|Brand Loyalty — A Thing of the Past?
By: Dana Severson
Some marketers will tell you brand loyalty is a thing of the past, while others will argue that it only applies to niche goods. If either notion is at all true, why the change?
Part of the problem is saturation. With so many products of similar quality and price on the market today, it’s quite easy for the consumer to substitute one brand for the next. There’s no real risk in switching brands.
Let’s say you’re in the market for a new coffeemaker. Your old one served you well and brewed a good cup of Joe. But when you head to the store, you find a different brand offering the same qualities and features at a mere fraction of the cost. Are you going to stick with your old brand or go with the less expensive option?
Compounding the issue is variety. More than ever, people enjoy variety. Hey, it’s the spice of life, right? We all enjoy trying new and different things. If a brand doesn’t offer something we want to try or a service we feel we need, we aren’t likely to stick around. Instead, we’ll pick it up from a competing brand.
But even though brand loyalty is in decline, it’s still part of any marketing strategy — which stands to reason. By building a loyal customer base, we can charge a premium price for products or services and reduce our promotion costs, adding value to our brand and increasing our profits.
How do we do this?
Loyalty is a good place to start. Wanting consumers to be loyal to our brand means being loyal to our consumers. Remember, loyalty is a two-way street. We can’t expect someone to be loyal to us if we’re not loyal to our consumer.
True loyalty comes from a relationship between the consumer and the brand. Our consumer must value the brand as a product, relate to its image, understand its benefits, and feel appreciation for her allegiance.
No one’s saying it’s easy to establish this sort of relationship. It takes time. Just look at Apple or Amazon or even L’Oreal. It also takes a great deal of consistency. Consistency at all points of contact. That's where marketing really comes into play. But as long as our loyalty to our consumers is truthful, we can expect a return on our investment.
Plus, it’s much cheaper to increase the retention of current customers than it is to get new ones.
Dana Severson is a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant in the Twin Cities area. Find him at his website for a little downhome advice.
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