- Vanessa Rowley-Matthew
6 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty
In today's tech world, potential customers may scour many websites to research a service they're thinking of using before making an actual purchase. Then they continue to conduct research even after making a purchase, resulting in fewer and fewer customers remaining loyal to one specific brand.
Why Loyal Customers Are the Most Profitable
Repeat customers cost less to market to, spend more, and buy more frequently. Yet, only 27% of initial sales turn into second sales of a product or service. Therefore, it would seem obvious that companies need to invest in building brand loyalty to improve the perception of their brand among current and potential customers.
For example, a potential consumer may not remember the brand name of a service they looked into long ago. So brand marketing needs to be done in the right way so that members of a target audience can subconsciously connect with your brand when they see any of its brand elements (i.e., logo) and revisit your site.
Here are six tips to help turn your casual target audience member into an entrenched fan who knows your brand name by heart, remembers your brand personality, logo, and what you're all about, and keeps coming back for more.
1. Engage With Your Confirmed Customer
Don't sit back and rest on your laurels because you have a base of people who have benefitted from your services. Connect with these valuable customers and work to create a sense of community and belonging. Build brand loyalty by sharing your brand's exciting new developments and important news and opinions to keep this audience engaged and enthusiastic.
Use social media to inform your potential customers of new trends, special promotions, and the next steps for your brand. Make it feel like a friendly conversation—definitely don't go the hard sell route!
You can also use social media engagement to listen as well as communicate. You'll discover what your best customers love about your service(s) and what they'd change if they could—then you can change it to improve the overall perception of your brand for the better.
Finally, an old-school tip that still works. Send your customers simple thank you notes. For example, a Happy Birthday or Happy Holidays message will go a long way. Remember, people want to feel that you care about them outside of business transactions, and they will share their good feelings with others for positive word-of-mouth marketing.
2. Recognize Your Customers' Needs and What Makes Them Tick
Many businesses fail because of churn. Therefore, it follows that the fastest-growing companies have the lowest churn. A constant flow of customers or donors out of your back door will kill your business or nonprofit! One way to cut down on churn is to use your customer behavior data to foreshadow what your consumers are likely to want and then offer it. This strategy is another way to generate word-of-mouth marketing that will improve the perception of your brand.
3. Brand Marketing: Make Sure Your Brand Stays Consistent
Consistency is a crucial factor in building customer loyalty. Your brand needs to look and feel the same to consumers each time they interact with it. Therefore, brand elements, such as a brand's logo, name, and colors, should be consistent everywhere your brand is present. A great way to ensure brand consistency is by developing a Brand Book that provides guardrails for how your brand presents itself to the public to influence how consumers will perceive your brand.
Use a Logo that Would Resonate With Your Audience
The colors you choose represent your brand's personality and provide a visual expression of the feeling, mood, or role your brand is trying to elicit. Choose a color palette informed by a brand strategy with this in mind to improve the perception of your brand and build brand loyalty.
The color red prompts viewers to feel active, emotional, and passionate about a brand. Comparatively, blue signifies a brand personality of trust, comfort, and confidence.
Apple is quite consistent with its use of white throughout its entire brand palette to evoke simplicity, cleanliness, and elegance. You can also think of the white as a blank canvas to be creative, as Apple embodies the Creator brand archetype and is perceived as a brand for those who want to create.
Have Apple's products become symbols of advanced technology and luxury that enables creativity solely because of its brand-building color choice? No. But the fact that all of Apple's products look like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie makes sense in terms of their brand's essence, so it's definitely helping.
Think about what you want your brand to convey—spark a response, calm anxiety, portray simplicity, etc.
4. Focus on What Your Brand Does Best
Build brand loyalty by getting your target audience to identify with your brand's core values and mission. Here's how people see you:
What You Do and Why Is Who You Are.
The more specific you can be about your brand's message, the more your audience can understand what you can offer them. You may be forced to pick the one thing you are the best at, but that's the story you should stick to.
Wait, you say, surely offering more products, services, or even identities, would endear my brand to more people? But in reality, the more niche you are, the more affection you will trigger in people who like you because they can more clearly see themselves in your brand. If you try to please everyone, you end up making no impression whatsoever.
Nike produces different kinds of sportswear and sporting gear—yoga pants, tube socks, water bottles, and dumbbells. But close your eyes and think Nike, and you may only think of hero shots of athletes—Nike IS a Hero brand. What kind of brand are you?
5. Use Influencers to Promote Your Brand
One of the ways to build brand loyalty is by having celebrities promote your product or service. However, celebrities are expensive and could actually end up tarnishing your brand's reputation by doing something unethical. For instance, Lance Armstrong's association with Nike made the company look great when he was consistently winning the Tour de France, but his doping scandal tarnished the brand.
Consumers increasingly find recommendations from customers the most reliable form of testimonial. So look for online influencers who have a close relationship with your brand. A platform like julius with HPR allows brands to identify influencers who communicate with their audience demographics.
Offer your customers fifteen minutes of fame by sharing a post they wrote or retweeting them to create a buzz around your brand.
6. Make Sure Your Customer Service Is Top Notch
One of the main reasons for losing customers or not gaining any new ones is poor customer service. You should ensure your customer service is impeccable, particularly on social media channels where customers expect quick responses. Remember, whatever you are selling, you are a service business, and your reputation needs to precede you.
Brand Loyalty: Final Thoughts
In an otherwise cold and technical world, people are constantly searching for a sense of human interaction and emotion. When building brand loyalty by improving how your brand is perceived, make sure you're investing in understanding your target audience, including your customers, personally, gaining their trust by making good on your brand promises for positive word of mouth and good feelings about your brand. This will help to ensure that your base of loyal customers and fans keeps growing.
If you need help improving the perception of your brand to build brand loyalty (and equity), VCM Strategies is standing by to help you.