Why are some brands more successful at building loyalty than others? Why do some have ‘customers’, while others have devoted fans? And what can we marketers do to turn a buying decision into a lifestyle choice?
What all the big brands have in common is a bunch of very loyal customers. And not only are they loyal, they actually do, think and feel what the brand wants them to. These brands do what seems like the impossible. But is it?
After doing some digging we’ve realised that customers are inspired to act not because they have to, but because they want to. And this inspiration comes from a deep emotional connection to the brand’s core purpose – an alignment of values. They are connected to them at a deeper level, and this is the essence of true loyalty. Loyalty is driven by long term relationships, therefore Loyalty can’t be a ‘programme’ to make people buy more products and services – it should flow from creating a brand with clear values and delivering genuine experiences at every touch point. In fact we’d go as far to say the most successful brands are storytellers. This then turns customers into fans (hallelujah) in an authentic way.
The inherent difference between fans and customers is behavioural. Fans feel they are part of the brand – fans go out of their way to buy and use a brand. They talk about the brand for you, harnessing the power of story through word of mouth. They position your brand better than you will. To your other customers they are the authentic voice of the brand. At the essence of this is a deep positive feeling. A feeling of passion - loving something and wanting to share their experience with others. Being a fan means purchasing decisions are made in a different way – logical decisions of cost vs. benefit take a back seat to those of values – it’s about buying because the brand has become an extension of their lifestyle and personal identity. The brand fans beliefs and feelings drive them to act.
This study endeavours to dig deeper into how and why these brands build loyal brand fans, which are more likely to engage in action and behave in new ways. We’ve taken the learnings from three of the stand-out marketing campaigns of 2013, two of which use innovative brand partnerships as part of their strategy to support brands on their journey, by leveraging strength for both brands.
What we discovered is that all these campaigns have five core parts that help them deepen emotional connections with their customers, which therefore drive loyalty and inspires them to action – and that this is all underpinned by how well they understand them. You guessed it – it’s all about insight.