How to Build Brand Loyalty

Your brand is important. If you’re not sold on that premise yet, we strongly encourage you to read on. Although brands are represented by logos and business names, a brand itself is more of a concept. A magnetic field surrounding your business that can both attract and repel consumers, depending on how strong it is.

Think back to your first day in school, if it’s not too painful. Your business name is scribbled on your backpack and the clothes your Mom dressed you in make up your logo. For better or for worse, these visible features help to distinguish you from your classmates, and they are part of your brand identity. But your brand is also defined by how your classmates perceive you, how popular you are, whether you’re the type of person they can trust, that sort of thing. Were you cursed with a first name no one can pronounce and dressed

We hope you’re aware of it – but if not, we’re here to inform you that your business has a brand. Just like school, there will be people gossiping about it behind its back, and it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re saying all the right things.

So why invest in your company’s branding?

Well, there are many reasons. (In case you forgot – or don’t know – what branding is, refresh your memory here.)

A GOOD BRAND INSTILLS TRUST IN YOUR BUSINESS.
Consumers need to trust that your company will deliver, and this trust takes many forms. Let’s use McDonald's as an example because no blogger has ever used McDonald's to illustrate their points about branding before.

McDonald's has arguably the most recognizable logo in the world, owed in part to the fact it’s never really changed, aside from a few tweaks here and there. Consumers know what to expect when they see the golden arches, whether they’re in New York or New Delhi, which gives their brand a level of trustworthiness. We’re not saying that consumers are looking for a fast-food chain to confide in, we’re saying that they’re looking for reliability and consistency in a product.

Once your brand is reliable, you’re in a better position to launch new products or adapt old classics.

Trust comes in another form, too. Suppose you’re a start-up tech company – again, a very underused example. Investing in a brand that reflects your original, innovative and professional approach will give a consumer faith in your company. You might convey these attributes through a clean, sharp logo, an expertly written blog or a Facebook page that shares the newest and most exciting tech news, for example.

TO BE TRUSTWORTHY, YOUR BRAND NEEDS TO BE RECOGNIZABLE.
Recognizability is hugely beneficial to your company, providing it’s being recognized for the right reasons. Perhaps the biggest advantage afforded to a recognizable brand is the number of marketing avenues it opens up.

Product placement in films, for example, isn’t really possible if viewers don’t recognize your brand. A fleeting glimpse of a Coca-Cola can or an Xbox adjacent to Brad Pitt is usually enough for those companies to achieve a sufficient level of exposure.

On a smaller scale, local businesses that have an established brand in their area can more effectively utilize outdoor marketing. These are usually adverts that can only be viewed for a short amount of time, such as those on billboards or buses.

We often get asked why companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds continue to invest in their brand despite being so well established. “It’s not like people will stop drinking Coke all of a sudden” is the usual claim.

It’s a fair question, but it has a simple answer which boils down to brand loyalty. Coca-Cola knows that everyone has heard of their brand. They know that they’re not going to convert anyone through advertising.

But imagine you’ve just bought a Diet Coke (which we’re assuming isn’t too difficult, given that you’ve probably done it at least once this year to honor your doomed new year’s resolution). Perhaps you’re wondering why you didn’t go for a cheaper equivalent, or even a Diet Pepsi, its closest competitor. They pretty much taste the same, right? But then you look up and see Taylor Swift drinking a Diet Coke on a billboard. Well, now you feel pretty darn good about splashing out a little extra.

Coca-Cola is not a unique product. There are loads of imitators that taste virtually identical, but we still prefer a Coke. This inexplicable favoritism is actually not inexplicable at all; it is the direct result of brand investment. Consumers wouldn’t forget about Coke without it, but they’re much more likely to develop a loyalty to the brand if they’re continuously told by attractive celebrities that it’s the best one on the market.

The same principle applies to locally established brands. Get your name out there, even if it’s already out there.

A brand can constitute the most valuable asset of your company, and investing in it should be at the center of your priorities. We’ll bring back the school metaphor here. Whether it’s your business’ first day in school as a fledgling start-up or it’s the quarterback of the Football team, a bad haircut or an embarrassing picture on Facebook can ruin everything. Make sure your brand is spot-on, and keep it that way.

 

BrandingMELISSA BROOKMAN