People that are brand loyal spend more with you, hire you more than just once and tell other people about your businesses.
The unfortunate truth is that brand loyalty across every industry is declining. According to Ernst & Young, just a few years ago the average customer was loyal to their favorite brands about 40% of the time. Now, that percentage is estimated to have dropped to just 25%.
This suggests it’s getting more difficult to keep customers, and, perhaps, also more difficult to scream loudly enough to attract them in the first place.
It surprises some that brand loyalty isn’t generated through patterns of discounts or a series of coupons. Those incent the anti-loyal price shoppers.
Create incentives with caution. If you’re looking for a burst of revenue, go for it. But if you’re looking for lifetime customers, you may be putting your marketing energy in the wrong place.
Here’s the only way to truly create brand loyalty:
Create a predictably positive experience with a contrasting surprise that shows you care.
When I walk into my favorite nail salon, I know that Suzanne is going to welcome me before my foot crosses the threshold.
I’ll wait for only about 2-3 minutes, and then I’ll get taken back to the same station each time where we’ll chat for a few minutes. I know what will happen after that, and so on, and so on. The first time I went there, I was surprised to find a complimentary shoulder massage was included with every treatment. I could also choose to rest under the nail dryers with a warm rice and lavender shoulder pillow. This wasn’t expected; it was a pleasant surprise.
At Starbucks, the drinks are predictable and consistent. The baristas remembering your name is a surprise showing they care.
When people book a baby shoot with me, I take them through the same process whether this is our first time working together or our third. The onesie I send them with a personal note before the shoot signifies they’re valued.
Get the predictable, positive experience messed up and your brand loyalty is toast.
Forget to include a contrasting surprise and it begs for your customers’ eyes to begin wandering toward other options.
PS – What do you do to help ensure your business is predictable? Or, is this an area you need to work on moving forward? Reply below and comment. I promise to comment back (especially if you’re needing help figuring this out).