What Drives Brand Loyalty?

Pursue deeper insights to make your brand resonate.

Over the last 40 years, we have tackled many tough business challenges for our clients.
These challenges come in all shapes and sizes, but one question comes up time and again. “How do we create true brand loyalty?” Through years of researching what makes people loyal to one brand versus another, we have discovered that three key benefits exist in some combination for nearly all loyalists, regardless of industry or category, driving decision-making and motivating purchase. These are cost, convenience, and confidence: what we call the “Three C’s of Brand Loyalty.”

Cost. Many marketers see cost as separate from the key elements of brand equity. They consider it a tactical tool for attracting new customers or relevant only to luxury brands; however, this approach can be short-sighted. When describing why they love a particular brand, loyalists often mention price or value in some capacity, regardless of the brand’s pricing strategy. Chipotle has built a loyal following by offering fresh, healthy ingredients at a fair price, which has quickly captured the hearts of consumers who appreciate a good value for the dollar. A Lexus automobile comes with a high price tag, but its brand loyalists still consider their vehicles a “good value.” Of course, an array of factors affect a brand’s price flexibility, but it is important for brand owners to understand the role price plays in their brand’s equity and manage how it affects perceptions.

Convenience. Brand loyalists typically describe the benefit of convenience in one of two ways. First, they might love how their favorite brand’s products or services are convenient for them to purchase, acquire, or use. Online shopping and effectively-located retail stores are prime examples of this type of convenience. Consumers gravitate toward products and services that are there when they need them. Amazon has taken this type of convenience to a new level with its Kindle, enabling quick and easy book downloads in just a few clicks. The second way in which loyalists describe the benefit of convenience is how a brand adds an element of convenience to their lives. For example, those loyal to Soy Vay sauces and marinades love how they can make tasty, healthy meals in a few steps. The brand helps them feel like accomplished cooks with minimal effort, allowing them to focus their time and energy on other aspects of their lives.

Confidence. As with convenience, loyalists describe the benefit of confidence in one of two ways. Their loyalty may be driven by the confidence they feel in the quality of the product or service itself. Take, for instance, a mom who is loyal to Jeep because of the confidence she has in her Grand Cherokee’s ability to transport her children safely in the snow. The other way loyalists describe this benefit is through the lens of self-confidence. Take the simple example of someone putting on a finely-tailored H. Huntsman suit to feel prepared and self-assured for a big interview. Confidence is exuded by the wearer because of the feeling the suit creates.

When examining your brand, it’s important for you to understand the role that the Three C’s play in a brand’s perceptual equities. That said, these are not unique benefits. They exist in some combination for nearly all brands that drive loyalty. In order to truly stand out and resonate with consumers, brands need to dig deeper and find what else is important to their target audiences. They need to go beyond the Three C’s to offer something more, something different. The question is what? And how? These are the tough challenges.

This article is part of a series on #OldBanking. It symbolizes the paradigm shift in the banking industry from the traditional transactional model of retail delivery to a customer-centric model focused on creating experiences and fostering relationships. Join the conversation by using #OldBanking on Twitter.

Chris Tonay is Monigle’s Director of Insights + Strategy. Lucky for us he exudes every aspect of the Three C’s: he’s valuable, convenient, and confident!

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