What Drives Customer Loyalty?

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Pamela Bath

cardpaymentWhat influences your choice to support Chelsea, to buy Renault cars, to drink Tetley tea, to shop at Sainsbury’s? Pamela Bath of award-winning CRM agency The Blueberry Wave explores the elements which inform our choices in seeking out – and being loyal to – a brand.

If you strip the concept of loyalty down to its bare roots, it becomes clear that the way people interact with brands is wildly different according to the various dimensions of their life.

An individual’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviours, how they’re influenced by peer groups, their socialisation, their education, their life experiences and how they want to be perceived are all hugely influential factors in shaping how someone selects and interacts with brands.

Therefore, if we understand people’s internal belief systems we should also be able to understand what’s influencing their consumer choices, and more accurately tap into their needs to create true, ingrained loyalty.

  • So is loyalty derived from cause or effect?
  • Do your beliefs affect your attitude to loyalty or is loyalty an outcome of your rational priorities?

You could be hugely loyal to John Lewis, for instance, because you like the level of customer experience, the perceived value for money and the type of goods available; but it doesn’t actually matter to you whether you buy these goods from John Lewis or anywhere else.

It could be argued that there’s no sense in loyalty if it doesn’t deliver to the bottom line; therefore, brands need to reach consumers as early in their lives as possible to create buying habits – that’s why most advertising is aimed at young people. Whilst there’s nothing commercially wrong with that theory, consumers are beginning to want more.

That’s where personalisation becomes vital; treating the customer as an individual, recognising their unique behaviours, and ultimately making them feel happy with themselves, all comes back to a brand’s ability to understand – and appeal to – the human psyche.

Increasingly, brands are seeking specialist support from companies like Blueberry Wave who can act as anthropologists and actually interpret their consumer’s behaviours, needs and desires, enabling brands to think over and above the virtual parapet of in-aisle discounts and short-term points schemes, and ultimately forge a better relationship with the people who buy their products.

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