In today’s environment of competition and in a market obsessed with discount by ever-more intelligent consumers, brand loyalty is the key to survival. The Pareto Principle found that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your current customer base, making it essential to focus on creating loyal, repeat customers that will continue to frequent your business and refer others.
But how does a business facilitate that identification and connection that leads to emotionally-charged decisions for consumers to buy from you again and again? It is all about authenticity, empathy and relevance to today’s world. Here are some proven steps to build your business a loyal consumer base:
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
In today’s new era, the hot topic of the world (and rightfully so) is sustainability and ethics. Businesses globally are taking initiatives for Corporate Social Responsibility and it’s time yours took initiative too to bring authenticity to your brand. Today’s consumers have growing expectations for companies to act responsibly – whether that is through reducing carbon footprints, participating in fairtrade or charitable giving. These consumers are essential to build trust with and loyalty on this level – the Millenial generation – leading these calls and expectations – are the fastest-growing force in the marketplace and are expected to control $24 trillion dollars of wealth by 2020. The more socially responsible the brand, the more loyal these consumers will feel towards your business.
Perhaps not what comes to mind when we say brand loyalty, but influencers are the missing link in brand loyalty that is getting more and more current. By 2020, influencer marketing is projected to become a $10 billion industry, with 63% of brands planning to increase their budget for influencer marketing. With new data protection regulations (GDPR) affecting what access businesses can have with customer information – access often relied on for loyalty programmes and strategies, businesses need to think outside the box to gain loyalty through outreach.
Here’s where one of the 21st century’s biggest money-makers come in – influencers on social media. With their large and trusting fan base, influencers can shake up brands through one simple post. Why? Their loyal followers trust their idol and identify with their tastes and style, this will lead them to sense an emotional connection with the promoted brand through their own connection with the influencer. By channeling the loyalty of followers of an influencer towards your brand, you gain loyal consumers without even needing a large marketing campaign.
360 customer service
Brand loyalty comes from a sense of feeling valued and appreciated. This means a large focus on your customer service is a key part of building a loyal consumer base. One element of customer service that can increase brand loyalty is engagement with your target market on a frequent and consistent basis. Let them know about the new and exciting developments within your company and keep them excited about what to expect next. This builds the emotional and interactive relationship with your consumer that will keep your brand and its latest products or services in their minds.
360 customer service helps your PR as well as customer loyalty – when a JetBlue airlines customer tweeted that he wasn’t able to grab his Starbucks coffee before boarding a plane, the airline sprang to action and delivered a Starbucks venti mocha to his seat on his plane. When 68% of customers leave because they perceive a lack of appreciation, a simple tweet can boost your brand loyalty and consumer relationship.
Capture customer feedback
No one wants to buy from a brand that they feel doesn’t listen to them. Staying in touch with your consumer is a part of customer services that cannot be ignored. Ask your customers if they liked their most recent experience with your company, did the product or service meet their expectations? Let them know that you care about their experience and that you are listening to their concerns.
The success stories of many brands and their continued relevance have often been due to customer feedback. Fitness brand SoulCycle’s co-founder, Elizabeth Cutler, stated that customer feedback has influenced everything about the brand from how it looks and functions, to even how their indoor fitness studios smell.
Give your consumers a reason to come back instead of the competition. Incentives is a broad term and can mean anything from giving discounts, complimentary shipping to insider access to your most loyal customers. It’s all about creating programs and initiatives to reward loyalty to your brand. Even simply sending happy birthday greetings to customers via email can be enough to make them feel valued by your brand and as if they are part of a community. Incentives are the last key ingredient for maintaining a long-lasting loyal consumer base.
Just like CSR, this is a part of business-customer relations that consumers are increasingly expecting – a recent study by Mando-Connect and YouGov showed that 77% of British consumers are subscribed to at least one loyalty programme, while 59% believe all brands should offer more.
Brand loyalty is about staying relevant and being in touch with what people want. A great way of providing that knowledge to your business is through young talents from around the world. AIESEC provides access to over 2.5 million young talents from over 120 countries and territories. Head to our Partners Opportunity Portal to begin your journey to brand loyalty.