What Drives Brand Loyalty?

By Jason O’Brien, Chief Operating Officer of Tollfreeforwarding.com

A key goal for any business is brand loyalty. While one-off sales are always positive, it’s a loyal customer base and repeat business that truly sets a brand up for success. But when it comes to capturing and maintaining consumer loyalty, what should brands consider?

A recent survey by telecommunications company TollFreeForwarding.com spoke to 2,000 American consumers to pinpoint exactly what it is that drives brand loyalty, and what consumers are looking for when it comes to marketing efforts from a brand.

Personalization is vital in communications

Firstly, it was found that personalization could be key when it comes to building a loyal customer base. From email to social media, in this online age brands can communicate with their customer base freely through various marketing efforts, and it is these marketing efforts that can help capture an engaged, loyal audience.

Three-quarters of US consumers said they want the marketing they receive from brands to be personalized to them, with a further half of consumers saying they want the brands they use to feel like a best friend. For many, this is a make-or-break condition: 44% said they’d switch brands if they felt a brand didn’t know them.

Great products and competitive prices are no longer enough – consumers want a full experience when buying from a brand. When it comes to online, consumers want to feel like they’re dealing with real people and personalities rather than just a computer interface. Creating human experiences for consumers is vital, as is understanding your customer base and how to speak to them through your marketing.

This need to understand exactly who your customers are and how they want to be marketed to was further reflected in the survey results, which found clear differences between age and gender when it comes to the kind of marketing people prefer to receive. Men are twice as likely as women to want ‘very personalized’ communications from a brand, with a further 62% of men saying they want the brands they use to feel like a best friend, compared to only 38% of women who said the same. Age comes into play too: 46% and 56% of Gen Z and millennials respectively want brands to feel like a best friend, compared to less than 1 in 10 (8%) of those aged 55+. So, assessing your audience and understanding how they want to be communicated with before you begin marketing to them is a must.

Consumers care about brand ethics

As well as a push for a more personalized marketing experience, it is also apparent that brand ethics and values are increasingly important to consumers. For consumers in 2021, the survey found that a company supporting workers’ rights, being environmentally responsible, and being against animal testing were all key drivers when it comes to improving loyalty to a brand.

Consumers don’t just want brands to know them – they also want to know the brand and what they stand for. If a brand’s values align with their own, consumers are far more likely to be loyal and will even spend more money; the survey found people would pay up to 34% more on a product to support a brand that aligns with their own personal ethics and values.

Taking a strong moral stance is a must in this day and age. A brand should have a clear identity and stand up for causes they believe in. This not only makes the brand more human and engaging but can drive a stronger sense of loyalty across an ethically aligned customer base.

How can you capture brand loyalty?

While excellent customer service and competitive pricing will always be important when it comes to driving business, brands need to consider the long-term and strive to create a loyal customer base that will return time and time again.

This can be done by humanizing your brand. Learn who your audience is – how do they want to be spoken to, and what world issues are important to them? Ensure you’re communicating to consumers successfully and that you’re aligning with them when it comes to ethics and values. This, combined with great products and service, is the key to a long-term, loyal consumer base.

Jason O’Brien is Chief Operating Officer of Tollfreeforwarding.com, providing U.S. Toll Free numbers to 25,000 customers spanning 125 countries worldwide. Jason earned his B.A. in Information Systems from the University of Redlands, and has a background as a software developer and as a business consultant.