How to build brand loyalty

The power of loyalty is an often-overlooked concept when building and maintaining a brand. While no one can deny its power, creating loyalty is complex and many businesses struggle to achieve it. Research has proven that the cost of attracting a new customer is as much as five times more than keeping an existing one, so developing trust and loyalty should be an investment every company makes. But how exactly do you create meaningful relationships with your customers that evoke loyalty and secure future sales?

Whatever stage of business you are at, here are some demonstrated ways to develop trust that will have you nodding along when you think about the brands you stay loyal to.

1) Authenticity is vital

Think about the brands that you like, you buy from and that you follow. It’s highly likely that they’ve gained your respect by the way that they make you feel, how they interact with you or other customers, or the fact that they operate in a way that you can relate to. All of these are opportunities to show authenticity; to operate with transparency and honesty and stick to your established values. Trust is built when you can rely on a brand to deliver what they say they’re going to, you understand what they represent or quite simply, you can engage with humans rather than robots. Authenticity is the extra sauce that makes your customers take notice and stay close.

2) Consistency wins the day

Whether we realise it or not, we develop expectations from any interactions we have based on our own experiences. We expect the kettle to boil for our morning coffee when we switch it on; we assume that a car will stop at a red light when we’re at a crossing; we would believe that if we asked someone a question, they would speak back. If any of these things didn’t happen when we’re so used to them happening this way, we would be surprised, disappointed or even frustrated, and that would impact how we perceived that interaction or individual.

It’s the same with a brand and its customers. For example, if you’ve committed to replying to all customers on social media within 24 hours and do that one day, but then leave it five days before replying on another day, you run the risk of alienating that potentially once loyal customer that has learnt to expect certain behaviour from your company. Establish yourself as a brand and stick to typical behaviours, values and approaches. If you maintain your profile with your audience by being consistent and committing to your brand’s persona, you’ll be developing a foundation of trust.

3) Rewarding loyal customers pays dividends

A huge irritation for long term customers of brands is when existing customers aren’t prioritised over gaining new customers. As consumers, we’re surrounded by so many offers and deals to switch providers or sign up to something new. It’s clear in those scenarios that loyalty isn’t the focus at all, and there’s nothing to be gained by sticking around. Ultimately being able to stay with the same provider of a product or service is far more convenient as it saves a consumer time and money, so don’t give them another reason to shop around. In the midst of all the discounts and marketing spend required to attract new customers, looking after existing customers and rewarding loyalty gives them a reason to stay close to you and will ultimately save you a lot of money, increasing your profit.

We are all consumers of products and services and we have our own experiences with brands, both positive and negative. Use them as valuable insight! By continually putting yourself in the shoes of your own customers, you can better understand what they might need from you and what might help them to stay on your side. Humans engage with humans, and remembering this will help you to build brand loyalty that will benefit you and your business for years to come.