There is no shortcut to building loyalty for a brand. To make professional (and personally) relationships last, marketers must think of authentic strategies (not gimmicks) to reach an audience. However, it’s easy to assume that once you’ve garnered the attention of a customer, they will be fans for life. Think again.
PR Newser’s article on how Ben & Jerry’s have successfully, and honestly, built brand loyalty around Free Cone Day shows just how effective loyalty can be in building a business. It is their 34th anniversary of this annual “holiday” after all. One of the biggest challenge marketers face is retaining customers after the initial excitement of the brand fades away. Here are 5 tips to help you master loyalty marketing:
1. Tell a story.
Create stories that communicate the personality, values and experiences of your brand. Ben & Jerry’s is known for their humble beginnings in Vermont between two friends who shared a dream. They capitalize on this story and don’t try to be anyone else. Everyone knows that Ben & Jerry’s isn’t cheap ice cream, but their customers don’t care. It’s much easier to overlook the price because we have fallen in love with the story of the brand – and that’s what keeps customers loyal.
2. Ask yourself, who is my customer?
Have you developed your marketing persona? Before even beginning a campaign, you have to truly understand who your ideal target customer is and then ask yourself what does he/she want? Who are the people buying your product and why? Once you have this information, determine what sets you apart from your competitors and emphasize your strengths and points of differentiation.
3. Be proactive, not reactive.
Most successful e-commerce sites have built their business using this philosophy. Rather than giving the customer solely what they want (or expect), they anticipate what they may need. For example, on Amazon.com when you add a Kindle to your cart, a popup immediately appears asking if you want to add a power adapter to your order. OF COURSE I need a power adapter! I wouldn’t want my battery to DIE on me! Then with a click of the mouse, you have an extra $19.99 in your basket. It’s money for Amazon, but also enhances the customer experience in an authentic way. One. Step. Ahead.
4. Remember quality over quantity.
Remember when Budweiser was accused of watering down their beer? Customers were pissed (and not in the British “drunk” version). Consistency is a huge factor in brand loyalty. But even as the beer giants such as Anheuser-Busch continue to massively produce, they are losing market share as craft beers such as Sierra Nevada and Ninkasi have made significant headway. These microbreweries are even creating a market of their own. They focus on high-quality ingredients and the finished product, rather than mass production.
What is the marketing take-away here? You can push out massive amounts of ads, 100 tweets each week or 10 blog posts a day – but if the content (and end product) is generic and low-quality, you could be perceived as the Budweiser of your market.
5. Be consistent.
Take a look at the recent Fortune Magazine “Most admired companies” list. What do the top companies have in common? They all have consistent branding and messaging. When you say “Apple” you immediately think of a cool, hip and innovative company. Starbucks? Southwest Airlines? Each has a unique (and consistent) brand. Being consistent means sharing the same message across your entire company. Make sure all levels, from marketing to sales to executives, are on the same page. Consistency builds credibility, which is something that once lost, can never be fully recovered. Here is a good list of 9 bad branding blunders.
Finally, remember that people don’t forget when companies go above and beyond their expectations – and aren’t shy about sharing their experiences (especially in this social media age). When your customers praise you or your service
– make sure you also give them a shout out! (You are using social media, right??)
So, did you get your free scoop? We sure did. Thanks guys!