Which brands are you loyal to? I mean properly loyal. The ones where, even if they’re more expensive, even if you have to drive across town to get to them, you’ll stick with them. The brands you’ll not only recommend, but go to bat for if someone’s criticising them.
Now ask yourself, “why?” Why are you so loyal?
I asked this question of some Twitter followers recently. It’s not a very scientific survey, obviously, but here are some of the responses. “I’m very loyal to Shisheido Skincare and Aveda hair care products because of their excellent quality and effectiveness. My husband is a huge fan of Apple because it has created an inclusive, enabling lifestyle, and I sort of agree.”
Actually, Apple got a couple of votes, with one respondent praising the tech giant for “championing independent thinking and creative output”. That’s hardly a surprise — recently Brand Keys had Apple at number three on its annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index Loyalty Leaders List.
Clothing brands were popular among my Twitter respondents, too. One fellow, talking about underpants, said “it’s gotta be Bonds”. “Pat Rafter didn’t lie; they’re very comfy undies.”
Then there’s Peter Alexander. “His pyjamas are the best. They don’t call him the pyjama king for no reason. I don’t have any other brands or stores in my consideration set. I’ve been shopping there for about seven to 10 years.”
From brand loyalist to brand advocate
Now that last reply crosses the bridge between brand loyalist and brand advocate. There were a couple of more along the same lines.
“I’m pretty happy with Virgin Australia and when our company moved to Qantas made my views widely known. Qantas have been ****.”
“Honda are reliable, stylish and safe, plus great service #lovemycivichatchback (from both the manufacturer and the service centre). I’m on my third Honda from new. They’re innovative, classy product and thorough, efficient service.”
This kind of response from a customer is every brand’s dream. But how do you generate and build that kind of sentiment around your brand? It’s a huge question and marketers have written entire PhDs in the area. But Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff puts it like this, in relation to their annual survey:
“The bottom line, no matter the category, brands that understand that emotional connections serve as surrogates for added value have succeeded. And brands that have made loyalty and emotional engagement a strategic priority always appear high on the Loyalty Leaders List, and always appear at the top of consumers’ shopping lists.”
Build an emotional connection with your customer
Brand loyalty is about emotion. It’s about how your brand makes someone feel — the experience you give them, the pleasure your product gives them, the quality of service they receive, the way they feel when they engage with your brand.
There are many ways to achieve this emotional connection with your customers — more than we can explore here — but content marketing can be an extremely effective strategy.
Through quality, targeted content, it’s possible to build a positive, mutually rewarding rapport with your customers. A recent report by New York-based content agency NewsCred found that two-thirds of Millennials feel a direct correlation between content marketing and brand loyalty.
3 ways to build brand loyalty
Here are three ways to use content to build brand loyalty.
- Create content that is entertaining, educational or instructive. It’s an excellent way to build both trust and an emotional connection with your customer.
- Build a community of customers through your content platform and your social media. Create a way for your customers to engage with each other, so they can share their successes, thoughts and endorsements — and even their own content, like videos.
- Reward your customers for engaging with your content. It could be giveaways, rewards points, free services, invitations to special events — anything you know your customers will love.
If you want to work with a specialist content marketing agency that knows how to make engaging content that will help build a customer base loyal to your brand, contact the team at Lush Digital Media. Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the Lush newsletter for fortnightly advice to help you market your business better, tips from our video production gurus, and a podcast or two from our favourite podcasting team, Brand Newsroom. In the meantime, you might enjoy these:
Who do you trust? [podcast with show notes]
Authenticity vs oversharing [podcast]