Brand loyalty refers to a consumer’s tendency to continue buying a product from one brand rather than from competing brands. It’s good news for any company because it means that a company can expect to see the same consumers come back again and again for new products. It means stable, continuing business. But how does brand loyalty happen, exactly, and what can a company do to foster brand loyalty in its consumers? Here is a look at some of the many factors that contribute to brand loyalty.
High quality products
There’s no way around it—high quality products are definitely going to encourage consumer loyalty. After all, if you purchase a product and end up being disappointed with it, chances are you’re not going to be a repeat consumer. Consumers will measure the quality of a product not only by how well it is manufactured, but also by how aesthetically pleasing it looks, how well it’s designed, how long it lasts, etc. In addition to making high quality products, companies can also offer high quality customer service in the form of responsive customer service reps, extended warranties, lifetime guarantees, and fast shipping to add value to the products they offer.
On a related note, consistency is another key factor. When a company’s products are consistently manufactured in the same way and consistently offer the same user experience, consumers are more likely to return to the company to purchase products because it’s low-risk—they know what they’ll be getting before they even make a purchase.
Apple is a primary example of a company that effectively creates loyal customers. One way it does this is through product integration. All of its products complement one another. You can buy an iPod, for example, and download music through iTunes. Or, you can purchase both an iPhone and a MacBook and enjoy the convenience of using the Messaging app on both devices. When you purchase an Apple product, you’re left wanting more because you know there’s another device out there that can expand the possibilities with the devices you already have.
Companies that attract brand loyalty also tend to have a strong brand identity that attracts consumers. Consumers will see the company not only as the products it offers, but also as the set of values it stands for. Ultimately, strong identity works to connect the consumer to the brand at a deeper level, so the consumer feels a personal connection to the brand. There are a number of ways that a company can build identity, such as through text, imagery, video, or site design (you can read more on that here).
Let’s talk about Apple again for a moment. Another way Apple has managed to foster so much brand loyalty is through their stand-alone stores. When you sell your product in a big-box store, you’re at the mercy of relying on ill-informed sales associates to answer questions about your products. With stand-alone stores, however, you have the advantage of training sales associates to be experts in only your products. Consumers will then go to these stores to get questions answered and to receive service. Stand-alone stores also represent a physical space where enthusiasts can congregate, perhaps even encouraging new consumers to get excited about the product, as well.
Student discounts are a highly effective marketing tool for encouraging brand loyalty for a few reasons. First, these discounts attract people at a crucial age, when many of them are making their first major purchasing decisions. Going back to Apple, for example, a student entering college might make their very first Apple purchase—a MacBook—using the student discount, and then grow to prefer using the Apple interface throughout college, eventually buying more products. In addition, these discounts turn schools into showrooms, where potential consumers can see the products at work.
Other special offers come into play as well. Many companies offer consumer loyalty programs and credit cards with perks in order to encourage people to come back. If a consumer knows that they can earn a free sandwich at a sandwich shop after eight purchases, and they like the sandwich shop enough to return to it in the future, chances are they’re going to take a loyalty stamp card and have a goal of filling it with stamps. Or if you have a Target credit card and know you’ll be getting 5% off every purchase when you use that card, why would you do your shopping at the big-box store next door to Target?
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!