Author: Content Team Blog Posting
Sunday 19th September 2021 11:04 PM
Brand Loyalty, and How It Makes or Breaks Businesses
Brand Loyalty, and How It Makes or Breaks Businesses
Hostess Brands, and their infamous Twinkies, have been a staple of Americana for decades.
Being found in TV series, advertisements, and notably the movie “Zombieland”, the spongy yellow log of cream filling has become a sugary symbol for packaged snack cakes, spawning lookalikes such as ‘Gansito’ and ‘Twiggies’, and a handful of popular cultural references.
So why did it go bankrupt?
In 2012, company leaders of Hostess Brands announced that they were shutting down 36 factories and firing 18,000 people due to strikes, management infighting, labour costs, and lack of innovation.
Of course, changing trends in the market contributed to its downfall. As the health craze swept the market, the high sugar content of Twinkies contributed to its fall in demand. The head of the second largest union of Hostess Brands, Frank Hurt, put all his eggs into the power of brand awareness, when the accurate term for the Twinkie’s reputation would be brand recognition.
Realising what you can have…
Simply put, brand recognition is knowing that a product exists. It exists, a consumer can find it on the market or through a quick internet search, and they can buy it. This is the first step in driving a loyal customer base. With a clear, consistent brand and voice, almost everyone around the world can recognize the Coca-Cola brand.
Another way companies can increase their brand recognition is through collaborations. Samsung, most notably, has had collaborations with two of the largest K-pop bands that reign over the music industry today: BTS and Blackpink. This has led to a gargantuan increase in awareness in Samsung’s younger demographic, with over 18.8K likes on Twitter.
Local businesses, such as the Malaysian clothing brand Million Apparel, allow consumers to become ambassadors of their own; by buying their clothes and taking their own photos, interested browsers can use their referral links at no extra cost, allowing the ambassador to earn a commission. In this way, one can spot an ambassador on the streets just by recognizing the clothing they wear.
However, this is not to be confused with brand awareness, where customers actively know and understand a brand’s reputation, values, quality, and specifications. Coca-Cola’s “Share-A-Coke” campaign is a fine example of increasing brand awareness, with 1.7 million users reached, and the brand’s ‘love’ score on Facebook was the highest it had been in three years.
Consumers loved the idea of sharing a drink with their friends. This was a value that the company communicated flawlessly, and they reaped the rewards.
As trust in brand increases, buying trends shift towards businesses with more household names. In a list of enduring brands in 2015, with some brands still present today, it should come to no surprise that some of these companies are highly valued, and highly advertised too.
…and how you can keep it
Many customers are touch-and-go with the products that they buy. So here comes a new term: brand equity. Customers that exhibit positive perceptions of your brand and exhibit loyalty over time are said to contribute to brand equity. This is why some ‘life hacks’ to achieve better deals on telephone subscriptions are to casually infer an interest to switch over to another brand.
Business experts know that it’s more cost-efficient to retain an existing customer than it is to attract a new one. This is why there are so many strategies to keep customers coming back, such as thank-you messages, and emails to cross-sell.
With past customer data, such as purchase timing, channel preferences, and product categories, companies should invest in more personalized advertising, rather than the same catch-all advert, to turn customers from moment-buyers to repeat-buyers.
According to Armando Azarloza, President of The Axis Agency, “Moment marketing does little to develop a brand or give consumers permission to interact with them.” But some customers chase the rock-bottom price, disregarding brand altogether.
Due to this, some professionals are debating whether customer are truly still ‘brand’ loyal.
Can it earn its place?
Leeyan Rogers, author behind “How We Become Brand Loyal”, puts it succinctly:
“When you make a purchase, you are not simply buying the product. You are buying a feeling of trust, perceived quality and value, as well as an image.”
Companies love customers that make repeated purchases. Customers love companies that have excellent customer care, quality goods, and impeccable management. None of these characteristics can be found in advertising and marketing, but it keeps customers coming back. Through surveys and analytics, reports found customers finding themselves loyal to a brand 37% of the time, after more than five purchases. That’s a lot of trust to one brand!
A local Malaysian guitar effects brand, Rectifier Effects, has found love in the way the creator hand-solders all the wiring and circuits with care, and is now considered a rare, valuable find among the music community for the speed of the manufactured product, and the attempt at connection the creator makes in order to build an affinity with their consumers. Another clothing brand, i.do.tshirt, lives up to its name by allowing consumers to personalize their own clothing with ease and style, which lets customers feel a personal sense of connection with the brand and its product.
In the end, nothing can beat good word-of-mouth.
Brand loyalty does have it’s perks. It shields against brand switching, increases consumer satisfaction, and has caused some insane publicity, such as customers panic buying Twinkies when the company filed for bankruptcy. Apple as a company hires almost no ambassadors when compared to Samsung, but Apple fans can be regularly found with Apple Watches, MacBooks, and iPad Pros.
A heartwarming story dictates how a blog author would take a long, 2-hour trip with their family out of the country in order to dine at a certain restaurant whenever the holiday season approached. Despite other restaurants being around, they continued this age-old tradition for 20 years, until the restaurant unceremoniously closed down.
The author quoted that they “would have paid a hefty premium to eat there just one last time. Why? The brand made a connection with us, almost an emotional connection in some way, that translated into loyalty.”
In some ways, any one of us can relate.