Branding encourages companies to focus on their inherent values and make them stand out in the marketplace. This is important for all businesses, especially those that want to enjoy brand loyalty from their consumers.
Having loyal customers gives brands a competitive advantage because they do not have to spend as much on marketing for new leads. The Role of Branding in Customer Loyalty will cover the following topics:
1. Brand Image
Brand loyalty is rooted in a consumer’s beliefs about a brand. These beliefs can be based on perceived quality, service or emotional connections. The more a consumer believes in your brand’s values, the more likely they will be to spend money on it again and recommend it to others.
Exceptional customer service is another key factor in creating brand loyalty. Providing your consumers with a user-friendly system to share feedback and complaints as well as a dedicated team of associates who respond to them promptly will help you build customer loyalty.
Loyal customers also have a steadfast belief in the quality of a product and are less price sensitive. Therefore, introducing too many promotions or cutting prices may dent the perception of your product’s quality and negatively impact your brand image. As a result, the loyalty of loyal customers is effected (Ogba & Rundle-Thiele, 2009).
2. Perceived Value
When customers decide on a brand they will stick with, perceived value plays a key role. This is the product’s perceived benefit versus its cost and can be based on many different factors. These can include convenience, utility, security, price and branding.
For budget-minded individuals, this is primarily dictated by your pricing but it can also be a result of quality and customer service. Brands that offer a good balance between all of these can create an overall positive perception for their customers, leading to loyalty.
Research has shown that high product perceived value correlates with a higher level of customer affective commitment and this in turn contributes to loyalty (Husain et al., 2022). This can help your business increase its customer base without incurring significant marketing costs. These loyal customers are also more likely to recommend your products or services to others, further helping your business grow. This translates into higher revenues for your company.
3. Switching Cost
It’s not enough to make a great product; you have to be able to keep customers loyal – even when competitors appear. High switching costs are a useful tool for this purpose.
Non-monetary switching costs include things like effort (for example, learning a new computer software) and perception (branding and status quo). They discourage consumers from moving to competitor products or services.
Examples of high switching costs include long wait times to cancel service, restrictive contracts that force customers to stay 18 months before they can leave, and difficulty in obtaining similar products from competing brands.
Companies that can create a system of interconnected products that create a ‘lock-in’ experience are also more likely to generate loyalty. The Apple Ecosystem is a great example. It combines the iPhone with Airpods, Macbook and an Apple Smartwatch so that buying one product automatically entitles you to loyalty rewards on all of them. This increases the perceived value of each individual product and creates a high switching cost.
4. Availability & Service
Customer loyalty is a powerful source of competitive advantage that can help businesses achieve growth and success. Loyal customers can reduce marketing costs, drive referral business, and are less likely to switch to competitors due to price increases or other factors.
However, relying too heavily on customer loyalty can have a negative impact on business performance. Over-reliance on customer loyalty can lead to complacency, and businesses may become less focused on new product development or market trends.
Developing brand loyalty requires that a company invest in providing personalized experiences and exceptional customer service. This can be expensive, but it is important to show that a business values its customers and is committed to meeting their needs. For example, providing a user-friendly system for submitting feedback and complaints, and responding to submissions quickly, can help to build loyalty and customer trust. This can also demonstrate that a business is genuinely interested in listening to its customers.