Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Process of Building Brand Loyalty

What does it really take to convert the Unbelieving to the Loyal? Isn't that what smart organizations are trying to do... if they take marketing seriously? 

Of course that is what they are trying to do! Even if we were not waist-deep in a recession, that should have been the motive all along. And, it may have taken this economic climate to convince some organizations that what they were doing before this wasn't working. Hey, wake-up calls hurt, but only fools don't answer the ring.

There are three parts of this brand conversion process: 
* Experience
* Acknowledgement
* Articulation

First, the person being converted must have a positive brand experience that is real. And by "real" I mean representative of the brand experience in most situations. The experience cannot be a best case scenario. It has got to be able to be replicated most times. That means that the organization must be organized and managed so that a quality brand experience happens far more than it does not happen. 

Second, the customer (or employee) must acknowledge the experience as a positive one. What I am talking about is a sincere acceptance of the experience by the one doing the experiencing. And that probably tells you a bit more about how positive that experience needs to be. 

Third, the convert must articulate what has happened. S/he needs to do this for themselves, first and then for your prospective or other current customers. The reason this needs to be done is that, many times, only when one can talk or write about a subject are they able to crystallize what the subject (and experience) really meant to them. Most times, consumers do this naturally. We love to talk about the brands we love! And, the more we talk about them, the more we love them. Just human nature. 
Hey, wake-up calls hurt, but only fools don't answer the ring.

Now, where traditional marketing still has a role is in providing the brand cues that help in that articulation of the experience. Today's smart consumer may use these cues differently than their parents did, but they still use them. There are too many consumers using brand descriptors straight out of advertising to deny this. BUT, the advertising must be far more relevant than marketers got away with 25 years ago. 

So, think about it. Make the brand experience real. So real that it is sincerely acknowledged by the customer. And help (via a variety of marketing communications) to provide assistance in how consumers articulate that brand experience.

It goes without saying (but I will say it) that this important process can and should happen with your own employees before you try it on your customers. Remember: Brand Representatives determine Brand Reputation! 

Thanks for checking in. 

More to come. 

1 comment:

  1. The importance of striving to develop brand loyalty cannot be overestimated. In the digital age people expect a closer relationship with the products they buy, not a lesser one. They can get online in seconds and find out numerous facts about a company and potentially even get in touch with someone of importance within the organization.