Apple. Amazon. IKEA. Coca Cola. Google. Netflix. You know these brands and what they provide, and if you're like most people, you probably interact with at least a few of them on a daily basis. All of them are notable largely because their collective success is the direct result of one crucial but elusive factor: brand loyalty. iPhone users rarely jump ship to buy a Samsung, Prime shoppers aren't itching to return to high streets, and few Google users are desperate to see what Bing has to offer. For a host of distinct but often compounding reasons, consumers develop strong attachments to particular brands even when, as is always the case today, there's a sea of competing alternatives vying for your time, attention, and hard-earned cash. In this blog, I'm going to break down why brand loyalty comes about and, from that, how you can encourage your customers to stick around
1. Do it Good
This is the the foundation that all the other points rest upon. If the service or product you provide is cheap, inefficient. unappealing, or difficult to use, consumers aren't going to hang around long enough to see you get your act together -- they're going to go to whichever of your competitors is doing it better. Amazon rightly gets a lot of flack for their unethical work practices, but their juggernaut status didn't come from thin air: they reached their height by delivering whatever you could think of to your doorstep within a day; and they did all this through a clean, simple user experience upholstered by memorable branding. Amazon was the first company to do these things well, and no one other business since has managed to outdo them at the game they invented. As a result, millions of people trust Amazon daily to bring them food, shampoo, furniture, and laptops -- and their continual satisfaction with the ease and quality of service keeps them coming back.
Sadly, doing your thing well only keeps people around if that thing still matters. Products or services, regardless of their quality, can quickly lose significance over time as markets, habits and technologies change. Look at what happened to Blockbuster Video, once dominant in the video and video game rental market, when streaming took off: they quickly collapsed into a fond memory that 30-something-year old-parents tell their kids about. Ironically enough, it was one of Blockbuster's lesser rivals, a little DVD-rental company called Netflix, that broke into the new ground of streaming. People flocked to Netflix because it offered that extra layer of convenience. And, in light of recent events, it looks like Disney are rapidly shaping up as their successor. The lesson here is to look for opportunities to do more and improve for your customers. If you don't, you might soon find yourself outflanked by all the competitors you rarely gave a second thought.
3. Invest in the Message
Even if you provide a high quality product that continually improves and adapts to changing tastes, there's no guarantee that the right people are going to hear about it. What every good business needs is good marketing -- defined by strong communication, branding and content. Steve Jobs might have built a cult of personality with significant drawbacks, but he spearheaded a marketing approach, defined by sleek branding and clean design, that turned Apple into a lifestyle. His keynote speech where he announced the iPhone, and his 1984 TV Advert announcing the upcoming release of the Macintosh computer, are iconic examples of how to package your product and identity in a way that excites the people you're targeting. Jobs ultimately convinced consumers that they were buying into an idea, which eventually gave him the power to shape the very tastes and market forces most companies have no choice but to follow.
The first two points are up to you, but we're here to help you present your strengths in a way that sells -- be it through video, graphic design, copywriting or branding. Get in touch. The sooner you do, the sooner we can begin reaching the people you're missing.