How to Increase True Brand Loyalty
Passive Loyalty vs True Loyalty
Do you have a loyalty card for a restaurant or retail store? You know the kind, where you use the card every time you check out and every once in a while you get a free soda or a coupon for 10% off your next order? They’re great; who doesn’t love free stuff? Do you use these services because you are loyal to the company or because it’s a good deal? If it’s a good deal, would you switch to another brand if they offered you a better deal?
This idea of returning to a brand over and over because it’s either the best option or simply habit, is called passive loyalty.
Does passive loyalty work? You bet. You can get a lot of attention and business by running campaigns that appeal to people’s desire for a great deal or fear of missing out, driving profits through the roof. However, it’s difficult to maintain those heights of success if you have competition.
So how do you maintain actual loyalty since simply driving repeated sales isn’t stable enough? The answer lies in culture.
Let’s take Subaru for example. Subaru customers are incredibly loyal to the brand. This is not because Subaru offers the best deals on cars or because their loyalty program is particularly attractive. Subaru fans are attracted to the Subaru lifestyle. They appreciate the culture around the brand and decide that brand appeals to their inner adventurer. That’s why many Subaru customers frequently return to the brand when they are looking for a new car.
For a second example, look at Windows vs Mac. Most people prefer one over the other. Whether you enjoy Mac or Windows computers, you are part of a culture which influences your decision when buying a new computer.
At the end of the day, it is culture that influences true buying behaviors. Flash sales and loyalty programs are good at driving in sales and helping with brand awareness, but if you’re looking to create long-lasting bonds between your brand and your customers, you should consider emphasizing your culture.
Tell your story
Every brand has a story, and if you can tell yours in a way that appeals to your target audience, then you are well on your way to creating true brand loyalty. Whether you make videos, an interactive site with photos, or even some kind of literature about your brand (press release or ebook), tell more about who you are as a company, not just your products.
Involve your Audience
When you reach out to your audience and get them involved, you extend your culture beyond your front doors. Your reach exponentially grows as your audience becomes marketers without even realizing it. This is not meant to be manipulative. The idea is that when your audience gets involved, they are showing they want to be associated with you in some way. Any of their peers who see this interaction or hear about it later begin to think, “If they trust this company enough to be associated with it, the company must be worth it!” Not everyone realizes this is happening, but that’s why word of mouth is so effective. By involving your audience, you are expanding the potential reach of your brand culture.
Once you have your brand story and you are involving your audience, take the next step and continue to grow your culture. If you take pride in your culture, there is always something you can do to enhance it. For example, McDonald’s has made many efforts to be involved in community service, helping hundreds if not thousands of families. McDonald’s provides care for children and families who are separated because of hospitalization. They even have gone so far as to deploy Care Mobiles that provide healthcare services to children who may be unable to receive reliable help. What McDonald’s has done is take their basic cultural initiative where they help sick children and they have expanded to make truly remarkable differences in people’s lives. Do you think families who have been helped by McDonald’s will swear off the company if they get the wrong sandwich? No, probably not. If you can expand your culture even a little bit, it shows you have a greater understanding of the needs of your audience, leading to truer loyalty.
We have a lot planned on this topic, so stay tuned for more information from WorkStride on how you can increase true brand loyalty.