Creating a brand loyal audience was never as difficult a task as it is now. The rise of digital has put customers in the driving seat and the economic turbulence has made them much more prudent.
For marketers to cope with the double whammy is an uphill task.
However, the discerning consumer will continue to seek brands that provide not only the best product and value offers but also the best for customer satisfaction. He will continuously evaluate how your company and your staff value them, as well as the level of customer care and personalisation you offer, according to Chang Seng Hock, deputy director of consumer marketing at Sony Southeast Asia.
“If the perceived value exceeds their expectations, your brand will be duly rewarded by positive word of mouth, customer loyalty and hopefully retention,” he says.
Brand loyalty is far from being dead, according to Luca Deplano (pictured) is VP, marketing of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts who adds that loyalty is a fundamental human trait.
“Loyalty to family, country, ideals, and increasingly brands, defines our modern identity. Generation Y is fiercely loyal to their friends, to their music, to their tribe,” he says.
So how do brands build loyalty in today’s world where consumers have almost infinite choices?
“Consumers offer loyalty only to organisations which share their own values and set of beliefs. Only companies which are ready to fully open up to this kind of external scrutiny will build true, long lasting loyalty with consumers,” Deplano says adding that the role of marketing will therefore be as internal as it is external.
“A brand that does not align the brand positioning to the value of the organisation will be short lived in this brave new world.”
While on one hand digital has allowed customers to freely express their opinions, it has also offered marketers a wealth of data to leverage. “The trick is knowing which data provide the most analysis value,” Nik Laming senior vice president, Asia Pacific, Aimia says.
According to Laming, forward-thinking companies will deliver “data-rich, experience-based, channel-integrated programs” and these tactics will move loyalty from “transaction-oriented, one-dimensional campaigns” to strategies that actively encourage interactions through invitations to comment on product improvement, personalised rewards, and gaming mechanisms.