Brand loyalty is defined as an attitude and intention to repurchase the same brand over time in spite of marketing efforts from other firms.
When customers continuously prefer to buy a brand and are indifferent to price then there is likely to be customer brand equity. Brand loyalty is also evidenced by the reluctance of customers to switch to other brands even when their preferred brand makes internal or external changes such as in the price, or managerial and leadership changes.
The aim of any brand therefore should be to grow brand loyalty leading to repurchase of the brand’s products and services.
Findings from the current research show difference reasons why customers become loyal to a particular brand. In order to sustain customer loyalty, brands should therefore constantly review their strategies in the following areas:
Create frequent customer associations with the brand
Brand loyalty is built through frequent associations with the brand because of usage and awareness campaigns as well as word of mouth recommendations by significant others and reference groups. Companies wanting to build strong brands should therefore find every opportunity to creatively engage customers. This can be done through segmented marketing on selected channels and social media. Innovative brands have also created novelle brand experiences through flagship stores, theme parks and promotional events. Major brands such as Coca cola have been dominating major international events for many years leading to continued brand equity.
Create quality and innovative products or services
No body like a shoddy product or service and if companies are to grow brand loyalty, providing quality products is of paramount importance. How quality is defined is always determined by the customer . In research on mobile handsets, research respondents considered durability of the handset, the design and functions of the phone as important in determining quality and leading to brand loyalty. Innovation in product and service offering also keep customers wanting to engage with the brand to consume more of the offering. Apple has mastered the art of innovation and keeping customers eagerly anticipating their next product offering.
Create brand romance by providing emotional attachment
In addition to the functional considerations, customers want products that make them feel good about themselves. Feel good emotions created by the brand leads to brand attachment . Responses given by participants in a brand loyalty study included the following, “ a brand must give me that feeling that I would not get when using another product” and ” I am in love with the brand, I would not consider using another”. Companies should aim to increase customers’ self concept and feelings of pride in owning and consuming the brand. The more emotionally attached customers are to brands, the more the propensity to repurchase that brand. Brands such as Hugo Boss, Versace, Armani have created global following by giving consumers clear visions of what type of people wear and consumes their brands. When consumers believe and want to identify with this concept, they are more likely to repurchase the brand.
Brand loyalty is a process that culminates in brand equity and ultimately profitability for the company. We live in a world full of brands. How well a company is at selling its brand will ultimately determine its success.
Written by Chipo Mapungwana