Brand loyalty is an emotional connection present between a brand and its customers. It indicates the extent to which they are devoted to its products or services.
Brand loyalists' favor one particular brand over others, and are often willing to make multiple purchases in the future.
As a result, loyal customers are considered to be the building blocks for the success of any brand.
But in today's world, where a majority of people keep hopping from one brand to another, it's difficult for businesses to sustain.
Therefore, in order to survive, businesses should know how to convert their everyday customers into brand loyalists.
It's very crucial for them to personalize their customers' experiences, and thereby, enhance their overall satisfaction.
However, experts are now claiming that brand loyalty is slowly dying, if not completely dead.
According to a recent study on millennial's buying habits, 79 percent of the respondents considered quality as a deciding factor, rather than the name of the brand involved.
But wait, that does not mean the end of brand loyalty.
Another interesting study claims that a whopping 77 percent of its respondents will stick to one particular brand if they felt that connection, while 37 percent of the total, tagged themselves as 'Brand Loyalists.'
Therefore, these contradicting studies show that there is quite a bit of confusion about the presence of brand loyalty.
But nonetheless, we do believe that customer loyalty is as strong as it's ever been, and will always be.
Finally, let's see how can psychological factors help you to build that strong emotional connection leading to a long-lasting brand loyalty.
1. Concept Of Being Associated
We, as humans, are social beings and like to build communities with like-minded people.
As a result, much of human psychology has evolved around the concept of being associated and community building.
Therefore, businesses can use this psychological factor to build an excellent fan base.
Accordingly, Apple is the best example one can think of.
Apple always portrays its products around colorful and cool personalities, while also showcasing its rivals around boring and unlikable people.
As a result, this imagery instills a sense of elitism and exclusiveness among its customers.
And this is why Apple's customers are so attached to its brand and are always willing to pay premium prices for its products.
2. Be Original and Innovative
Customers are always attracted to original and innovative products in the market.
However, the world is full of competitive brands that are offering products similar to your brand.
Therefore, if you want to attract loyalists from other existing brands, offer products or services that have never been offered before, or try to create compelling and persuasive pitches.
Moreover, if you keep offering newer and innovative products in the upcoming time as well, your customers will always instill positive feelings and a sense of familiarity.
This way, you can get customers for life while being able to attract loyalists from other brands.
Finally, it's important to note that innovation itself cannot help you to achieve brand loyalty. It instead acts as the first step towards building a loyal customer base.
3. Positive Memories and Pleasant Experiences
Whenever we eat something delicious, our brain releases happiness-inducing hormones like dopamine.
And this is why we start associating tasty food with pleasure and satisfaction.
Therefore, businesses can use this simple yet effective psychological factor to achieve brand loyalty.
Businesses should always strive to provide the best possible experience for their customers.
However, they should also try to somehow associate those experiences with their brand.
This can be done by adding branded materials to your company's physical location, or by using attractive slogans and engaging imagery.
All of this, however, takes time.
But by delivering exceptional customer experiences and by connecting those positive memories with your brand, you can successfully build a loyal customer base.
4. Extraordinary and Individual Treatment
Brand loyalty starts with customer satisfaction, and people are less likely to do repeat transactions if they have had a bad experience in the past.
According to a recent study, more than 70 percent of the people abandon a business shortly after receiving poor customer service over the phone.
Moreover, even if a few handfuls of your customers become angry or dissatisfied, they are more likely to tell 26 other people about their negative experience.
Therefore, closing a transaction with the best-in-class customer service and performing regular follow-ups is the key to achieve long-lasting customer loyalty.
5. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological model of human needs, comprising of five hierarchical levels depicted within a pyramid.
Needs present in the lower level of the hierarchy must be met before an individual can even think of fulfilling the needs of the higher hierarchical level.
Right from the bottom to the top, the needs are categorized into - physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
Physiological needs that are placed in the very bottom of the pyramid cater to an individual's basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, etc.
While the next level in the pyramid, that is safety level, is all about protection and security factors like health, employment, and family stability.
Therefore, you can only cater to those customers who have met the goals of the lower basic levels.
But after attaining needs that are depicted in the next two levels, that is love/belonging and self-esteem, an individual seeks self-actualization goals like creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving, etc.
Therefore, if your brand is emphasizing on these self-actualization benefits, it is essential to note that you can only get those customers whose basic needs in the lower hierarchical levels have been met.
Hence, it's very crucial to target the right kind of customer at the right time, and your brand should always communicate and emphasize on the right type of benefits.
Finally, our conclusion is that brand loyalty is not dead. It is, however, as strong as it's ever been, and will always be.
By employing the right strategies at the right time, brands can always attract the most interested group of customers, while also earning their commitment and loyalty.