By Cheryl Hayman, Hayman Strategy
In order to create brand loyalty, a brand or business must break consumer habits, help them acquire new habits and reinforce those habits by reminding consumers of the value of their purchase and encourage them to continue purchasing those products or services in the future.
The image surrounding a company’s brand is the principal source of its competitive advantage and is therefore a valuable strategic asset.
Loyalty marketing is specifically aimed at building a strong continuing commitment to your brand, rather than just brand awareness. It suggests rather more influence and involvement from a consumer.
There are 6 components which I recently came across and which I think have enormous and wide reaching applicability.
If you can garner “fame” then you are the most popular and most salient brand in the marketplace, but this is unlikely to happen immediately unless you truly pioneer an untapped area. Beware however, that even if you are “first in,” don’t assume fame will follow. You still need to demonstrate all the remaining loyalty-building components above.
Leadership is awarded to your brand if it sets trends and is able to grow in popularity. If you become the brand other brands try to emulate, or if you are the ‘port of call’ for the media or whoever your relevant advocacy groups are, then you have the leadership quality required to enforce lo
Emotional Affinity is exuded through your warmth of character, your tone, the image you project and personality. It provides your brand with engagement at a ‘heart’ level with your consumers and works to lock them into their association with the brand.
You also need a Rational Affinity: the ‘head.’ The balance between how much ‘heart’ and how much ‘head’ depends on your brand, your industry or marketplace, and the tangible and practical attributes you have on offer.
Your point of difference must be linked to a direct benefit that meets the “what’s in it FOR ME” criteria that underlines all strong brand loyalty relationships. It may work on an emotional or a rational level, although it is ALWAYS important to ensure that there is a rational benefit of some sort that is defining and differentiating for your brand.
Price is self-evident, although it is usually more about Value. If you can develop and cement the previous characteristics into your brand then you will have strong loyalty and as long as the price is appropriate and relevant for the marketplace, this should not be the most important attribute for your brand.
Recently I heard an interesting expression: “Losers make decisions; Winners make commitments”… we can all think of brands that meet these criteria, consider them against your own brand and decide now whether your brand make that winning commitment and succeed.