Friday, November 1, 2013

3 Lessons learned in building brand loyalty

As marketers we can’t always control our products, but we can influence the perception of them. So how do you build brand loyalty? Let’s learn from a couple of today’s strongest brands: 

Apple: Speak your users language

Like them or not, Apples brand power is un-deniable (see this article and this one for more about their brand power). Apple created a cult like brand loyalty by speaking their users language. Apple knew early on in the 80’s that their users were the creative types and “geeks”. They embodied that with their product marketing and aligned their brand with the same values of these buyers. At that time being a geek wasn’t trendy or cool, it was just different. Apple didn’t try to be everything to everyone, they spoke to their audience. 

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                Take it further:  If your brand has multiple types of people you are looking to engage with, utilize buyer personas to foster and develop this high level of loyalty. For example in IT buying, most large companies (1,000+ employees in size) have buying teams of 10+ people.  Generally you will have 4-6 different personas involved in the decision. An example of this might be a IT staff member vs a C-level executive vs a procurement specialist. All have different pain points, product needs, outlooks and personas. Adapt content to speak to each persona this will increase the brand loyalty from multiple groups at the same time. 

Harley Davidson: Listen and Bond

In terms of product, Apple and Harley-Davidson are very different, but both have created Brands with unparalleled loyalty. Harley built their brand loyalty by listening to their audience, and by relying on humans need for brotherhood.  Harley was doing very poorly in the 60’s and made a huge comeback through listening to what riders wanted. Beyond that, they also tapped into humans need for social interaction. They develop a club for Harley Owners (Harley Owners Group, HOG). Through this they helped encourage fellow owners to ride together, and share brand experiences. This has strengthened the bond the brand has with its customers, and the bond customers have with each other. These two efforts have worked to magnifying brand loyalty.  

Both of these brands have such a strong loyalty built around them people are willing to display the logos and names on their bodies. Do you customers go that far? That’s loyal:

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How do you replicate this success?

1 - Identify who your audience is

2- Speak clearly to them, and their needs. Remember no body wants to hear how great you are, they want to hear how great you will make them

3 - Integrate social elements on every level of your brand engagement.

Leave a comment, tell me what are you brand challenges, how are you working to overcome them? 

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