Sabre Thinking

09 Aug / Brand Loyalty: Is It Really Dead?

brand-loyaltyIf you’re reading some of the articles out there on changes in consumer behavior, it’s easy to think that the entire concept of brand loyalty is dead. After all, 90% of common household goods brands like Bounty paper towels or Tide detergent were seeing a steady decline in market share just a few years ago. This led us to wonder – what is actually changing in the world of brand loyalty? Have these brands compromised their quality? Is the rise of newer generations affecting their market share? Or is something else entirely taking place?

The fact is, it sure is evolving, but brand loyalty is not dead, and there are a host of reasons why. A few of the reasons being:

1. Changes in our mentality, like new health and diet trends. Take those sweet cereals you might have enjoyed as a child. Today, we know better that too much sugar is not healthy and therefore sugary cereals in the morning are not going to be every household’s first choice at the grocery store. This didn’t happen overnight, but over time, it has caused the majority of households to find a new cereal brand or even a new product to enjoy that better represents their ideas of health.

2. Generational changes. Many families would purchase the same brands just because they mimic their parent’s purchasing behaviors. But today, a lot of families are ditching the idea of generational brand loyalty and finding alternatives that best suit their lifestyle.

3. Consumers are digging deep into brand values and public image. Some top-rated brands like United Airlines, Monsanto, even Facebook have fallen under the microscope due to poor ethics, business practices or equality measures, and this alone can kill loyalty even with some of the biggest names in business.

But let’s not forget that with every challenge a brand faces, comes an opportunity for change. Brands that are willing to grow and change with the times are going to be able to hold onto their loyal customers and fans for years to come.

How are brands evolving to hold onto loyal customers through changing trends and times? We have the inside scoop!

Transparency of business practices

Knowing that what goes on behind the scenes is more important to consumers than a flashy advertisement allows a brand to pull back the curtains and let consumers see the real business behind the brand. This type of transparency can be displayed via the content on a website, videos shared on social media platforms or other advertisement opportunities.

toms-shoes-loyal-customerLet’s take TOMS shoes for example with their One For One philosophy where for every product purchased, the company will help another person in need with gifts of shoes, clean water, medical treatment, and other acts of kindness. This information is displayed prominently on their website for consumers to see exactly how they operate and clearly understand their company values and philosophies.

Understanding consumers’ reasons for loyalty

We recently wrote about shifts in generations from a marketing perspective, and it’s important to understand that knowing a consumer is not just about knowing one type of consumer. It requires a company to gain a deep understanding of the mindset and behaviors of each generation of consumers, and then meeting customers where they’re at.

For example, Generation X is not into pushy advertising so many from this group would rather spend time doing their own research before making a purchase. Millennials are said to be more money conscious because they grew up in a recession, which means that discounts could create loyalty more than say pushing value…and high prices.

Taking advantage of the digital age

If traditional forms of advertising are no longer yielding the results and “superfans” for your brand, it could be time to fully embrace the digital age when it comes to marketing. According to a study done by Facebook, 77% of people are in fact returning to the same brands again and again. What this means is that the way that consumers show loyalty is changing, not loyalty itself.

We recommend that if technology has not been your company’s strong suit, it’s time to embrace the gifts of the digital age. Having a great website design, a social media presence, and other digital marketing strategies in place is going to ensure that you’re reaching your consumers where they’re at, especially the younger generations.

Let’s take the newspaper industry as an example. You may remember the days when a ride on the subway, or here in Boston, “The T,” meant a line of papers in people’s faces. Today, you see the tops of many heads, because everyone is busy staring down at a phone. But companies like The New York Times who shifted their efforts into boosting their digital presence have come out still on top, despite a massive cultural shift in how we read information.

Is your business ready to embrace a new way of connecting to loyal customers? Make sure to continue reading our blog for the latest tips and strategies to help you navigate an ever-changing marketing landscape. Sabre Digital Creative is here to help you.

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