In the pre-industrial days, people were loyal to whichever brands were of the best quality. Quality things that were built to last were probably a little harder to come by, so when people found something that worked as advertised and lasted as long as you needed it to, that becomes their brand for life.
Then, around the second world war, quality improved across the board. The creativity of assembly lines and marketing departments played a huge role in that development. This is when we started to see things like jingles, contests, and soap operas. Whatever brands could do to safeguard their market share and create loyal customers, they did.
But then, something shifted. People started getting whatever they wanted at the tip of their fingers. Since everything was basically decent quality, people paid much less attention to brands and much more attention to the way those brands conducted business. These days, brand loyalty is evolving into customer loyalty.
You Can Buy Anything You Want Online At The Lowest Possible Price
The incentive for buying the same thing every week at the grocery store is gone. Well, you don’t even have to go to the store anymore. Most Americans can get anything they want delivered right to their homes.
This has opened many markets to newcomers. One can easily get his product in front of tons of customers, thanks to the internet.
Business Practices Matter More Than Ever
Customers want to do business with a company that treats its employees well, cares about the environment, and has excellent customer service practices. Many customers say they retract their loyalty much more quickly these days.
With 29 loyalty program memberships per household in the United States, it is clear many are getting burned out on loyalty programs as well. More than half have switched brands in the last year and 23% say they have a negative reaction to being enrolled in another loyalty program.
Customer service and good business practices matter much more than loyalty programs in the present times.
Customer Service Is Your Company’s Secret Sauce
Millennials are the largest and most diverse generation in American history and they are changing things up. They say that they are still brand loyal and they report using many of the same products as their parents. However, they are more likely to switch brands for reasons of poor customer service and bad business practices. What’s more, their parents are more likely to follow them out the door.
Here are the numbers:
78% of Millennials say brands will need to work harder to earn and keep their loyalty
64% of Millennials say they are more brand loyal than their parents
63% of Millennials report using the same brands as their parents
59% of Millennials are loyal to mobile phone providers
56% of Millennials are loyal to clothing brands
39% of Millennials are loyal to health and beauty products
32% of Millennials will switch brands if the company is revealed to have poor business practices
37% of Millennials will try a new brand when it comes out
38% of Millennials will switch brands because of a personal recommendation
Having good business practices and empowering customer service representatives to make customers happy and staying on the cutting edge of product development are going to be the best ways to keep your customers coming back.
The New Brand Loyalty Is Customer Loyalty
Customers hold all the cards in this new era of brand loyalty. Because of buying power and access, customers can easily take their business elsewhere. This means that companies have no choice but to give the customers what they want.
The best companies are the ones that listen to what customers want instead of telling them what they will get. These companies interact with customers online when customers want to interact, instead of constantly pushing out unwanted and uninteresting social media posts. The best brands are constantly improving their products instead of constantly putting out the same old thing. This is very good for consumers who basically have their pick of which companies to do business with based on their own criteria.
Learn more about the new brand loyalty from this infographic.
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.