Brand Loyalty Isn’t Lost; It’s Hiding

There’s a great new ad on TV. It’s’s “Five-Man Search” campaign. A man sits on a sofa, connected to four cardboard dummies, who (because they are connected to him with poles) mimic his every move. If you haven’t seen it, go find it now.

The ad illustrates just how far consumers will go to find a deal. Kayak’s message? “There’s an easier way to search for flights.” pulls together deals from multiple travel sites, giving consumers a one-stop-shop opportunity. It’s a clear example of technology’s growing ability to expand consumers’ choices.

Worldwide, thousands of new products enter the market daily. As consumers, we’re no longer limited to what’s on the shelf at the local store. Our options are endless. …which means brand loyalty is becoming harder and harder to find.

There was a time when brand loyalty was the norm. But much of that loyalty was forced. In those days, consumers’ had no real alternatives.

But today, we have the world in our pockets. Smartphones give us access to a world of products with the click of a button (or with Apple’s Siri, a spoken command). These same technologies allow creators to bring more products to market, increasing our options and expanding our vistas. And brand loyalty is often lost in the bargain.

Then how can a few brands keep growing against all odds? What’s the formula for brand loyalty? Three simple steps:

  1. Provide Value.To create loyalty, brands must create real value. “Perceived value” just isn’t enough. The emotional connections consumers develop with brands must be supported by products that over-deliver on the consumer’s investment. True loyalists, like Apple’s evangelists or Harley Davidson’s loyal riders, will still defend their brands if the brands over-deliver on quality, innovation and reliability.
  2. Live Up to Your Promises.Your customers are listening. And they’re watching what you do. If you want to breed brand loyalty, you have to align your customers’ expectations with your ability to perform. Every customer experience must be consistent, right down to the way they engage with you or your product.
  3. Know Your Customer Intimately.Listen to them. What do they want? Why do they buy? How does your product meet their needs? What innovation would knock their socks off? How can you make their life easier? Your buyers have options. And they’re empowered to act on them. So you can’t afford to guess what motivates them – you need to know. So ask. And listen. And thank them for their honesty, when they least expect it.

Brand loyalty isn’t lost. It’s hiding. What’s more, it’s being smothered under layers of bad service, false promises, and corporate arrogance. If you’re serious about rediscovering brand loyalty, your best bet is to clean house.