Brand Loyalty is defined as the decision of the consumer to purchase and stick to a specific brand. In the mind of the consumer, this specific brand meets their expectations and they are able to identify with it. This process can be both conscious and unconscious and is based on the consumer’s attitude to the brand. Most often brands that develop brand loyalty consistently meet expectations and develop credibility and reliability.
In the skincare industry, brand loyalty is quite prevalent. There are some brand loyalists who will never purchase another brand and would rather search or wait until their preferred brand becomes available. In most cases, the brand evokes an emotional connection where the consumer perceives that the brand fulfills a physical or emotional need not fulfilled by any other brand. For example, my company falls into the niche of luxury anti-aging skin-care. I have customers who contact me at least twice a month for skincare recommendations and suggestions and who purchase hundreds of dollars in new releases based on my suggestions. This is because these customers have brand loyalty and they trust so much in the quality of the brand that they are willing to try whatever I suggest. These same customers also have their regular orders and are willing to wait months if the items are out of stock in order to receive them.
How Can Marketers Gain Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty equates to sustainable and long-term success as you can always count on those sets of loyal customers to support your brand.
For the most part, this depends on your industry. In the skincare industry, brand loyalty is developed by encouraging a relationship between the brand and the consumer. At my company, in particular, we encourage customers to call in for one on one consultations with our skincare specialists (ie. Me), we also offer consultations by email and our skincare specialists are trained to know these customers as we are each assigned lists of VIP customers (ie. Consistent customers) to contact and keep up to date with promotions. We offer a personal touch in that, we each know when one of our VIP customers may be running low on their moisturizer and we call them at that point. Our customers are loyal to us because we are loyal to them. We are consistent and reliable in following up with them and it shows that our brand cares about its customers. How our marketing team facilitates this is by using analytics to pull up the names and information of frequent, consistent buyers and customers who take advantage of our promotions. The marketing department provides us with this “leads list” so that we can then have a more personable approach with those customers to encourage loyalty. This is just one aspect of what marketers can do to gain brand loyalty. Another way we encourage brand loyalty is rapid responses to all customer queries and concerns, whether that be on social media or live chat or email. That way customers know that we are always willing and ready to answer their concerns. Standing by your brand is also incredibly important. Customers will remain loyal to a brand that stands behind their brand in terms of quality and satisfaction. Investing in your brand’s image and maintaining the image consistently is important, the brand image should also reflect the target audience. For example, if the brand is targeting older persons, the UX design of the website should enable it to be easily used by an older demographic and simple enough to understand. Another option is providing incentives for consumers to return to the website, for example, a loyalty program or utilizing your subscriber list to send out promotions.
Brand Loyalty is an important factor in the longevity of a company. As a marketer if you are able to gain customer trust in your brand and maintain consistency, customers will be loyal to your brand. Be kind to consumers and they will, in turn, be kind to your brand.