What is brand loyalty? Why is it so important for businesses to build brand loyalty and have brand loyal customers? Why do businesses spend so much on keeping loyal customers? How can businesses improve brand loyalty? In this article I will answer these questions. But let me give an example first to make it a little easier to start the discussion.
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who, when I feel like coffee, I take myself to a coffee shop that I like. For me, no other coffee tastes like that coffee shop. I don’t care how many other coffee shops offer delicious coffee from famous coffee brands in the world. I wouldn’t trade the atmosphere and energy, the respectful and polite behavior and the high-quality sweets and drinks of that business for anything else. Yes! I am a loyal customer of that coffee shop and I will not betray my beloved coffee shop by going somewhere else!
The story of brand loyalty is also such a story.
Table of Contents
What is brand loyalty?
Brand loyalty is a deep relationship that is formed between the customers of a brand/business with that brand. When a customer is loyal to a brand, he only buys from that brand, regardless of the price and advertisements of competitors. It doesn’t matter to that customer what the price of the product is. It doesn’t matter to him how many other good products exist in the market at cheaper prices. However, despite all the difficulties, he buys from the same brand. A customer loyal to a brand finds everything he needs in that brand and its products, and for that reason, he is only a customer of that brand.
Different factors must go hand in hand for the customer to become loyal to the brand. Also, the deep connection and trust between the brand and the customer is not built overnight. Brand loyalty is a relationship that businesses build with great effort and expense and must maintain it with great effort and expense.
“Maintaining and protecting brand loyalty and the image of the brand in the minds of customers is one of the main axes of all business marketing strategies and campaigns.”
The marketing team of businesses in today’s busy world should use all possible means to increase the number of brand loyal customers as well as retain them. Digital marketing and social media marketing have given many opportunities to the marketing team of businesses. Opportunities to identify brand loyal customers and maintain relationships with them. Also, the marketing team can more easily convert interested customers into brand loyal customers.
Why should businesses have brand loyal customers?
If this question is answered, it seems to answer two other important questions about the importance and benefits of brand loyalty for businesses: Why is brand loyalty important or why should businesses pay to build brand loyalty? The importance of brand loyalty is clear from its definition. Of course, before I go into more detail about the benefits, I need to clarify the difference between the two concepts:
- Customer Loyalty: Customer’s loyalty to products or a product of a brand that is suitable for him in terms of price and more or less meets his needs. If that product becomes expensive, the customer can no longer remain loyal and buys another product that fits his budget.
- Brand Loyalty: This customer trusts the brand. In his mind, an image of the brand has been formed that goes beyond its products. He buys products because they belong to that brand. A loyal brand customer finds a personal and deep relationship with the brand that goes beyond their products and prices. In his mind, that brand has a special value (Brand Equity).
Brand loyal customers are important for businesses because:
- They are the ones who buy from the brand anyway and in any market situation, and this means a constant amount of sales and profit for the brand.
- They are very effective advertisers for that brand. The business benefits from advertising or word-of-mouth marketing of brand loyal customers without having to pay for advertising. They drive people like themselves, who are loyal customers to the next brand, to the business.
- The relationship between brand loyal customers and that brand is not easily severable. In fact, the brand is sure that any kind of negative publicity against it will not spoil the mind of the brand loyal customer. Only when that customer distances himself from the brand, the brand itself loses and destroys its relationship with the customer.
How is brand loyalty created?
How should businesses create brand loyalty and trust in their customers? How can the brand build a deep relationship with the customer and maintain it? To answer these two important questions, we must review the steps of building brand loyalty together. But before that, I need to talk about the different levels of customer relationship with the brand. The familiarity and relationship of the customer with the brand starts from somewhere and reaches the highest level, which is complete trust or complete loyalty to the brand.
How many levels of brand loyalty?
Brand loyalty has three levels. It means that the relationship between the customer and the brand starts with simple familiarity and trust and gradually becomes deeper and deeper:
- Brand Recognition: The first stage of brand loyalty is brand familiarity or brand awareness. A customer loyal to the brand knows it and knows what products it has. He is also familiar with the brand identity and brand architecture of that business.
- Brand Preference: When the customer knows the brand and buys from it, he prefers it to other competitors. That is, when the terms of buying two products are completely equal, he buys the product of the brand he prefers.
- Brand Insistence: This level is the highest level of brand loyalty. When a brand loyal customer reaches this level, he is biased towards the brand and will not exchange it for any other brand.
1. The first step is to know the customer’s brand completely
Businesses need persona-based marketing to build brand loyalty. First, one should properly understand the identity, values, concerns and needs of customers and design a branding and marketing strategy based on that. The first step is to understand how the customer will trust a brand with what features. Then the brand must tell its own story to the customer in such a way as to attract his attention and trust.
2. The second step is that the brand must be in constant contact with the customer in its community and social media
Nothing is more important to building brand loyalty than continuous and personal communication with customers. It is necessary to build a community for the brand and gather customers around the brand. It is necessary to carefully monitor customer interactions and comments on social media and respond to all comments. The digital marketing team of every business must move with social media trends and make the most of virtual spaces to engage customers interested in the brand.
3. The third step is that the brand should engage with the concerns and personal world of the customer
In order to gain trust, a personal relationship must be established with the customer. The customer must feel that the brand knows him. This is where personalized emails for each customer as well as the activities of the Customer Service department play a very important role. The business should not allow anything to negatively affect the customer’s satisfactory interaction with the brand.
If the brand finds out through social media or any other means that its customers have a specific concern, it should accompany that concern. For example, if the loyal customers of the Benz brand have environmental concerns and want to have a car that runs on clean fuels, Benz should definitely respond and pay attention to this concern.
How is customer trust in the brand damaged?
It is true that a brand loyal customer will not leave it and prefer it to any other brand, but any trust can be damaged and lost. Brands should not abandon the 3 steps mentioned to build brand loyalty. That is, those 3 stages should always have a place in the branding and marketing strategy of brands. If a brand makes a mistake in recognizing the needs and concerns and the real desire of customers loyal to its brand or does not move along with them, it will definitely lose some of them.
Of course, a brand may lose the trust of customers due to a product problem or an incident that occurs due to the use of the product. For example, if there is a problem with the moisturizing cream of a cosmetics brand and some customers suffer from skin problems or severe skin allergies due to the use of that cream and complain about the brand and the media, the public trust in that brand and also the trust of loyal customers in the brand is damaged.
Examples of brand loyalty
Everyone has finally become loyal to a brand in their life. So right now you can name a few brands that you or those around you are loyal to. Maybe you and I are loyal to the following brands:
- Google: You can be loyal to a brand in cyberspace. I am definitely loyal to the Google search engine and Gmail. Basically, I can’t imagine using another search engine or email.
- Apple: We all know people who can’t afford to buy another phone, even if they have to borrow money to buy a new iPhone!
- Chanel: Chanel perfumes have many loyal fans. Other Chanel products do not have many customers among different strata of people because they are very expensive.