Remember this guy from the 1-800-Contacts commercial?
Now that’s what I call brand loyalty.
Honestly, I can’t remember ever feeling that strongly about any one brand. Sure, I love Chipotle, but if a Qdoba is closer, who am I to say no to a burrito?
I’m not the only one. It seems that more and more, brand loyalty is fracturing. According to the 2015 Consumer Loyalty Statistics, only 28 percent of consumers are loyal to their providers and brands (Accenture). Industry experts have long worried that brand loyalty is in deep trouble, threatened by websites and social media that make it so easy to research and switch to competitors. But if the whole idea of sticking to one brand in the grocery store or clothing boutique is on the decline, how do we explain why some brands are still thriving?
Consider Apple, for example. The company has built an empire around its products and boasts a 90 percent retention rate in the smartphone industry — significantly higher than its competitors.
So what’s the secret? Apple built its brand by developing a reputation for innovative design and nurturing fierce loyalty among its customers. Apple exemplifies one of the surest paths to building brand loyalty: becoming an industry thought leader.
Apple did not just build products people liked: They became forceful advocates for innovative design of smartphones and computers. As thought leaders in their industry, Apple became a trusted source that people turn to for advice, expertise and general knowledge.
How can you build your company’s brand with thought leadership? One of the best ways is by publishing consistent, high-quality, informative content. The numbers say it all — 62% of millennials feel that online content drives their loyalty to a brand (NewsCred).
So what makes high-quality content? Here are four great tactics you can employ today that will generate great content to help you build loyalty to your brand.
Tell your story
Give your company a personality by showing customers the humans behind your business. Telling your customers your company is made up of people just like them creates a personal connection between you and them.
So go ahead, tell us about your humble beginnings. Tell us what frustrated you so much that you felt the need to create your product. Tell us about the many generations your business has passed through. No matter the story, customers are bound to resonate with it.
Speak with a consistent voice
Create a unified voice for your company to convey over every platform. Your online presence should have a persona that comes through across the board. Of course, each platform requires a different level of professionalism — Twitter is a bit more casual, while LinkedIn should be more business-related.
However you do it, your content should have a similar voice on each platform — a brand voice. For example: You are the same person whether you’re at work on a Monday or at the corner bar on a Friday night. You might dress differently, but your core identity is the same.
Where do you start creating a brand voice? List some adjectives that you want your company to convey. Do you want your company to be known as knowledgeable? Nerdy? Hip? Honest? Helpful? Use these as guidelines to begin building a voice for your brand.
Connect with people
Today’s customers are doing their own research — rather than depending on advertisements — to choose brands that truly resonate with their wants and needs. Companies that become empathetic to these desires have the best chance of developing loyal, long-term relationships with their customers.
REI, the outdoor-goods retailer, nailed this strategy with their #optoutside campaign. Instead of playing into Black Friday hype, they closed their doors on the day after Thanksgiving and encouraged people to head outside. They understand the shift toward customer empathy — customers are much more loyal to a brand that understands what they want and shares their values. For REI, it’s the best of both worlds: the retailer saved tons of money on advertising and resonated with their outdoor-loving customer base.
Moral of the story: If you’re looking to build loyalty for your brand, stop bragging about how great your product is and just start relating to your audience.
Show your true colors
Put together a brand guide for your company — with details about logo usage, color palette, fonts and formats to ensure consistency and make your company recognizable. Brand standards strengthen the visibility of your company and give your customers a consistent view of what your company stands for. Brand standards give your company solid value — studies have shown that brand-guided companies outperform competitors without a solidly defined brand.
Before you can build brand loyalty, you have to know who your customer is. Knowing your audience is the ultimate first step to building a solid marketing strategy. The best way to learn about your audience is to create Buyer Personas — representations of your ideal customers that help you tailor content to the needs and behaviors of different groups. Download our free guide: How To Create Buyer Personas for Your Business to begin creating your company’s personas today!