The return effect: How can brands reward customer loyalty?
One sure way to create brand loyalty is by showing customers your appreciation. This is usually done by giving the customers something back and in recent years, this has come in the form of loyalty schemes. When you walk onto the high street, almost every store will have a loyalty scheme in their own right; just look at Tesco and Boots who have done this extremely well. Tesco has more than 16.5 million clubcard users in the UK. These offers and rewards schemes will mean that customers will keep returning to get points and money off vouchers.
You need to make sure that you have a robust strategy to deliver a loyalty scheme. By not doing so, things can quickly backfire. Starbucks has recently made the news for the change to their rewards scheme. New rules state that customers will be rewarded by money spent rather the number of visits. This has left many consumers unhappy and already their dissatisfaction has been noted on social media.
Engage with your customers
Customers appreciate brands who communicate with them and do it well. Customers like to be the first to know when a new product is launching or when a special offer will be launching. But doing this with an impersonal approach is more likely to lose you customers rather than maintain them. So make your customers feel valued and take a personal approach to any communication you have with them.
Ask customers for their feedback
Customers like to be listened to and they want to believe that their opinion matters, especially when it comes to a brand that they love. Social media feedback nowadays is incredibly common whether brands ask for it or not. But if companies do encourage this feedback, it drives open conversations which will help to strengthen the relationship by building trust. 69% of millennials believe that brand trust is one of the key reasons why they will remain loyal to a brand so building positive relationships is an ongoing and powerful tool.
Keep your brand image relevant
Marketing your brand in a way that will speak to your customers on a personal level and encourage them to be less likely to stray anywhere else is something very special. Apple is great at this. The brand markets its products as ‘the best’ and Apple fans have bought into this, despite Samsung having more advanced smartphone technology. When asked, many people who have previously bought an Apple iPhone have always returned to the brand. 78% of users said they couldn’t imagine having a different phone now and 59% claim that they have blind loyalty to the brand. Clever marketing and brand positioning is clearly an important factor to the success of Apple and they have consistently worked to keep their image relevant, especially with launch campaigns for new products.
Keep a consistent brand message
Brand image needs to be consistent across all communications including company newsletters, social media and billboard advertising. Brands that keep a consistent image are more likely to be instantly recognised and consumers will want to associate themselves with this particular image. Just think of well recognised brand, Nike. Similar to Apple, it has an extremely loyal brand following with its famous tagline, ‘Just do it’ to encourage a community and to support sponsored athletes like Christiano Ronaldo. These athletes are used to appeal to aspirational goals and an overall quest for good health from its consumers.
Brands who treat their customers well are more likely to succeed. Being trustworthy and transparent will help to build customer loyalty as customers don’t want to feel as though they are being duped or mistreated in any way. Customers want to be able to communicate well with a brand and be able to trust it. Few customers will remain 100% loyal to a brand so if you can achieve a high rate of customer loyalty, you have created something exceptional.