Brand is an all-encompassing concept that simply equates to "what your company, product or service means to those who buy them". So when we speak about brand loyalty we are hoping that when given a choice, consumers will buy from us not the competition, hence loyalty.
Welcome to the new world of marketing where brand loyalty is reversed: it’s no longer about customers being loyal to you but rather about how good you are in earning the right to be chosen. Seth Godin talks about a "tribe", where you focus on a niche and develop a loyal following.
Beware though, because social media can easily stir you in the wrong direction. Here’s how:
A Facebook "like" isn't a vote, it's permission to convince why I should choose your brand over another. It does not mean that I am looking for your special offer. It gets old very quickly and you're not the only one campaigning for “likes”. My "like" is an opportunity for you to engage, educate and make me feel that I am a member of your tribe.
Loyalty isn't given: it is a continuous nurturing process. Blink and I’m gone. Look at the bandwidth (speed) of your service provider. That’s how quickly decisions are made to go elsewhere.
It's a lot less expensive to hold on to loyal customers than to lure them back. Think benefits, value, substance. “Thanks for your like, here’ s your coupon for 20% on your next order” defines loyalty as the expectation of paying less.
Are you a commodity or someone I look forward to doing business with? Can you get me to come back without giving something away? Sure you can, if you understand why I shop at your place. If you don't, then ask me. Loyal customers will gladly tell you, that’s what makes them loyal.
I read recently about a businessman who was traveling on business and left his favorite Nordstrom-brand shaving kit at home. He called the local store and asked, since he was without a car, whether they make deliveries. Of course they don't. But, this is Nordstrom. The department manager delivered the kit to the hotel on her way home.
The out -of-town businessman was a loyal customer. He could have settled for the cheap substitute hotels give you for free. Instead, he put his loyalty to the test - and Nordstrom is still around, high prices and all because they clearly understand their role: show customers how loyal and thankful Nordstrom employees are for the opportunity to shine.
Are you a Nordstrom or a commodity?