Guest Writer: Juliette Johnson
So you’re thirsty and you’re looking for a drink. You head to thee canteen and are offered a choice between Coke, Pepsi or a generic brand cola. The generic brand cola is the cheapest on offer but which do you choose and why? You need a new TV do you buy a Sony or a Panasonic?
These quick introductory questions sum up the importance of brand loyalty, and why we need to create it.
What is Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty is basically a scenario whereby a customer will always choose one brand over another – not because of price, not because of convenience but because of fostered loyalty to your brand.
Brand loyalty is the process whereby companies market their products and attach connotations to them so that customers become reluctant to purchase from anyone else. At the base level companies try to build a reputation through their products – for providing quality, convenience, reliability or safety. Whatever key targets a company employs the aim is always the same – to make consumers keep buying from your company.
How is Brand Loyalty Created?
Brand loyalty is created or engendered though a number of different avenues but the most crucial is through marketing. Marketing allows a company to portray a product in a certain way to influence customers into choosing their brand above all others.
Advertising is of course the primary means to this end and in recent years this has expanded to digital and online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. These platforms have become crucial in building 121 customer relationships and loyalties.
Most people are now on Facebook and companies are incredibly keen to engage with people on these sites as people spend an inordinate amount of time on social media sites and can be engaged with in increasingly new ways.
Building brand loyalty through personalized marketing, social “events” like competitions and online games has become increasingly part of brand marketing operations. However, other brand loyalty strategies are important – word of mouth spread, trust, price, convenience and utility all play a crucial role in ensuring brand loyalty is created and maintained.
Why is Brand Loyalty Important?
The reason brand loyalty is so important is simple. Brand loyal customers will avoid buying your competitors products wherever possible. This means that your company can have a solid foundation of loyal customers without the uncertainty of market shifts and competition. Working towards expanding your loyal customer base is therefore vital to successful business strategy.
Instilling your brand with qualities means that it is perceived as being of a higher class or order than your competitors but in order to instil these sentiments you have to engage with your customers in the correct ways.
The First Step
We have already explored marketing avenues briefly, but in terms of fostering brand loyalty, market research must always be the first step in preparations. Customer profiling and segmentation allows companies to build the foundations of effective brand loyalty strategy and to ensure that your target audiences will engage with your products and brand and that they will become loyal customers. Of course there is no exact science to whether a person will become a loyal customer but failing to evaluate this core principle can leave a company’s marketing untargeted and ineffective.
Juliette Johnson is a Marketing Researcher and Communications Specialist. This content was created through consultation with the International Brand Marketing company ICLP Loyalty.