Establishing brand loyalty goes hand in hand with having strong consumer relationships. Likewise, working to establish and improve one will positively influence the other.
As a business owner, there is no doubt that you would love to reach a level of brand and customer loyalty at which your brand stands for something positive – something that your customers rally behind and are proud to champion.
According to a study by the International Journal of Business and Management, loyalty among consumers has become the leading factor in establishing a successful brand for your company.
But how do you go about building and maintaining that type of loyalty for your brand?
Identifying Transaction vs. Relationship
Consumers are typically one of two categories; relationship or transaction consumers. Transaction consumers are needed for your bottom line. They are typically attracted to your establishment because they are looking for the best value or the best deal.
These types of consumers base their purchase decisions on great features, convenience, and most importantly, price. While your profits depend on transaction consumers, you should not rely on them too heavily for building your brand. Most transaction consumers will happily go to one of your competitors if they find a better deal with them.
This is not to say that transaction consumers will never fall into the relationship category, however. If a transaction-driven consumer finds value in your product beyond price, they can easily become a relationship consumer.
Relationship consumers are exactly the type of people you should be looking to target and nurture when trying to increase your customer and brand loyalty. They value the trust, loyalty, and commitment to a specific brand more so than finding a great deal.
These types of consumers are more likely to stick with a specific brand that they have been using and have built trust in and are exactly the kind of clientele every business wants to have.
Quality is King
One of the best ways to boost or build your brand and loyalty among consumers is by ensuring that your product or service is of the best quality, to ensure your consumers have a positive experience. When you let the quality control of your operations drop down the priority list, negative results usually occur.
A good example of what happens when quality control takes a backseat to profits is the 2009 Toyota recall of nearly 9 million cars. An oversight in the quality control of one of their car models resulted in the death of 52 people. While this is an extreme example, it perfectly demonstrates what could possibly happen when quality degrades, you lose-out to your competitors.
Know Your Competition
This is a no-brainer for any aspect of your operations. However, when it comes to building brand awareness and customer loyalty, it is even more important. Stay updated on what is happening in your industry and what new technologies are available that you can offer to potential and existing shoppers.
Analyze what your competition is doing on a regular basis. You can not only get great ideas from others in your industry, but you can also identify their weaknesses and strive to make sure that your business’ brand does not succumb to the same shortcomings.
Adjusting your marketing strategies around what is currently happening in your industry and what’s working best for your competition will reinforce the trust that you have already built with today’s consumer. Conversely, not updating your marketing strategies can make it appear as though you and your brand are outdated and content with the status quo.
Learn What Your Customers Think of You
The best way to find out if you have a quality brand is to go straight to the source, your customers. Asking the consumer to provide you with feedback can give you valuable insight on what areas you are doing great in and what areas you need to improve upon. Were they satisfied with the product or service? If not, what was the reason?
Polling your customers also allows you to see what aspect of your branding and business they are responding to best and what aspects are turning them off. It’s a delicate process, but a necessary one. The trick is balancing your surveys, making sure that they are asking important questions without bothering or annoying your customers.
Additionally, do not simply ask for feedback and then not act on it. Once you have discovered a common area that your customers were not satisfied with, act on that feedback and correct the deficiencies. This shows your customer based that you are listening to them and working towards keeping them happy. And as we all know, happy customers tend to be the most loyal ones.
Rewarding customer loyalty can really go a long way in not only keeping your clientele, but attracting new customers. Let the consumer do some of the work for you by spreading the good work about you and helping you pull in new potential clients by word of mouth. By offering an incentive for referring their friends and family to your company, such as discounts, you are effectively building your bottom line and reinforcing loyalty at the same time.
Offering discounts for repeat customers is another great tactic for not only attracting relationship-driven consumers, it is also a great way to convert transaction-driven consumers into the relationship category.
By offering a discount or other incentives to repeat customers, you not only reward them for their patronage, you also show them that you appreciate their business. This combination of appreciation and value is what solidifying your brand and nurturing your customer loyalty is all about.