As marketers, we understand the power of branding. Compared to a knockoff with an upside-down swoosh, the incalculable worth of an authentic Nike sneaker sets it apart from the competition. Unlike fast food chains that tend to lose customers as quickly as they gain them, enduring brands like McDonald’s have a positive effect on consumers that lasts for decades, even generations. But why do some products and services manage to capture and hold our hearts? To discuss customer commitment, we invited Hubspot’s community and advocacy expert Christina Garnett. An overview of our conversation is provided below.

What exactly is brand loyalty?

The term “brand affinity” refers to the tendency for consumers to favour one brand above another. One indicator of brand affinity is when a consumer consistently chooses a certain product or service over others. A client may have a preference for a certain brand because of the product’s reliability, the friendliness of the staff, the convenience of its location, the company’s shared values, etc.

Ron stated it succinctly: brand loyalty is a medley of feelings. Consumers exhibit brand affinity when they have a strong emotional connection to your company and its products.

Why should companies put money into creating brand loyalty?

Because genuine attachment to a brand develops over time, this is crucial. Because of this, if you ever face adversity, your devoted audience will be there to support you through it. They will cheer you on, assist you get back on your feet, and spread the news if you do well. You can’t purchase that type of devotion, which is why successful firms put in the effort to foster consumer loyalty.

Christine made a good point in saying that word-of-mouth advertising is far more effective when people have a positive association with your business. As such, you can count on them to be there for you through the highs and lows. Only if your supporters truly care about you, like you, and trust you will that happen.

How can businesses increase brand loyalty and consumer identification?

Take care of your customers first. Customer satisfaction is also part of the equation. While we frequently discuss the need of responding to customers who leave unfavourable comments or reviews, we rarely discuss how to properly thank those who offer glowing testimonials. To succeed as a brand, you need to cater to both sorts of buyers. Acknowledging and thanking a regular client is often all that is needed to demonstrate appreciation for their patronage.

Janet gave some more great suggestions for retaining customers. Be true to yourself and be active on social media to interact with your target market. Just be yourself and try to connect with the individuals that interact with you. Loyalty from others will increase if you put an emphasis on them.

Can you recommend any strategies for establishing rapport on Twitter between brands and their target audiences?

Come out to show your support and aid, not to make a hard sell. Talk to people like you really do and they will appreciate it. Be sympathetic when dealing with irate clients, and appreciative when getting praise from happy ones.

As Madalyn pointed out, being physically there is a fantastic way to connect with your audience. Get in on Twitter discussions and threads on the social networking service Spaces. Pay attention to what others in your audience have to say, and then add something to the conversation with your own insights. Your participation in this activity benefits them by allowing them to learn more about you.

How can you attract the attention of a group that is otherwise disinterested?

Give attention to helping others and making connections. Make your brand’s voice versatile enough to publish in a one-to-many announcement format while still being able to hold one-on-one dialogues with your audience (one-to-one). For a business, this is a crucial quality, since it shows that you care about your customers while also building your credibility.

Do what our pals at GiveWP keep harping on: interact actively with your target demographic. If you can’t personally respond to everyone who tweets at you, at least indicate that you’re paying attention by favoriting and retweeting their tweets. Your audience won’t transform into a community overnight, but it will happen.

How can brand loyalty be restored after consumer trust has been broken?

The extent of the damage will determine the measures taken to lessen its effects, although there are always measures that may be taken. First and foremost, be honest in your interactions with your target audience. What happened was a mistake, and you should tell them that, and in straightforward terms, you’ll be taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Find out how your target audience feels about the occurrence, and then do something about it.

Don’t assume that you understand what your audience wants following a devastating occurrence, our pals at Social Media Pulse cautioned. Their opinion of your company has likely shifted since they first encountered it, so be sure to solicit their thoughts and opinions. Inquire as to what you may do to win back their confidence.

Is it acceptable for a company to alter its core beliefs in order to please a wider range of customers?

I guess that depends. It is appropriate to reframe a value statement if it is found to contain outmoded and negative ideals that were acceptable in a different period and place. Indeed, it’s beneficial to reconsider the brand’s mission and target audience. Our speaker warned us that compromising on core principles in order to steal a competitor’s consumers or stem a decline in sales is bad for business in the long run.

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