Customer loyalty is talked about a lot these days. What is it? It’s easier to explain through examples. Think of the loyal Apple fans who line up for hours, sometimes days, just to hand over hundreds of dollars for the new iDevice. Think of the Star Wars fans who dress up for events and movies, buy box sets, figurines and discuss obscure details endlessly on message boards. Think of the Toyota loyalist who’s the proud owner of 3 different models, and loves to tell anyone who’ll listen about how their pickup truck racked up 500,000 kilometers without needing any major work.
That’s brand loyalty.
This type of loyalty is not easy to create. It takes time and is earned in many different ways.
Creating this level of loyalty is even harder when you’re an online retailer, especially if you sell products from other brands. But it can be done, and one way you can increase customer loyalty is through strong branding.
Here are 3 aspects beyond your logo, copywriting, or website design (all very important as well!) that can have a profound impact on what people think of your brand.
What is the purpose of your brand? Or more importantly, why does your brand exist? You need to clearly define and communicate who you are and what you are trying to achieve. Once you have identified this, you can then build on your values and your company culture. When your purpose is clearly defined, you will start to develop a following of people with a similar purpose.
The more meaningful you make your purpose, the more customers are likely to follow you.
For many years it was said that what customers really want, is to have a relationship with their brand. This is not always true. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 77% of people don’t care about having a relationship with their brand. What they really care about is values. For the few customers that do want a relationship, what really drives them is a brand that has the same values, similar opinions, or philosophies.
Your company must define and communicate its values internally and externally. In order to grow your business, your goals and decisions must be based on a solid list of core values. Values need to be unique to your company and demonstrate who your company is.
Some companies have also been extremely transparent by posting their values for their customers and employees to see. Zappos has a list of 10 core values that they use to make important decisions, whether it be hiring an employee or how to decorate their office. But you can’t only talk about your values. You must be true to them. A business cannot succeed if they say one thing but do another.
Company culture is closely related to your company values. Company culture goes beyond whether you tolerate employees working remotely or have a foosball table. Its about what you stand for, and your collective actions as a group of people inside your company. This affects what your employees, customers, and the community say about you via reviews, word of mouth, or any other means.
When people don’t like something, they are very vocal about it. If your company is hypocritical in any way, the world is going to find out. On the other hand, if you are providing exceptional service, people will tell others.
Customers should want to feel proud about buying from your company. They should want to tell others about being a part of something really awesome.
Building your company culture is essential to building a strong brand image.
Creating a strong brand presence will not happen overnight. It will take thoughtful consideration, time, and dedication but with some effort and patience, you can create a strong brand with loyal customers. Doing so will pay off handsomely.