Marketers have long tried to build relationships with consumers to encourage brand loyalty, but their tactics are inadequate.
Many marketers try to increase loyalty through traditional channels, such as maintaining a CRM database, running a loyalty reward program, and even using social media as a real “community” (hint: it’s not). Still, loyalty is difficult to achieve, and consumers often deceive brands – 77% of people are gaining brand loyalty faster than they did three years ago.
A change is underway and marketers who respond are leading the way. Traditional loyalty tactics lack some of the main components that make loyalty possible. One-sided points and communication do not determine the future of loyalty. The X factor for building loyalty is the emotional relationships that are built mainly from the dialogue with the customer.
Marketers at the revolutionary fitness and technology brand Peloton once said, “We made a conscious decision not to offer a rewards program because we believed that this would be the real relationship we would have with our community.” We prefer to cultivate loyalty. Listen to the members with emotion. ”
The term “community” is coming back to brands as a central strategy for building direct relationships with consumers.
Here are three main ways to get it right.
- Build a channel to show shared values
A successful community is built around a common goal. This is an effective way to capture the brand’s core values – for the most part, 87% of consumers choose brands that match their values.
However, shared values are not just a story about who you are as a brand. Many see community building as something that focuses entirely on the brand fandom, with the brand in the spotlight. But a community allows people to tell the story of who they are and what they stand for.
Consider a brand like Jeep. Buying a car involves much more than just the car itself. The brand represents an adventurous lifestyle; the owners fully accept the owner’s lifestyle. Jeep helps to create a sense of community by organizing “Jamborees” – events where the owners meet.
- Provides an outlet for consumer-oriented innovation
Creating a positive feedback loop not only facilitates emotional connections but also helps your brand keep up with trends. Most marketers live in an echo chamber and few can get organic feedback.
By transforming “consumer” into “employee”, brands can collaborate on new ideas and increase customer satisfaction. When marketers have a community at their fingertips, they can solicit feedback through focused discussions, research, and analysis. Four out of five consumers indicate that they want to give feedback and make a difference for brands. Really a scenario where everyone wins.
- Create a center of gravity for a brand
As with any marketing strategy, a community cannot be an isolated enterprise. For a company to achieve maximum results, it must be aligned with its general business objectives.
Building a brand-driven community often starts as a way to support the brand, but an exciting change can occur for a thriving community. Successful communities change the roadmap: a community stops supporting the brand and the brand starts supporting the community. And this is where companies reach cultivated followers and the brand becomes part of someone’s identity.
These loyalists are willing to look for you; they are immune to competitive promotions and are willing to pay more just because they come from the brand.
In short, these consumers are not cheating on you.
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It’s hard for today’s marketers to prevent consumers from leaving a brand, but it’s a much better strategy to maintain their loyalty than constantly looking for new ones to replace. Brands must always listen and make improvements and appreciate the higher-order benefits that consumers really want.