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Guest Blogger | How to Achieve Brand Loyalty and Keep It Strong

Whitney Free | Creative Assistant

Do you feel loyal to certain brands or stores?

I almost always choose Target over Wal-Mart. And I have to get Kraft Singles – not the generic brand.

Or are you comfortable buying whatever brand at whatever place offers you the best deal?

I have no problem shopping at consignment shops when my paycheck disappears before I can get to the mall.

If you are brand loyal, what draws you to certain brands?

It has to be Kraft because everything else just tastes fake to me. And I choose Target because I agree more with their hiring practices.

Perhaps you should consider your own answers when strategizing about how to get your buyers to keep coming back for more.

Sometimes the best deal is my top priority, regardless of who sells it. Other times I prefer a local shop over a big chain because it supports the local economy. Having a feel for these preferences in your market or community is vital in tailoring your products, prices, employees, and overall image.

BusinessDictionary.com defines brand loyalty as “the extent of the faithfulness of consumers to a particular brand, expressed through their repeat purchases, irrespective of the marketing pressure generated by the competing brands.”

This leads me to wonder how many companies really value that faithfulness and what they do to keep and reward it. In such a technology-driven and frequently changing society, is it even reasonable to assume someone loves our particular service or product so much that no amount of marketing pressure will sway them to buy somewhere else?

At the same time, it is less expensive to keep current customers than to find new ones. Therefore, companies should reward these buyers enough to make them stay. It is common for stores to offer rewards programs these days – but whether they reward their customers enough to make it truly enticing is a different story.

Part of earning customers’ loyalty is keeping in touch with them. But it’s not quite as simple as filling their inboxes… Quality means much more than quantity. For example, if I recently purchased a vehicle from John Smith Motors and they constantly send me information about new vehicles and sales events, I’ll get very tired of hearing from them and may even stop storing their name in my mind and my ‘safe list’ of email addresses. However, if they send me information about servicing my new vehicle, how to get the best mileage out of it, or how to customize it to my family’s needs, I’m much more likely to pay attention.

If the communication I get from John Smith Motors also includes a coupon or entry for a prize, my interest grows even more. Now I am not only grateful for their interest in my satisfaction with their product, but I am likely to go back and spend more money because they’ve made it more attractive. (On the other hand, if everything is discounted all the time, I will no longer be willing to pay full price on anything – unpredictability is what keep buyers intrigued and following.)

Now here’s the even bigger deal: These follow-up interactions and offers will make me more likely to tell other people to shop there. If I get great service while I’m there, feel they care about my satisfaction beyond that first purchase, and get rewarded for my continued shopping, why wouldn’t I share that opportunity with my family and friends?

The importance of brand or store loyalty is not hard to understand, but can sometimes be hard to achieve. It requires just the right balance of keeping in touch, offering the best deal (not always the same thing as the lowest price), and instilling a feeling of comfort and confidence in the customer’s mind.

Even when you develop a strategy that does all this, keep in mind it may need changed from time to time to keep up with your audience’s changing wants and needs as well as the extent to which your company can meet them. If John Smith Motors sends the same seasonal emails every year and offers the same coupon as prices go up, buyers will start looking elsewhere. Repeat business and drawing in customers’ friends and family is undoubtedly worth the time and effort it takes to build up brand and store loyalty.

 

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