10 Ways to Foster Brand Loyalty
By Michael Jess on April 17th, 2015
Building brand loyalty used to be about wide exposure and constant repetition, and this method has served the big brands well in the past. Names like Coke and Nike have achieved their household status by being everywhere their customers are, and constantly reinforcing their message through mass advertising campaigns.
But with the advent of the internet, mobile devices, and social media, brand loyalty has become much more elusive. Marketers and retailers need to work harder to get their brands noticed and build long term customer relationships. Instead of being all about the brand and the customer aspiring to it, it’s now all about the customer and how the brand can find and fill a niche in their lives.
So, how do you encourage brand loyalty in this new technological age where the customer now has a voice and an opinion on everything? Here are ten suggestions that we believe can help you succeed in the realm of brand loyalty.
1. Have a great product
First and foremost, you have to have a product that customers will want. No amount of clever marketing will help unless what you’re selling is worth buying and of value to customers. Make sure you have a really great, relevant, useful, or entertaining product before planning to do anything else.
2. Go where your customers are
Today’s generation are both mobile and social, so if you want to connect with them, you have to find out where they spend the majority of their time online and make sure you are there as well. If it’s the younger generation you’re most interested in, take a look on Twitter or Instagram. For older users of technology, try Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.
3. Take social media seriously
Many companies now have their own online forums or representatives on comparison websites to champion their brand’s point of view. Customers now have a very public voice and brand criticism can be damaging, so it pays to have someone managing and monitoring your online presence, listening to feedback, and troubleshooting negative publicity.
4. Reward your customers
One of the best ways to encourage customer loyalty is to reward it with incentives, discounts, prizes, and special deals. Know what your customers like, and reward them with things like cash cards, dining or entertainment vouchers, loyalty programs, and contests.
5. Cultivate your employees
You can only provide a great customer service experience if your employees believe in your brand and are willing to go that extra mile for you. Treat your staff well, give them incentives just as you would your customers, and empower them so they are free and willing to deliver great customer service on your behalf.
6. Think on your feet
Many large organisations, because of their very nature, are slow to react to swings and trends in the marketplace. Retaining brand loyalty means being constantly aware of changes in customer direction and focus, no matter how small, and being able to react quickly to take advantage of them.
7. Don’t be a fencesitter
Brand loyalty is about having a long-term relationship with your customers. If you want to be considered part of their circle, you’ll need to think like they do, have opinions, and speak out on things that matter to them. Environmental issues are a good case in point at the moment.
8. Be innovative
Once you’ve built brand loyalty, you need to retain it over the long run. And you can’t do that by sitting still. Your brand needs to be constantly changing and evolving so that it remains fresh, exciting, and relevant to your customers.
9. Do the little things
Just as rewards and incentives can reinforce customer loyalty, so too can little things such as remembering a customer’s birthday. Things like this will cost you nothing, but have the potential to pay long-term dividends.
10. Walk the talk
Being genuine is the key to long-term brand loyalty. Don’t just say you have great products or the best customer service – make sure you have them and your customers will stay with you and recommend you to all their friends.
Brand loyalty is the lifeblood of any business, because it means repeat business. This is the most valuable form of custom you can have, as you don’t have to spend advertising money to achieve it. By thinking like your customers, giving them what they want, and being there for them in lots of little ways, you can ensure that your brand stays top of mind and that they continue to buy from you because they consider you a friend rather than just another brand.
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