Essays

How to Create Brand Loyalty in your Customers

Essays

If your eyes were closed and you heard that unmistakable sound of a cold drink can opening – Gutach! Ktsssss! – what image comes to mind?
Red. White. That rich dark brown caramel liquid.

Coca-Cola.

How insane is that level brand connection, considering how many other products come in cans that make the exact same sound when opened?
Imagine your brand had the same effect on your consumers.

So what does it take?

Building an emotional connection between your brand and your consumers is what is known as brand intimacy.

According to Mario Natarelli, partner at MBLM, one of New York’s top marketing agencies:

“Brand Intimacy is the science of how we bond with the brands we use and love. These bonds are reciprocal and are fuelled by emotion. Brands that build stronger bonds create stronger business return and longevity.”

MBLM developed a model to measure brand intimacy by dividing it into 6 categories:

  1. Fulfilment: The bare minimum of any business or brand is to fulfil the needs of their customers through their offered products or services. To create brand intimacy, however, this is not enough. You must go the extra mile to ensure that your customer experience meets their needs beyond their expectations.
  2. Identity: Can your audience identify with your brand identity? Does your brand represent what they wish to represent themselves?
  3. Enhancement: If your customers feel that your products or services make their lives better in some way (be that in making them more capable or helping them do more), you will have created an added connection to your brand.
  4. Ritual: Is your product or service in some way a part of your customer’s daily or weekly ritual or routine? This positions your brand far higher than one that is seen or used only sporadically.
  5. Nostalgia: Creating a link to special moments or childhood stories creates an emotional connection filled with nostalgia and sentimentality, and brand intimacy stemming from this kind of link has a solid foundation.
  6. Indulgence: A brand that customers think of in times of relaxation or happiness, which offer them a sense of indulgence and satisfaction, is a brand that will have a positive connotation when a customer thinks about it.

How do your favourite brands fit into this model?

Coke is an obvious one – the poster child. Brand loyalty and intimacy is so great with their die-hard consumers, that if a restaurant only has Pepsi, they’d rather have water or a completely different Coca-Cola product instead.

What about your phone brand? Technology brands lead the pack when it comes to brand intimacy stats and – considering that we can hardly go an hour without our trusty devices – we can see why.

Your favourite car brand? Like your phone, this is part of your daily routine. It also represents you and has the potential to become a part of your identity, personality, and affect how others perceive you.

Think about your favourite pharmacy (Clicks, Dischem, or the little one up the road from you), petrol station (Engen, Shell, Caltex, BP…), bank (FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Absa, Investec…), clothing store (Woolworths, Mr Price, Cotton On, Markham…), or even alcoholic beverage (local and international).

  1. Have they consistently exceeded your expectations with the quality of their product or service, which you couldn’t otherwise get somewhere else?
  2. Are you happy to identify yourself with their brand and its values?
  3. Do they make you feel that you are doing better because of them?
  4. Do you feel a sense of ritual and comfortable repetition every time you go back to them?
  5. Have you created special memories around the use of their brand?
  6. Do you associate them with the good things in life?
Now, can your consumers say the same about you?

How to be that brand

If all you are doing is selling your product or service for money, you are just repeating a business transaction over and over to make enough of a profit to go on another month. Your consumer might get what they need from you today, and from someone else tomorrow. And that happens when you only actually think about your consumer when you need their business.

That is not enough to create a loyal and connected audience and customer base. Brand over business is the way to think – and we can help you make that evolution.

 Because we see the bigger picture, and we see you.

We are different. And you can be, too.

As thought leaders in brand intimacy, we know how to differentiate you from competitors without you having to say, “Pick me; not them!”

So contact us to talk about exactly how you can be different, too.