‘make it easy,’” Richard Shotton, author of “The Illusion of Choice” said in the report. “They argue that we overestimate the impact of appeal and underestimate the impact of friction.”

Dive Insight:

While there are many different aspects that go into developing brand loyalty — from consistency to emotional connection — a seamless experience is vital to getting customers to come back time and again.

“Our study found that consumer loyalty is often the result of subconscious cues that factor in routine, availability, ability, motivation, and convenience,” Mark DiCristina, VP of brand experience at Mailchimp, told CX Dive in an email. “In this landscape, loyalty exists at the intersection of emotion and pragmatism.”

Ease of experience greatly influences functional loyalty, the idea that a product or service functions the way it’s supposed to, according to Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the author of “Customer Science.”

Removing friction also allows for easy decision-making. One example is providing customers with a look at new products via email. Nearly half of email subscribers look at product offerings in brand emails, and nearly 2 in 5 make a purchase after reading the message, according to the report.

The survey highlighted the success of oral care company Quip, which offers a subscription plan for new toothbrush heads. The subscription model removes friction for customers, who don’t have to go in and make the purchase themselves every three months.

However, when friction is introduced into the experience, that can affect behavioural loyalty — the purchases customers make out of habit, Chernev said. He pointed to Tropicana, which redesigned its packaging about 15 years ago.

“It confused a lot of consumers” who were unsure where the orange juice they normally bought was, and disrupted sales, Chernev said. “When there is tension in the purchase process, it can disrupt behavioural loyalty.”

Feature Image Credit: Portra via Getty Images


Sourced from CX Dive


These three tips can help you move products outside of this online retailer as well.

Amazon is a behemoth of a marketplace that every e-commerce merchant should be on, or at least consider. However, with competition so fierce, it can be all too easy to fade into the background.

Follow these three practical steps to get more sales on and off of Amazon.

Address issues proactively

Pay attention to product reviews and feedback. If a particular issue or concern is recurring, address it at the source, be it product design or shipment packaging.

Then, when a customer has a negative experience, apologize sincerely and offer solutions, which could be a refund, replacement, or a discount on future purchases.

Offer additional value

If your product requires assembly or specific instructions, consider creating easy-to-understand online guides or video tutorials. Link to these resources in your product listings or follow-up emails.

Another way to add value is to reward loyal customers with exclusive discounts or early access to new product launches.

2. Build brand loyalty

Building brand loyalty can be difficult when a marketplace has so many options and sellers to choose from. However, you can help promote customer loyalty by being strategic in your packaging and investing in your brand presence on social media.

Personalized touch

Consider including a personalized thank you note in your product packaging. While this is logistically more challenging with FBA, you can achieve it with some planning.

After purchase, you can also send a follow-up email checking in on the customer’s experience and offering assistance if needed.

Build an off-Amazon presence

Engage with customers on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. Share behind-the-scenes content, gather feedback, and announce promotions. You could also create a brand website and encourage Amazon customers to sign up for newsletters. This allows you to communicate directly with your customer base and foster loyalty.

Providing stellar customer service can significantly enhance brand perception. Additionally, acquiring a new customer is often more expensive than retaining an existing one. By focusing on building trust, loyalty, and offering unparalleled support, Amazon FBA sellers can ensure long-term success.

Use an experienced FBA prep partner to ensure your product packaging complies with Amazon guidelines. Companies such as mine, MyFBAPrep, can help you strategize your unique packaging, source materials, put everything together, and send shipments into Amazon for you.

3. Enhance customer engagement and reviews

Amazon’s marketplace is competitive, and often the difference between a closed sale and a missed opportunity can be your product’s reviews and how you engage with customers. As such, you should actively solicit reviews.

Use Amazon’s automated email system

Amazon’s system can ask customers for reviews after they’ve received and spent time with their purchase. A gentle and neutral reminder can sometimes nudge satisfied buyers to leave positive feedback. Then, show appreciation for positive reviews with a brief thank you to foster goodwill and loyalty.

However, if someone leaves a negative review, promptly address their concerns. A professional and courteous response can sometimes turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.

Brush up on Amazon’s review policies before you request reviews. Importantly, reviews must be honest and authentic, and you cannot incentivize positive reviews.

Handle returns gracefully

One of the advantages of Amazon FBA is its streamlined return process. Ensure customers know how easy it is to return products if they’re dissatisfied.

When a product is returned, try to ascertain the reason. This feedback can be invaluable for product improvements.

While a quality product and optimized listing are critical, how you engage with customers can make or break your brand’s reputation on Amazon. Positive interactions and reviews boost immediate sales and drive long-term success by building trust and credibility on the marketplace.

By prioritizing your customers and building loyalty, you can enjoy more sales and engagement both on and off Amazon. Having consistent customers, and providing a reliably good customer experience will help build your brand’s reputation.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images



Sourced from Inc.

Sourced from MarketingDive

Is brand loyalty dying?

With so many ways to shop, consumers expect much more from brands, presenting steep competition to win their business. Research from McKinsey shows that 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions and 76% express frustrations when those interactions fail to materialize. But while consumers hold more power of choice when engaging with brands, brand loyalty isn’t going away. It’s just evolving.

We’ve entered a new era of brand-building – an evolution in strategies, technology and formats employed to grow long-term brand equity, levelling the playing field for marketers. When it comes to harnessing new brand-building opportunities, it’s up to marketers to redefine the traditional parameters for building deeper connections with people. At the height of consumer expectations, brands must marry tried-and-true marketing principles with contemporary concepts. If that sounds contradictory, well, that’s because it is!

Here are three strategies that challenge conventional thinking but promise to forge lasting connections and captivate audiences for your brand.

Build an authentic brand by letting your audience shape your story

The digital age has transformed our culture, with people cultivating their personal brands online. As a result, consumers increasingly value new and different content over time-tested traditional advertising, relying on creators for honest brand reviews and engaging in discussions on their own terms. Placing more of your brand’s destiny in consumers’ hands enhances brand loyalty and expands your reach by maximizing the likelihood of being a part of their content.

The era of the 30-second TV spot has given way to mobile platforms, where people connect and create. Highly polished videos can now be seen as inauthentic online. For example, creators and consumers share content via short-form video formats like Reels and Stories on Instagram and Facebook. These tools offer more creativity, a low barrier to experimentation, and allow marketers to fit the format and fidelity consumers expect. Partnering with creators holds the potential to drive discovery to new audiences, especially younger audiences, as Gen Z and Millenials are two times more likely to trust creators than Baby Boomers. Granting creators and consumers agency in evolving your brand’s narrative not only meets audiences where they are but also fosters trust within communities and furthers your brand’s equity over time.

Leverage AI to engineer serendipity

Whether recommending a new product or offering expanded services, consumers seek brands that will meet their personalized needs and wants. At the same time, they want to be early adopters of a trending brand or product. Striking the right balance between prediction and surprise may seem impossible. But, with the help of AI technology, you can create personalized creative and serendipitous discovery experiences that speak to each consumer. At Meta, AI has been at the core of our DNA, and we’re working to create 3 billion customized experiences for everyone across our platforms. Leveraging tools like Meta’s new generative AI-powered features for ad creatives, such as background generation, image expansion, and text variations, can help maximize productivity, personalization, and performance for all advertisers.

Simultaneously, AI can empower marketers to test and prove creative to understand what works best, the right audiences to target and the optimal budgets to put behind your ad spend. For example, with Meta’s Conversions API, marketers can increase performance and efficiency by connecting directly to their brand’s marketing data to optimize ad targeting and decrease cost per result. Combining the power of AI with your own data can fuel delightful ad experiences that enhance – not disrupt – your audience’s ad experience to drive more meaningful, long-term connections to your brand.

Prioritize everyday interactions as much as tentpole marketing moments

Modern brand building requires the understanding that everyday moments hold the same scale and impact as major tentpole advertising moments. For example, 200 billion Reels are watched daily on Facebook and Instagram. That means delivering a frictionless online transaction or reposting a customer’s Instagram Story may have a more lasting impact on consumer perception than a standalone ad campaign.

Frequent, light-touch, everyday moments can have a lasting impact on brand loyalty. Leading marketers prioritize small engagements alongside major campaigns. For instance, a global sports drink brand known for its presence around key cultural and sports moments also found that its everyday activations drove a significant impact on its long-term equity. Its campaigns on Meta drive 61% of media’s total contribution to preference, a key metric for the brand, outpacing traditional media like TV.

Brand loyalty isn’t fading, it’s just expanding. In the modern world, people value shared experiences and unique stories from their peers and favourite brands. It’s up to marketers to work against the grain and move between contradictions – from your brand to their stories, serendipity to data-driven predictability and major moments to everyday interactions.

Feature Image Credit: AsiaVision via Getty Images

Sourced from MarketingDive


The hospitality business is the latest company to use the video game platform as a brand-building tool.

The best place to meet your customers might be in a video game.

Hilton Hotels rolled out a new membership rewards initiative in the video game platform in collaboration with its celebrity spokesperson Paris Hilton, and her media company 11:11 Media.

The hospitality company launched an immersive hotel experience in “Slivingland”–a virtual neighbourhood that Paris Hilton launched on Roblox in 2023. When Roblox players complete in-game challenges in the virtual Hilton hotel lobby, they can redeem Hilton Honours points, which can be used towards hotel bookings, shopping, and even rental cars through Hilton. They also have the chance to win a Diamond Tier upgrade: Hilton’s premium membership status where guests have access to premium WiFi, room upgrades, and executive lounges. The campaign will run through February 22.

Hilton is the first hotel to join Roblox with tangible transferable rewards, but just one of the many businesses joining the gaming platform to advertise. Stephanie Latham, VP of global partnerships at Roblox said in a press release that she expects to see more brands tie their metaverse activations to the physical world with opportunities like loyalty program tie-ins, Roblox-inspired fashion items, or real-world commerce.

“The consumer demand across physical and digital is clear, and brands are smart to tap into it on Roblox where over 70 million people connect and communicate daily, nearly half of them Gen Z,” Latham added in the press release. “Utilizing [Paris Hilton’s Roblox universe] as part of Hilton’s loyalty program is paving the way for other brands to experiment with enhancing consumer engagement and brand loyalty via innovative immersive experiences and communities.”

Offering exclusive benefits and rewards can help business owners enhance their brand loyalty, and using video game platforms like Roblox to leverage rewards is one way to do so. Roblox, specifically, has more than 70 million daily active users; more than 200 brands are on the platform.

Chipotle employed this strategy when it rolled out a similar deal in 2021 that allowed 100,000 players to redeem a free entrée in the Chipotle app when they rolled a burrito in Roblox.

Hilton–the human, not the brand–said in a press release: “Getting actual Hilton Honours loyalty points for playing in Roblox?* That’s iconic.”

Feature Image Credit: Courtesy Company



Sourced from Inc.

Sourced from HealthCareDive

Direct mail, elevator wraps and posters do more than educate patients; high-quality printed materials can also help healthcare organizations build patient relationships and boost brand loyalty.

“When incorporated into an integrated marketing strategy, print communications can become a powerful differentiator in helping healthcare organizations stand out from the sea of emails and digital ads to reach and engage their customers in ways never seen before,” said Kevin Kaiser, national account manager for FedEx Office.

Consider it the healing power of print.

Print can enhance patient communication

Healthcare organizations want to expand communication beyond the exam room. Offering patients printed materials that include diagrams, charts, infographics and written instructions to supplement oral instructions from healthcare providers can make information more accessible.

Not only are printed materials valuable references that can be revisited, reinforced and shared, print may also positively affect patient health. Research found that 55.2% of patients read printed materials in waiting rooms at health clinics and that 77.2% of those who read the materials applied the information to improve their health.

While there has been rapid adoption of digital channels, leading consumers to expect improved user experiences and better offerings, print remains an important part of an omnichannel experience. Kaiser noted that “the digital-only approach can fail to make a meaningful impact.”

For patient communication, print marketing can be integrated with digital approaches, allowing healthcare organizations to heighten awareness and prioritize targeted patient communications that deliver results. Print media generates a 20% higher response rate and 77% higher recall than that of digital.

“The two approaches work so well together,” Kaiser said. “Relying on one or the other risks missing opportunities to leverage their physical and digital presence.”

A FedEx Office account manager can provide insight into the best products for healthcare organizations to capture attention and reinforce their reputation with patients. Kaiser called it “a cost-effective way to get the message out [and] target your desired audience with custom messaging.”

Print transcends hospital walls

The increase of telehealth and at-home healthcare services and an emphasis on providing a hyper-personalized patient experience has challenged healthcare organizations to rethink their approach to connecting with patients.

Besides the printed collateral used throughout hospitals and clinics, organizations have turned to creative strategies to raise brand awareness and foster patient relationships outside traditional healthcare settings. Kaiser pointed to vehicle wraps and tents, tablecloths, retractable banners and other signage used at community events as examples of expanding the brand beyond hospital walls.

“Print transcends the hospital,” he said.

Strategic direct-mail campaigns are also effective for reinforcing digital messages and reaching patients in their homes. In fact, direct mail is one of the most effective communication channels, with 44% of consumers expressing a preference for direct mail and 72% reading the printed mailing on the same day it’s received.

Leveraging printed materials outside of a hospital setting may be especially effective for reaching underserved populations.

“Given tech inequities and social determinants of health, direct mail and other tangible printed materials can be incredibly important,” Kaiser said. “Print materials can reach people where they gather, especially at churches, healthcare facilities and within the community at large.”

Print can help improve patient satisfaction

Patients who receive printed materials can share information to better compare and discuss options, which can lead to improved patient knowledge and satisfaction.

Patients who reported communication with their providers as being of high quality were more likely to maintain treatment plans, achieved better health outcomes and reported higher levels of satisfaction. Not only are satisfied patients 28% less likely to switch providers, their positive experiences can help healthcare organizations enhance their brand.

“If your patients are satisfied, they will leave positive reviews, give high ratings and generate more referrals for your facility,” Kaiser said. “This will enhance your reputation and attract more potential customers.”

Book a consultation with FedEx Office to learn more about corporate printing solutions that can enhance patient communication, transcend hospital walls, and boost brand recognition and consumer loyalty. 

Feature Image Credit: Getty

Sourced from HealthCareDive

By Christina Crawley

How we engage with our audiences online is constantly shifting and evolving.

In-person was king at some point, email at another and everything from omnichannel advertising to personalization has its place in the funnel. But an ongoing challenge, no matter how well we do any of this, is keeping our audiences committed and loyal to our brands and what we have to offer them in the long run.

Audience conversions happen for a wealth of reasons. From catching one’s eye amid the daily scroll to being referred by a friend or colleague, we all connect to a brand at a particular touchpoint. On the commercial side, it could mean buying a product or signing up for a discount, and on the non-commercial side, it’s making a donation toward a cause or signing up for a newsletter.

As marketers, we put a lot of effort into that first touch, so engagement usually starts off well. You’re able to confidently nurture and segment your new users so that they’re engaging with content from your brand that resonates with them and makes them want to purchase, register, volunteer or donate. The bigger challenge is the long game: retaining their interest and brand loyalty for longer than an extended honeymoon period.

There are a number of tactics non-profit and commercial brands can use to keep and reengage their subscribers, members and/or customers committed through a consistent brand experience. The following are three rules of thumb that we must always keep top of mind.

1. Treat everyone like they’re a paying member.

Whether you run a paid membership service or not, approach all your audiences as such. Offer them value that makes them feel part of something important and special. From discounts to invitation-only opportunities, remind them at each touchpoint of the value they’re getting from having connected with your brand in the first place. In doing so, you’re much more likely to see longer-term engagement with your offerings.

2. Deepen your relationship with them.

We all know our audiences to a certain extent, but it’s usually based on a particular moment in time. There are so many factors that influence people’s changing interests and priorities. Make sure you know what those are. An easy way to do so is to ask for feedback. Following your first rule of thumb (treat everyone like they’re a paying member), offer them something real in return—and don’t make it a chance to win something. For example, offer a discount code on their next purchase, mail them a piece of swag (which is a win-win for brand loyalty) or send them a free ticket to an event. Depending on your budget and goals, the value you can offer them will pay you tenfold through the honest feedback they’ll hand over in return.

3. Maintain personalization.

As the saying goes, “If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.” If you’ve got segmentation rules set up, make sure you’re keeping them up to date and modifying them when needed. Your second rule of thumb (deepen your relationship with them) will inform the content and channel of your personalized outreach. The more confident you are that you have the right segments at this very moment, the easier it is to develop the right messaging that keeps your audiences committed to your product or cause.

Building and retaining brand loyalty is, of course, an ongoing process that requires the same level of experimentation and A/B testing as your top-of-the-funnel tactics. Consistently focus on delivering value, building positive relationships and providing content that resonates with each of your audience segments. By doing so, you can maintain a loyal customer base that supports your brand not just now but well into the future.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Christina Crawley

Managing Director of Marketing at Forum One, a leader in marketing and outreach to the world’s most influential nonprofits and foundations. Read Christina Crawley’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

By Sarah Cha

Looking to turn your customers into raving fans?

You’re in the right place! In this guide we’re going to demystify the concept of brand loyalty, bringing it down from abstract theory to practical, actionable steps.

Whether you’re running a start-up or an established business, these techniques will show you exactly how to cultivate that sought-after loyalty.

Think of it like planting a garden — with the right care and attention, you can reap the benefits of a dedicated customer base for years to come.

So, ready to sow the seeds of loyalty?

Let’s start planting!

What is Brand Loyalty?

Have you ever tried to dissuade a die-hard Apple fan from buying their latest iPhone?

Or tried to convince a fervent Harley-Davidson fan to trade in their bike for any other brand?

If so, you know that it’s a nearly impossible feat.

That’s brand loyalty in action: It’s a force that drives customers to repeatedly choose a specific brand, eclipsing alternatives even at higher costs or inconveniences.

But wait, isn’t that just customer loyalty?

Not quite. The line separating these two is more distinct than you think.

While customer loyalty focuses on transactional interactions (think frequent flier miles or buy one get one free deals), brand loyalty revolves around emotional connections.

In fact, brand loyalty is about creating that emotional bond.

It’s about a brand resonating with its customers on a personal level.

It’s about a shared set of values.

It’s not just about rewarding repeat purchases; it’s about kindling a deep-rooted affinity for your brand.

So why should anyone bother about brand loyalty?

It’s simple. Loyal customers may be rarer than casual buyers. But they spend much more money, advocate for your brand, and are willing to stick with you through thick and thin.

In other words, having enough customers with brand loyalty is a sure-fire way to drive sustainable business growth.

The Essential Types of Brand Loyalty You Should Know

Brand loyalty comes in different levels of intensity. Here’s a little about each type, and what you can do as a marketer to persuade them.

The Hard-Core Loyalists

Let’s start with the hard-core loyalists. These are the customers who have eyes only for your brand.

Come rain or shine, these loyalists are unwavering in their commitment.

They won’t switch brands for anything in the world, and they form the core of your brand’s loyal customer base.

Consider Apple enthusiasts: They’ll line up overnight for a new product launch, wear Apple merchandise, and defend the brand in any debate.

This fervour didn’t occur by accident.

Apple has consistently delivered innovative, high-quality products and backed them with top-notch customer service and an engaging brand narrative. As a result, their customers are die-hard loyalists.

The key takeaway here is consistency.

When you deliver consistently on your brand promise, customers develop trust in your brand, evolving into hard-core loyalists.

Remember, these customers are your brand’s best ambassadors. They will not only stick around but also bring in new customers through positive word-of-mouth.

The Split Customers

Next, let’s talk about split customers.

These customers have a few favourite brands and switch between them. They enjoy variety and are open to trying out new products if they match their expectations.

A perfect example of split customers would be those who shop for clothes.

They might love the trendy clothing line from Zara, the timeless classics from H&M, and the sustainable offerings from Everlane. Depending on the occasion, their mood, or the latest collections, they alternate between these brands.

To win over split customers, your brand needs to offer something unique and valuable that stands out from competitors.

Regular product innovations, seasonal collections, or exclusive benefits can entice these customers to choose your brand more often.

The Shifting Loyalists

Finally, we have the shifting loyalists, the explorers.

They’re always on the hunt for better products, superior service, or a more appealing brand story.

They’re not disloyal; but they simply value quality and are willing to change loyalties if another brand meets their needs better.

For instance, a shifting loyalist might visit a popular coffee chain one week, then switch to a local artisanal café that offers a more personal, unique, and high-quality coffee experience next time.

Winning over shifting loyalists is challenging but not impossible.

Strive for continuous improvement and be responsive to customer feedback. Show these customers that you’re not complacent, and you’re committed to offering the best.

They’ll appreciate your efforts and may even pause their quest to stick around!

Remember, understanding these different types of brand loyalists is the first step to developing a successful brand loyalty strategy.

By recognizing what drives each type, you can tailor your approach to appeal to each group and transform more customers into loyal fans.

3 Key Brand Loyalty Stages to Consider

Now that you know the different types of customer loyalty, how do you build them up to become the most loyal and reliable clients and customers?

Stage 1: Brand Recognition

Brand recognition is the ground level, the foundation of our skyscraper. It’s what allows customers to identify your brand among the sea of options.

Think about McDonald’s golden arches or the Nike swoosh — the moment you see them, you know the brand.

This recognition is critical because if they don’t know you exist, how can they buy products from you in the first place?

Creating a unique and memorable brand identity, including your logo, colours, slogan, and even your tone of voice, is a great place to start when attempting to enhancing brand recognition.

This isn’t just about being known; it’s about being known for something specific, something that resonates with your target audience.

Stage 2: Brand Preference

Next, we move up to where the magic starts to happen.

Here, your brand isn’t just known; it’s favoured over others.

You’ve managed to strike a chord with your audience, and they now appreciate your unique selling proposition. They consider you not just as an option, but as a viable, attractive choice.

Achieving brand preference involves delivering on your promises, offering a superior product or service, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

It’s also crucial to communicate what makes your brand different and why customers should choose you over others. Give them a good reason for a desired action, and more likely than not, they’ll take the action.

Stage 3: Brand Insistence

Now, let’s climb to the rooftop of our brand loyalty skyscraper — brand insistence.

At this stage, your brand isn’t just a preferred choice; it’s the only choice.

Your customers are so connected to your brand that they’ll walk an extra mile, literally and metaphorically, to stick with you. They’ll ignore cheaper options, overlook minor flaws, and stand as a bulwark against competitive forces.

Reaching the stage of brand insistence requires exceptional customer experiences, consistently delivered over time.

It’s about building emotional connections, exceeding customer expectations, and rewarding loyalty.

It’s the ultimate stage of customer loyalty and the most rewarding for your business.

Innovative Techniques (& Tips) to Foster Brand Loyalty

To foster brand loyalty, you need to go beyond the basics.

Here are a collection of powerful and practical techniques that can help build a steadfast relationship between your brand and your customers…

  • Craft a Powerful Brand Story: Your brand story should be compelling, relatable, and inspiring. This narrative will define who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Think of TOMS Shoes, whose mission of ‘one for one’ resonates deeply with their audience.
  • Offer Consistently Exceptional Customer Experience: Go the extra mile to exceed customer expectations at every touchpoint. This involves providing high-quality products, efficient service, and prompt support.
  • Harness the Power of Social Media: Social media platforms allow you to engage directly with your customers. Regularly posting relevant content and interacting with your followers can create a sense of community.
  • Build a Vibrant Community: Foster a sense of belonging among your customers. You could create an online forum, host events, or even start a brand-centric podcast.
  • Leverage the Principle of Reciprocity: This psychological principle states that people are more likely to give something when they receive something. So, reward your customers’ loyalty with exclusive perks, discounts, or freebies, and they may reciprocate your goodwill!
  • Implement Personalized Marketing: Tailor your marketing strategies to cater to individual customer preferences. With advancements in AI, personalized email marketing, and product recommendations are now easier than ever.
  • Institute a Robust Referral Program: Encourage customers to become brand ambassadors. Offer them incentives like discounts or exclusive products when they successfully refer others to your brand.
  • Gamify the Customer Experience: Games are engaging and addictive. Incorporate elements of games, like points, badges, or leader boards, into your customer interactions to make them fun and engaging.
  • Take Advantage of Scarcity: Limited-time offers or limited-quantity products can create a sense of urgency, encouraging customers to make a purchase.
  • Build Collaborations with Complementary Brands: This can add value to your customers by offering them more variety and opens new channels for customer acquisition. An example is GoPro and Red Bull’s collaboration on various events and projects.
  • Encourage Customer Feedback: Actively seek customer feedback and make visible changes based on their suggestions. This shows that you value their opinions.
  • Provide a Seamless Omnichannel Experience: Ensure that your customer experience is consistent across all channels — in-store, online, on social media, over the phone, etc.
  • Establish a Loyalty Program: Rewards programs, like Starbucks’ Star Program, can encourage repeat purchases and increase customer retention.
  • Utilize Social Proof: Testimonials, reviews, and user-generated content can significantly influence purchasing decisions by building trust.
  • Create Exclusive Content: Develop valuable content that is exclusive to your loyal customers. This could be in-depth guides, webinars, or behind-the-scenes videos, giving your audience a reason to stay engaged.

Each of these techniques forms a piece of the loyalty puzzle.

When implemented strategically and consistently, they can work together to create an unshakeable bond between your brand and your customers.

It’s all about creating value, building relationships, and keeping the lines of communication open. The better you treat your customers, the more likely they are to return the favour!

Achieve Unshakeable Brand Loyalty

You’ve been through the trenches, working tirelessly to get your brand up there. It’s no small feat, and this journey towards brand loyalty is a marathon, not a sprint.

But with the tips and strategies from this article in your toolkit, you’ll be miles ahead.

Keep nurturing those customer relationships, and before you know it, you’ll have a legion of customers singing your brand’s praises.

Now, go make some loyal fans!

By Sarah Cha

Sarah Cha is an avid writer, reader, and lifelong learner who loves making magic behind-the-scenes at Smart Blogger. When she’s not wrangling words onto a screen or page, you can find her strumming a guitar, tickling a canvas, or playing fetch with her favorite four-footed friend!

Sourced from SmartBlogger

By Scott Gardner

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, brand marketers perhaps could argue about the importance of brand loyalty—diehard customers who could always be counted on to purchase your product above all others, even if yours cost a smidge more.

Today, the notion of brand loyalty is obsolete. Supply chain issues that have left store shelves intermittently empty, coupled with rising costs, pretty much hastened the demise of an idea that was already waning.

As much as we’d like to think otherwise, most consumers today are not loyal to any brand. Rather than be loyal to a brand, consumers’ relationships with brands are more fluid post-Covid. They enter into and sometimes fall out of brand relationships on whims. And just like any relationship, it can last a day, a year or a lifetime. It’s up to them. To maintain these relationships with customers, a brand needs to build on the relationship and invest in it daily.

Creating Brand Believers

When that brand relationship is nurtured properly, the ultimate payoff is better than loyalty—it’s creating brand believers. This is a focused group of your customers who have a shared set of interests, values or beliefs in views about your brand. It’s not all of your customers to be sure, but rather that core group that is most likely to evangelize on behalf of your brand. They’re the ones driving word of mouth, telling their friends and spreading the word online. Believers are connected by a pattern of shared symbolic consumption in which people choose brands for more than just the function they provide—for them, brands carry meaning, values and cultural symbols.

What does this mean? Customers are ready to have a relationship with a brand beyond the product itself. Brand believers make purchase decisions and balance functional needs with their aspirations, emotional desires and even their sense of self-identity. They’re also magnetic, inspiring other customers to be more like they are.

But who are they really, and how do you find them? That is the problem companies run into at this stage in the conversation. The reason is that for many companies, the customer data that’s key to identifying loyal customers does not work to find your believers. Believer data is typically never researched in the first place. That’s because this data is about how customers think and make decisions, not about the brand itself or whether they’re good customers. What motivates and drives them as people? What’s important to them?

Understanding Mindset Territories

More than simple surveys or demographic generalizations, getting at the heart of what makes people tick requires a deeper dive. Marketers need to don their professorial leather-patched houndstooth jackets and ask deeper, more academically inclined questions that attempt to understand how their customers approach life, what they value and what motivates their behaviour.

The answer is not found in simple customer surveys but rather by looking inward at the data siloed within your company and asking the tough questions internally. Who are your customers and what’s really the most effective strategy to understand them?

So, a typical question we might ask CMOs to help them better understand who their customers really are might be: What are the psychographic characteristics that you associate with your customers? What do they value? What do you think draws them to your brand over another?

You need to work to uncover those answers, derived from data produced by asking the right questions. This information will reveal certain defining characteristics of your customers. For example, is your brand believer a social butterfly? Or perhaps someone who is happiest when they’re hanging out with a bunch of people and they’re the center of attention? Maybe they’re the “hardworking realist,” the “laid-back plodder,” the “playful explorer” or the “confident patriot.” Internally, we call these mindset territories or, more simply put, a detailed psychological categorization of who your customers are. Once we determine these varied, individual mindset territories, we begin to see the brand strategy road map that will be most effective at turning them from customers into brand believers. That means unlocking the specific needs that drive choices.

When you’re tapping into insights, and that data is informing the creative your agencies are delivering, you’re achieving a new level of synergy between what a brand represents and who the customer is. It is as remarkable as it is provable. It’s not happening by chance—it’s not your brand suddenly having a moment, but rather year-in, year-out sustained growth.

For example, one of our clients—a recognizable brand specializing in single-serve coffee—wanted to expand into tea in a major way. Our agency’s analysis showed their brand believer to be a mindset territory we describe as “the New Americans”—those with tea-drinking sensibilities and who are distinctly American. This insight became what drove our brand strategy and creative approach. An example of this was to build the brand around the idea of igniting the modern tea revolution and getting our brand believers to think differently about tea. This translated into creative executions that were decidedly American and not rooted in the traditionally floral, fruity and ornate tea world that our grandmothers embrace. The packaging design was simple, powerful and bold. Brand experiences were influenced through the lens of a technology innovator, where an orthodox tea leaf reaches its full potential married with precision. Those insights helped to design the brand experience and ultimately a successful entry into the tea category.

Okay, now that your brand and customer are aligned, there is one final piece that is missing: your employees. In my next article, I’ll look at the importance of getting your employees to become believers in your brand.

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By Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner is the Founder and CEO of Liquid Agency, a full-service brand, employee and customer experience agency based in San Jose, CA. Read Scott Gardner’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

By Cynthia Sener

Whether we’re in a true recession or not, consumers have already called it and decided we will be soon. Seventy percent of Americans believe a recession is coming, according to a survey from MagnifyMoney (via CNBC). That means a business strategy to increase brand loyalty in the context of a perceived recession is imperative as we head into uncertain times.

Uncertainty And Churn

According to a recent McKinsey report, “Overall, pessimism about the second half of 2022 is on par with the early months of the pandemic in 2020.” That pessimism is not solely relegated to economic worries—fears over geopolitical threats, inflation and supply chain issues also loom large.

With uncertain times comes churn in the marketplace. Covid-worn and weary of putting their lives on hold, 46% of consumers are excited to spend money on the things they haven’t been able to, according to EY. And yet, 60% of those same consumers are concerned about the rising cost of living.

As brands are forced to raise prices to offset supply chain impacts and increased energy costs, EY found that the sway of brand names in purchase decisions dropped from 24% earlier in the year to 17% in June 2022.

Further complicating matters is the fact that free-rein marketing spending to lure consumers back to the brand could come under siege if businesses seek to cut spending. According to data from Sapio Research (via Marketing Tech), 95% of businesses across the globe cite concerns over a potential recession.

The Connection Between Brand Success And The Customer Experience

This is likely to be a year of changing consumer behaviours, so it’s mission-critical that brands stay focused on evolving their customer experience and give consumers compelling reasons to engage, trust, share and return.

Weathering economic hardship in 2022 requires a renewed commitment to understanding current consumer behaviours. This isn’t merely a knowledge exercise. Brands should activate their understanding of consumer needs, wants and expectations across the business to create a seamless experience, from online interactions to the moment customers walk through the door.

Building a better customer experience means understanding buyers inside and out. Avoid pigeon-holing consumers into simple, traditional demographics: Gen Z, millennials, baby boomers, gender, education, occupation, income and so on. Today’s savvy brand leaders should also consider the impacts of psychological segmentation. As an article (paywall) in the Harvard Business Review explains, psychographics are just as important as demographics for developing a meaningful profile of a brand’s ideal consumers.

In an economic downturn, psychographic considerations should include the:

• Financially fearful: Some members of society are more vulnerable to economic downturns, and they likely know that any unexpected expense can set them back for months, if not years.

• Cautiously optimistic: Anxious about the real short-term impacts on their pocketbooks and lifestyle, this group still holds fast to the hope that the economy and their investments will improve over the long haul.

• Devil-may-care group: While they revel in the upturns, they are also confident that they can ride out the downturns and are unlikely to change their spending habits.

Brands that understand these segments and adapt their marketing messaging, technology and products accordingly could be better prepared to respond to changing economic circumstances.

While fiscal restraint is important for any business, this may not be the time for ambitious brands to curtail all spending. Consider which tools in your tech stack or on the market may still be helpful for powering through the economic downturn.

Innovating To Prevail

Whatever the impact of economic changes between this year and next may be, consumers won’t evaporate in a puff of Harry Potter smoke. They will continue to live their lives—to hope, dream and invest in the experiences and products that hold meaning for them. Even so, brands should do more than pay “lip service” to customer experience. In 2022, brands should take action to show their customers that they hear them and they’re creating new ways to meet them exactly where, when and how they want to be met.

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By Cynthia Sener

Chief revenue officer of Chatmeter; awarded 2020 Marketing Tech Executive of the Year by DM News. Read Cynthia Sener’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

By Daniel Todaro

The concept of building brand loyalty used to be relatively straightforward. Effective marketing and delivery of a positive customer experience would create a positive association for a brand. The lifetime value of that relationship could then be hugely profitable, with consumers unlikely to switch.

However, we now live in a world of choice and information overload. An increasingly digital landscape, dominated by tech giants who hold many of the cards. In this new world, run by algorithms and AI, traditional long-held attachments are being unwound. As we culturally shift in shopping habits, people are more likely to remember what they bought from Instagram or Amazon but not the actual name of the brand. Does this mean brand loyalty is dead or at the very least waning?

Brand communication – from top-down to influencer-led

In the old world, brand marketers would use above-the-line platforms to create a strong identity and desire for a product. The brand direction was determined in a very top-down fashion, often based on the instinct of the CMO. A ‘needs’ state was identified and answered and an advertising campaign was launched highlighting the brand’s unique qualities.

In today’s world, we have shifted to digital and younger generations will see campaigns on Tik Tok and Instagram where the product is being advocated by a brand ambassador or a paid-for ad placed on social. In this new era, the control of the brand’s identity has been repackaged, personalized, and filtered through the lens of influencers. Having never heard of the brand, the influencer’s recommendation can be enough to create a consumer of a brand.

In fact, large segments of audiences will have never even seen an advert on TV or in a newspaper because they don’t touch a newspaper or they don’t switch on a TV. Or the brand has not included it as part of its media planning. According to recent research by Nielson, only 10% of Gen Z rank watching TV as their most popular entertainment activity. In fact, across the 18-34 bracket, live TV viewership dropped by 23% year on year.

The changing nature of brand loyalty

So, this digitally dominant world has created an entirely different mindset when it comes to brand loyalty. For socially digital natives, brand loyalty is about what it offers to them in value. A brand like Paul Smith will have a huge amount of brand equity among Gen X or baby boomers for its quality, tailoring, or painstakingly built partnerships and marketing campaigns. However, this will mean nothing for younger generations living in the moment and wanting to know what a brand can deliver here and now.

For younger consumers, if it is a relevant brand, it will be popular for them. If it’s not, they are just not interested. Quality has given way to relevance or price consciousness. Indeed there has been a huge rise in interest among younger audiences in mobile phone brands that offer a lot of the same features as iPhones but for a fraction of the price, like Xiaomi built with an Android skin. The tease here is the freedom an Android device offers a user who doesn’t want to be part of or associated with ‘that crowd’.

For digital natives, there is a checklist of what is really important for them when they spend their money. In recent research, price promotion was rated as crucial for this audience, but ethics are also vital. How long is a product going to last and what are they going to use it for? Does it meet my needs and values?

The life cycle of brands

In this new age, the life cycle of brands is also shorter, almost sonic. Brands can spring up quickly to consciousness but equally, their success can be shorter-lived. This has been evidenced by the spate of high-street retail brands that have disappeared.

Glossier is a D2C brand that sprung up in relatively short order. They have quickly scaled up the ladder of investment based on perceived digital growth that would continue endlessly. The direct-to-consumer beauty brand has raised an astonishing $80 million in Series E funding and reversed the traditional model.

They have latterly embraced physical retail with a pop-up store in Covent Garden, London,  and the swift ascent to being a much-loved brand is highlighted by the queues of people outside. However, they recently had to lay off staff as the growth they have experienced has not been maintained. Could the bubble burst as quickly as it was created?

How do brands build loyalty today?

It is certainly difficult for brands to build loyalty in the modern world because they are having to think about a very different culturally younger generation and manage a more traditionally minded older audience.

To square up this circle, value and values are two unifying themes that can be focused on, although realized in different ways. As consumers, we are all more interested in the purpose of brands and this is a clear differentiator. Brands today, particularly consumer goods products, have to think not only about how they make a product but also how they produce it. According to a study by Cone/Porter Novelli, 77% of consumers say they have stronger emotional bonds to purpose-driven companies.

Also, what added value are brands able to offer beyond the immediate product or service? How are they innovating to remain relevant? An excellent example of this is the Google Pixel 6 device, which enables users to remove photobombers and unwanted objects so that they “disappear like magic” using a “magic eraser”. Also, Portraits on Pixel represent the nuances of different skin tones for all people beautifully and authentically, to take true, accurate portraits. It’s innovations like these that create an immediate way for brands to build loyalty in the modern era.

Canny partnerships unite different audiences

Additionally, partnerships can be a great way of uniting seemingly disparate groups around common themes. CK1 Palace was a great example of this. A new collaboration between Calvin Klein and Palace Skateboards was launched with a tongue-in-cheek film celebrating cities that came to define these two labels. For streetwear brand Palace, it was London and its lively skate scene, with grainy film textures creating some retro cool.

Also included are high-contrast, black-and-white style studio shots, synonymous with Calvin Klein. The combination of nostalgia and modern relevance was a canny move that other brands would do well to replicate. Calvin Klein has opened new stores and you will see members of Gen Z proudly walking around Carnaby Street in London with a Calvin Klein shopping bag. This shows an effective strategy by a heritage brand to remain relevant and build loyalty with different audiences.

Towards a new approach

Creating brand loyalty today is far more difficult in a digital, social media-dominated world of increasing fickleness. Heritage brands are in trouble with a younger generation who has no interest in timeless qualities built up over many years. But brands can succeed if they adopt a new playbook. This needs to focus on the values and value of their product and on leveraging partnerships to remain relevant.

According to author Maurice Franks, “Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart.”

Feature Image Source: Keagan Henman

By Daniel Todaro

Daniel formed Gekko in April 2002 and, over a decade on, it has grown to become one of the UK’s leading retail, field marketing, and experiential agencies providing results-driven solutions to technology and leisure brands. Whilst FMCG has been the traditional domain of the field marketing and impulse purchases, Gekko has carved out an impressive niche in a sector dominated by considered purchases. Through understanding great customer experience to motivate distinct shopper tribes, Gekko converts shoppers into customers of global consumer electronics brands. Daniel is a regular industry commentator in his capacity and experience as a business leader, tech champion and in brand marketing.

Sourced from Brandingmag