The Slow Death of Brand Loyalty
Last summer, INC. Magazine published an article titled “Does Brand Loyalty Still Matter?” that examined the importance of loyalty programs in order for brands not to lose “Active Loyals”. I found the article intriguing solely due to the data. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 40% of Active Loyals “stay loyal to their brand for routine and special purchases. (Tend to be both older and younger.)” I’m left to assume that routine purchases would most likely fall under the Consumer Package Goods (CPG) category, such as toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent, etc. After reviewing the infographic provided, the one stat that had me thinking was the data about “Active Disloyals”. Based on the people surveyed, “27% of Active Disloyals have no brand loyalty – more women than men.”
Let’s face it, to some extent, women dominate purchasing power. Most CPG brands generally target and advertise to women. But brand loyalty amongst this demographic seems to be slowly declining. The research then goes on to display that brand loyalty has dropped considerably in Clothing, Beauty and Furniture. With the emergence of new technologies and platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce, the cultural shift from consumers demanding more product information and consumers simply wanting to get the best deal, brands are struggling to find a way to hold on to their advid customers.
INC. goes on to reveal that loyalty programs play a big part in brand loyalty and strategically implemented the right way can help brand engagement. But coupons and membership cards can only be so enticing. I think brands that heavily rely on loyalty programs may soon become the Kodaks of the world. Glen Llopis, a contributor at Forbes said it best – “It’s “moment marketing” – and it will not allow you to become part of your consumers’ reality and experiences.”
Consumers want a seamless experience throughout their brand and purchasing experience. They want to feel connected to the brand somehow. Whether through social media, in-store or the brand’s website…consumers want to feel authenticity. Authenticity is key to long-lasting brand loyalty. Think about some of your favorite brands, think about why you continue to routine purchase their items (excluding daily necessities). Write down the reasons why you love purchasing from this brand. Now go and apply this same list to your brand. Does your brand make you feel this way? If not, then it’s time to do some homework. Remember you are an extension of your brand…and if the same reasons you love brands don’t apply to yours – then it’s time to change your branding strategy and positioning.
Brands such as Jeep, Nike, Starbucks and Apple do not have a secret sauce… but they do realize that the true way to connect with consumers is through their lifestyles and authenticity.