Brand loyalty is the process by which a consumer continually chooses to purchase products, goods, and/or services from one particular business or organization (i.e. brand) generally based on previous positive experiences with the brand. A consumer who is loyal to their chosen brand will often seek out brand-specific products, goods, and/or services despite having available alternatives, price increases, possible perceived shortcomings of the brand or products, or competitor persuasion.
The key to a successful business is creating a loyal base of followers that will support the company through continually purchasing goods and services from the brand as well as through positive feedback via a variety of avenues. This can be achieved by providing excellent customer service, implementing a customer loyalty program, offering promotional products, ensuring consistency, and utilizing social media to create a more personal approach to conducting business.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
One of the best ways to build brand loyalty is by providing excellent customer service. Practicing excellent customer service allows customers to feel welcome, heard, and understood by the company. According to Forbes, one way for a business to achieve excellent customer service is through taking a proactive role by routinely accepting customer feedback, not just when an issue arises.
Providing an easy, efficient way for customers to share feedback is vital to providing excellent customer service. Social media is one of the top ways that companies can interact with current and potential consumers in real time on a public forum to create positive interactions with consumers and clients.
Offer a Loyalty Program
One of the best ways for a company to cater to customers and create brand loyalty is through offering a loyalty program. Loyalty programs function by offering consumers the option to enter into the program (generally at no cost to the consumer) and tracking repeat visits via a points system such as a punch card, online application, secret password, etc. Once the customer has purchased a set number of products or services, they will be rewarded with perks like special discounts, free items, and more.
Starbucks has been praised as having one of the most successful loyalty programs in the country. Their program allows customers to easily access their points via a mobile app, make payments and purchases through the app, and has clearly communicated the perks for loyalty club members thereby generating a sense of trust with the brand.
Offer Promotional Products
Offering promotional products is an easy way to market your business and a recent study conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute found that one-third of recipients of promotional products are more likely to do business with that company. Using promotional products effectively involves looking for useful products, investing in products that represent your brand, and knowing your budget for marketing. For example, custom pens and pencils continue to be one of the most highly recommended forms for promotional products based on the affordability, ease of transportation, and high demand for use.
Make Sure Your Brand is Consistent
Consistency in customer service, quality of products, and even marketing and logo design is key when building brand loyalty. Developing clearly defined policies and procedures for a company and making sure all staff members understand the policies is essential for providing a positive customer experience. Consumers will begin to trust a company that can consistently deliver on their promises and will keep coming back to a brand they can trust.
Logos and design elements should be consistent across all platforms so that consumers can begin to recognize a particular brand instantly. On a psychological level, consumers are more likely to choose a brand they recognize, so it’s extremely important to maintain consistency with marketing materials and logos.
Utilize Social Media
A successful brand will be able to utilize social media platforms to connect with customers and create a base of loyal followers. Developing an organized social media strategy is the first step in creating a successful social media presence. Most successful companies will have entire teams dedicated solely to developing and implementing social media strategies.
Some tips on leveraging social media to meet your company’s needs are to actively engage with consumers in direct messages and comments and rewarding followers with discount codes or advanced access to products. When responding to customers, a company’s communication style (or “voice”) should mimic that of other communication avenues. Having an engaging social media presence will create a sense of community among followers and ultimately a sense of trust with a certain brand that will keep customers coming back for more.