Smaller brands win loyalty

It is time (high time) for big brands to see what the 'small' brands do differently. Established names are losing customers to a growing collection of challenger brands. Challenger brands are small brands that compete with the big boys. These brands are finding new ways to compete faster and sooner.

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Small brands understand the definition of loyalty

According to reports from Catalina The market share of the major brands in 14 product categories was lost. 9 of the 10 biggest Consumer Packaging Goods brands have experienced these declines. It is clear that big brands need to re-evaluate how they can maintain their lead. 

The essential elements for creating loyalty have not changed: delivering a high quality product or service at a fair price, delivering brand promise, the best customer service and demonstrating ethics and reliability. The fact is that the aforementioned elements are no longer the driving force of loyalty, not even in the future. The smaller brands understand this.

Small brands understand that marketers need to replace the word 'retention' with 'relationship'. Emotional connection is central to creating meaningful relationships with consumers and ensures loyalty. Harvard Business Review discovered that in a lifelong relationship, emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as very satisfied customers.

Relationships with consumers have the same principles as any personal or professional relationship: trust, authenticity, reliability, personality, empathy and openness to feedback. Marketers should apply the same qualities to their relationship with consumers.

Emotional connection is central to creating meaningful relationships with consumers and ensures loyalty.

Here are three things big brands can learn from the little boys.

No personalized ads

Create personalized experiences

Nobody wants to be in a relationship where they get nothing back all the time. Marketers should use the data they collect from consumers to offer something relevant. Have you found out that a consumer is a fitness fanatic? Deliver a piece of content that is tailored to healthy living. Do you know the geographical location of your customers? Invite them to a local event or ask them to be open to participation in the future. Do you find a number of consumers with graphic design talent? Ask them to provide input on some new packaging concepts.

Don't be afraid to ask your consumers questions that go beyond traditional marketing-oriented segments such as age and gender. Discover who your consumer is as a human being and you will be much more powerful and effective in getting attention. Data can be collected through surveys, opinion polls or profile registrations. Personalized experiences ensure that the consumer feels understood by the brand.

Day traditional loyalty programs

Traditional loyalty programmes almost exclusively support a transactional relationship with the consumer. Scores, levels and rewards are analyzed. It's not working. Small brands know that customer loyalty is much easier (note that simply is not the same as 'easy').

When devising a loyalty programme, the value proposition should not be determined by the transactional nature of the relationship. The main advantage shouldn't be to get rewards. Rewards should complement the brand's overall message about what the organisation stands for and why someone should care about it.

Consumer relations?

Build a community to promote it

Creating a community around a brand, for many marketers, stops with an email subscriber list or social media followers. Unfortunately, these channels are limited and marketers often stick to one-way paid communications technology. A brand community must be its own goal, dotted with the brand's core values that create personal engagement before, during and after the sale.

When customers have a shared appreciation for the brand, a collective identity is created. The feeling of connection creates a higher customer loyalty.

Loyalty still exists, but it changes and demands a shift in the minds of marketers. At a time when consumers have unprecedented choices, brand loyalty is very important. Quality and service are still the basis for repeat purchases, but emotional connections and brand relationships ensure loyal customers.

Source article: Adweek by Susan Frech, Co-founder and CEO of Social Media Link.