Anyone who has ever had a heated argument on cars, cell phones, appliances, and most other products know that brand is always the point of contention. People choose which side they think is best, and that is usually whatever they are using right now and have used ever since. What’s interesting is that even logic and hard facts won’t make a person back down, often just because it’s the brand that he first bought; he’s very content with its performance; and he wouldn’t ever consider looking at another brand even if it’s better on paper. This is what you call brand loyalty, and you’d be amazed at how this particular trait can impact business performance.
Brand loyalty defined.
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When it comes to brand loyalty, you have to take into account the different mentalities and personalities of people so that you can convince many of them. For example, some people are naturally loyal, and they stick to the very first brand they buy as long as they get decent results. On the other hand, other people are more open and flighty, testing out different products and usually going with the ones who have the best reviews at the time. It’s a rather tricky process, and you’d find soon enough that holding onto customers is a bit harder than enticing them in the first place.
So how does one go about building brand loyalty? Ultimately, this is a long term undertaking, and there are a few tips you can follow.
It starts with a good product experience. Before you get loyal customers, you must first entice first-time customers, and if they aren’t pleased with your products the first time, you take the risk of never having their business ever again. No business lasts selling a bad product.
Be transparent, and make sure to interact with customers. Make it a point to keep customers updated on your most recent developments and releases. Reciprocally, you should also make sure to be updated on your customers—what they think, how they feel, what they expect, and so on. Social media is perfect for this.
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Have an expert, polite customer service staff. This is a definite truth: no matter how good your product is, customers will always have something to ask you. And if your customer service team is slow, clueless, and let’s not forget rude, people will jump to your competition so quickly that you’ll get whiplash.
Build your niche and be the best. Don’t try to do it all. Settle yourself firmly in one thing, and focus on becoming the best in it. Otherwise, you’d be trying to accomplish too many things and end up being sloppy in all of them.
Maintain high standards of quality overall. Consistent high quality is something customers look for in a brand. Pit a brand that produces the occasional breakthrough against the brand that produces consistent quality, and you can guess which will win.
Mistakes in loyalty building.
Just as there are things you should get right in building brand loyalty, there are also those things that you should avoid getting wrong. These brand loyalty mistakes can stop you in your tracks, so it is best to be able to recognize and avoid them.
Cheating off other companies. Never try to copy another company’s strategies. Just because it worked for them, it doesn’t mean that it would work for you. Do your own research and develop your own strategies.
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Discriminating against other customers. Remember that your customers aren’t just the rich people, Americans, Catholics, or whatever kind of division you can think of. Treat everyone fairly and never make anyone feel that they are being blown off in favour of another, more important customer.
Relying on one strategy to keep customers. This is pretty simple to understand. If only one thing is keeping your customers from switching brands, what will stop them from doing so when that one thing fails?
Poorly executed programs. Have a rewards program, loyalty discounts, promos, and the like, but don’t rush it and do a sub-par job. If you’re going to do something, do it well.
Falling behind in product development. The occasional mistakes and mess-ups can be forgiven by loyal customers, but if people see that you are falling way behind your competition, that is a pretty good reason for them to leave your company. Keep up and stay competitive!!
Brand loyalty is something that takes a lot of time, patience, and effort. However, if you do it right, you will see that everything is worth it in the end.