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How to develop brand and customer loyalty

Brand and customer loyalty are keys to business success. But how do you build them for your brand?

Let’s look at both brand and customer loyalty, how to measure them, and what you can do to increase them.

When a customer prefers your brand over your competitors’ brands, it’s called brand loyalty. Customers will purchase from your brand again and again, regardless of price or convenience—and they’ll recommend your brand to others.

Think of Apple and its iPhones. Many current iPhone owners say they will stay loyal to Apple when they need a new cell phone. Apple iPhones tend to be more expensive than their competitors, but the price doesn’t hinder their brand loyalty.

To learn more about brand loyalty, visit these additional resources:

Strong brand loyalty is the ultimate goal of brand marketing. These are your dream customers. They buy from your company because they trust you. But that trust—and the resulting brand loyalty—doesn’t come easily. You’ll have to work to earn these benefits.

Customers who have brand loyalty will buy your products repeatedly, meaning higher sales of your products. Brand-loyal customers will also likely spread positive word of mouth, persuading others to purchase your brand’s products. Higher sales volume equals higher profits.

With loyalty comes recognition. Brand loyalty results in customers sharing their brand love on social media sites. User-generated content is a handy tool in your brand marketing, and social posts singing your praises definitely work in your favor.

Research shows that it costs 5-7 times more in advertising and marketing costs to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. And you have a 60-70% probability of selling to those current customers, as compared to a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect. So, repeat customers are an advantage of brand loyalty.

If you have a strong, brand-loyal customer base, you can save money on advertising and marketing costs. According to the Pareto Principle, these repeat customers likely make up about 20% of your total customers, but they generate 80% of your revenue.

When customers are loyal to your brand and trust you, they will be more willing to try new products from your brand. Using Apple as an example, their iPhones have several versions that are updated each year, which increases their potential for upselling to newer models. The Apple Watch, which is integrated with the iPhone, is a cross-sell opportunity.

Customer lifetime value is tied to customer acquisition cost (CAC), the investment you make to attract a new customer—in advertising, marketing, special offers, and other efforts. So, brand loyalty decreases your CAC (you don’t need to incentivize your brand-loyal customers), which increases each one’s CLV. 

As we’ve discussed, brand loyalty is the commitment from customers to continue purchasing from a brand because they trust the brand and have had positive experiences with it. They have an emotional connection with the brand that is not dependent on prices or competition. Customers perceive high value from the brand, and there is no need to try the competition.

Customer loyalty is the commitment from customers to continue purchasing from a company based on the benefits they receive from the purchases. It is primarily based on price, benefits, and rewards. The more value a customer perceives, the more likely they are to repeat purchases with the brand. However, they are willing to try competitor products for lower prices or perceived value.

To truly understand and track your brand and customer loyalty, you need to be able to measure them:

  • Behavioral data indicate actions taken by customers in relation to your brand and products.
    • Repeat purchases are great for your bottom line. These purchases can indicate both brand loyalty and customer loyalty, but customer loyalty can be fleeting, and they may move to another brand if they perceive better benefits there.
    • Purchase frequency reveals whether you are providing the right items for your customers. It’s simple to calculate purchase frequency by dividing the number of orders by the number of unique customers.
    • Customer retention and churn tracks positive and negative moves within your customer base. The churn rate is the percentage of customers who leave and the retention rate is the percentage of customers who stay with your brand over a period of time.
  • Survey-based methods provide data directly from customers.
    • Brand health tracking monitors key metrics that allow you to manage your brand reputation, monitor the competition, grow brand awareness, and gain insights from your target customers.
    • Relational Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) surveys are used to understand the overall customer experience. These surveys focus on broader topics and are used to understand how key aspects of your product are generally performing or measure changes in customer experience over time or across segments. Please note that this is a specific type of NPS survey that consistently collects feedback from a random sample of customers to get a holistic understanding of the customer experience.

Clearly, brand and customer loyalty are valuable to your business. So, how do you go about creating it? There are several ways to generate loyalty, and you should engage in as many as possible.

What is your brand’s personality? If your brand was a person, what would they be like? What phrases would they use? What is their style? What is the story your brand tells? Your brand voice should be unique and make your brand feel approachable to your target market. Whatever your brand voice and story turn out to be, maintain it across all platforms for consistency.

Get social on social media! Make sure you’re monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand or products so you can respond accordingly—and quickly. Take a look at @Skittles and @Wendys posts and replies on Twitter to see how a little humor goes a long way toward earning loyalty.

Use social media to report on new trends in your industry, special deals, or company news. Build relationships with your customers to create that emotional bond that leads to brand loyalty.

While you’re interacting on social media or responding to customer feedback, make sure you’re listening to your customers. This is where you’ll learn more about what needs you can meet for them and what they want from your brand. Listen, learn, and improve your products for loyal customers.

You can’t expect loyal customers if they aren’t sure who you are. Keep your communications true to your brand voice and story so that every interaction with your brand feels authentic and consistent. Your colors and logo should have visual consistency and look the same across browsers, platforms, and devices. Customers want to know that the brand they love is stable and dependable.

Your mission and core values define who you are. Choose one specific thing that you are best at and focus on it. The more customers can identify with your brand, the more likely they will connect with it emotionally. Tell your customers what you do and feel that will make their lives better. 

Loyalty and incentive programs can bring customers back to your site. The greater the reward, the more business it will generate. Look at Amazon’s Prime program, Sephora’s
Beauty Insider, or the Starbucks Rewards program. Whether it’s a simple punch card that leads to something free or points towards a percentage discount, customers will come back to receive rewards they’ve earned through their loyalty. 

Always deliver what you’ve promised and make sure it is of the highest quality. This is one of the foundations of brand loyalty. Maintaining high quality in everything you do and ensuring you are offering value to your customers—and exceeding their expectations—will result in customer loyalty.

One in three consumers say they would walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. Focus on the entire customer journey—including social media—and ensure that you provide the best experience possible every time.

Monitor your brand health and customer satisfaction with periodic surveys and address any trends that indicate imminent problems. Be proactive in ensuring that your customers are taken care of to the best of your ability.

Happy employees provide better customer experiences. Use our employee experience survey during recruitment, onboarding, development, and retention to obtain feedback from your employees

Momentive, the maker of SurveyMonkey, has solutions dedicated to helping you improve your employee experience. Visit Momentive to find out more about its AI-powered solutions.

We’ve discussed surveys and collecting data to monitor brand health, customer experience, and other metrics, but what about other data you can use? If you’re employing a loyalty program, you have an opportunity to leverage information provided by customers during registration. Use this data to create more personalized shopping experiences for these customers.

In a survey conducted by Microsoft, 90% of respondents from all over the world indicated that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand. 58% say they will sever a relationship with a business due to poor customer service. And in a Salesforce research report, 89% of consumers report that they are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. 

Are you doing everything you can to ensure that your customers are happy and satisfied with their experiences and interactions with your brand? Maybe it’s time for a customer satisfaction survey to determine areas for improvement.

Loyalty actually has different levels. It can vary from one customer to another; a person’s loyalty can change depending on the situation. Let’s look at the four main types of loyalty that will lead customers to your brand.

Offering deals pulls in new customers and can keep them as long as you’re offering value. However, this type of loyalty only lasts as long as your price is the lowest. When a competitor offers a lower price, those price-loyal customers will move on.

The positive aspect of price loyalty is that this segment of your market is the first to engage with new products, as long as the price is right. Once they’re interested in your brand, you can work on turning them into loyal customers.

This customer will choose your brand based on the benefits they receive from you. Benefits may include membership with exclusive rewards, a loyalty program, or a referral program.

These customers buy from you because it’s convenient for them. Earn this type of loyalty by making the customer experience smooth and hassle-free.

Customer satisfaction is provided through high-quality service. This kind of loyalty can be easily won without extra effort and easily lost. These customers will probably try out the competition the first time they have a bad experience. The key to keeping them? Consistency.

Loyalty is earned. Provide consistently great experiences to your customers, and you’ll reap the rewards. 

Are you on the right track for brand and customer loyalty? Use the brand tracker from SurveyMonkey to monitor your brand’s health and make informed business decisions that lead to loyalty. And don’t forget to determine your NPS to measure customer experience.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. 

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