Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Understanding What Creates Brand Loyalty," discusses how an organization can achieve brand loyalty by defining, differentiating, and understanding what consumers value most. Investopedia defines brand loyalty as "the positive association consumers attach to a particular product or brand. Customers that exhibit brand loyalty are devoted to a product or service, which is demonstrated by their repeat purchases despite competitor's efforts to lure them away. Corporations invest significant amounts of money on customer service and marketing to create and maintain brand loyalty for an established product."
One might ask, does brand loyalty matter? The answer is absolutely. Studies show that you need to drive loyalty if you want to achieve a 50% consumer stamp of approval. Research conducted in a 2019 retail study uncovered that more than 50% of consumers would spend more for a product if that product were offered by a brand they trust. In other words, any investments that go towards creating brand loyalty can lift the brand by as much as 50%. Our Quote of the Day: "The greater your command of brand loyalty, the less you must worry about price sensitivity and competitive promotions-and the less you must pay for marketing." — Jim Mullen
Brand Loyalty Indicators
Some indicators comprise part of the brand loyalty-building process, such as novelty, positive associations, and tribalism. These are considered tactics that help create brand loyalty and thus play a supporting role in a brand's story.
We all should be keenly aware that the customer journey plays a critical role in brand loyalty. The journey should be seamless, informative, and socially responsive across the funnel as the consumer traverses the decision channel. Brands that understand a brand disconnect concerning customer frustrations can improve the journey and increase overall satisfaction. By obtaining a clearer understanding of the journey, brands can illuminate a more straightforward path minus any customer issues or pain points, allowing for creating elevated customer experiences. This understanding also helps solve customer retention challenges and can ultimately lead to brand loyalty.
Next, it is imperative to include KPIs around brand loyalty, where metrics play a vital role. KPI core metrics include sentiment drivers, brand passion, social mood, brand attributes, net promoter scores, and more. These metrics provide marketers with a road map to uncover how the brand is doing related to the overall customer experience.
Brand loyalty Begins with a Good Story
We've presented why storytelling is an integral part of content marketing in past posts. Today, we'll offer real-world examples of iconic brands that have achieved brand loyalty by telling their story.
A Bite From Apple
The name Steve Jobs is practically ubiquitous when it comes to consumer computer technology and the invention of the smartphone. As the story goes, it began with an idea to create the world's first personal computer in his parent's home in Los Altos, California. As a result, the components found inside the Apple Brand have catapulted the brand to one of the planet's most valuable companies when ranked by market capitalization. This market capitalization is primarily based on the Financial Times Global 500.
Apple is known for telling fabulous stories dating back to the introduction of the mac, followed by new product releases across a spectrum of personal computing products. These include laptops, the iPod, iPad, iMac, and ultimately its legendary iPhone and accessories. Even though Apple's core business involves hardware and software, the brand's marketing and communication strategies revolve around emotions, feelings that most customers can relate to in their everyday lives. That kind of emotional messaging is much more exciting and vibrant than product descriptions. What differentiates Apple from other computer hardware manufacturers is the brand's ability to tell a great story enveloped in making life better. Apple also promotes a deep appreciation for beauty and aesthetics as part of its brand story. Their advertising messages are also riveting and align with the creative aspect of their product lines, all told with a story that invokes an emotional connection.
Apple is known for offering divergent approaches for brand building while simultaneously creating brand loyalty. The following are a few ways that Apple accomplishes both of those challenges.
Setting the Trend: Apple began by leading with innovation and design, which was the critical driver that allured consumers to purchase Apple products. Apple came out of the gate by offering consumers the world's first "personal computer" in the late 1970s. The company's novel approach led it to create consumer-driven innovations from fingerprint access to face id technology. By historical account, Apple has always been the trendsetter.
Consistency: Apple products employ the same architecture, making it simple for consumers to adapt to subsequent versions of new releases. It lays a framework for customers to make repeat purchases driven by an annual release cycle. This process also instills a sense of urgency around purchasing Apple's new line of products.
Product Engagement: Apple's dedication to ensuring that customers enjoy "an experience" versus making a simple purchase is renowned. The Apple Watch serves as an outstanding example of an instance where technology meets and adapts to the consumers' daily personal lifestyle.
The Lululemon Story
Lululemon coined the term "athleisure" and made the term a household word. From the very beginning, Lululemon decided to be more than just a workout clothing and gear retailer. By their description, Lululemon "wanted to create a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living, mindfulness and living a life of possibility. It was also important for us to create real relationships with our guests and understand what they were passionate about, how they liked to sweat and help them celebrate their goals."
Before the existence of Lululemon, athleisure was not on the radar. Chip Wilson opened the first Lululemon location in 2000 when the sportswear market found dominant brands owning the market by companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Common thinking at that time was that it would be next to impossible for a new sportswear business to make inroads, given the scale of the competitors.
Instead of competing in an already crowded sportswear market, Lululemon took a different route using an excerpt from the "22 Immutable Laws of Branding," choosing the "the law of category." By creating a new category where they would be first to market, Lululemon proved that first in a novel category is always better than last in a well-established category.
Lululemon's community invokes a sense of tribalism, whereby the brand creates stories around the idea of living a healthy life and bringing like-minded individuals together.
Aside from developing their unique category with apparel that performs well when working out in the gym, those same clothes also enjoy an aesthetic appeal when worn outside of the gym. In addition, they've also built their community with multiple market segments. The Lululemon core brand is centered on the community while simultaneously building brand loyalty.
Part of that brand loyalty piece lies in the invitation to join the "Luluheads" (a coin termed by their PR person) to participate as a community through in-store yoga classes and fitness camps. The company promotes opportunities that lure fitness and health-minded individuals to work out as a group while reinforcing their preference for the brand. This entire process elevates its athleisure wear-buying to an aspirational customer experience focused on leading and living a healthier lifestyle. It transcends and elevates the experience beyond simply purchasing yoga wear.
Trader Joe's Story
Trader Joe's has garnered a high level of consumer love for years, as they decided early on to differentiate their offerings from other grocery chains. Trader Joe's brand provides an unmatched grocery shopping experience by diverting away from the industry norm. Trader Joes' story combines an excellent customer experience and its outstanding employee service, which includes unique product offerings that its customers value.
A few of the ways Trader Joe's positions its brand divergent from its competition include creating an outstanding customer experience.
Engaged Employees: Trader Joe's ensures that happy employees extend their service beyond the basics in a manner that their customers value. These happy employees love their jobs. Brands that compensate their employees with fair wages, develop and maintain happy employees. That reputation helped Trader Joe's land on Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work" 2019 survey. Trader Joe's is rated #23 for paying competitive wages, providing health care to full and part-time employees, and engaging employee feedback to create more value. Happy employees impact a positive customer experience, which is driving the overall Trader Joe's experience.
Simplicity & Value: Trader Joe's does not offer sales discounts, reward cards, or coupons. Instead, it provides highly valued daily pricing for its private label products. As a result, this provides a more streamlined and less stressful shopping process experience. Fun, Relaxed, Convenient Atmosphere: Typically, many people become stressed when entering a shopping environment. Trader Joe's reduces stress levels by incorporating local artwork that represents fun aimed at personalizing each store. In addition, to delight, there are free samples, stickers, and hidden animals for kids. There are also prepackaged products for the grab and go. Add to that globally inspired food products, and the shopping experience becomes more relaxed and fun compared to the typical grocery shopping experience. Customer-Centric: Trader Joe's brand also listens to its customers. Trader Joe's heard and responded when its customers' suggested that it reduce the use of plastic. As a result, Trader Joe's halted single-use plastic bags and even repackaged their offerings by incorporating eco-friendly packaging. They went a step further by changing how it receives employee feedback. Employees and customers can now offer feedback online or in-store. Listening to and understanding customers' needs, pain points, and suggestions provides more profound customer value. The combination of these processes helps to build brand loyalty.
More analysis and competitive benchmarking can shed even deeper insight into ways to create and build brand loyalty. However, as one can see, organizations can use various methods and elements to deliver brand loyalty in a challenging economic and social environment. The elements discussed should trigger the creative process and inspire implementing these tactics for your brand, regardless of the industry sector. When your brand has a unique story to tell, or can create a new category, or employ a more profound manner for employees to interact with customers, the brand is on its way to building brand loyalty. Thanks for reading "Understanding What Creates Brand Loyalty!"
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