Improving Customer Loyalty Through Brand Values | Our commercial climate has undergone some significant developments over the last couple of decades. The rise of our tech age has provided more access to resources and connections to global consumers. While this has been beneficial for entrepreneurs, it also means that there is greater competition for almost any sector you choose to enter. As such, maintaining customer loyalty has become a top priority.
However, it is also true that encouraging loyalty among customers depends on more than just having a good product or service. Consumers increasingly expect the companies they support to both have a strong set of values, and that these values reflect their own ethical, social, and environmental commitments. This means that your brand values need to be front and center of everything that you do.
Knowing that your values need to be prominent is one thing, how to execute this practically can be quite another. So, we’re going to take a closer look at where you can place focus on values in a way that can affect customer loyalty.
Know Your Demographic
While it’s vital to understand the role that brand values play in loyalty, it’s just as important how this relates to your demographic. Perhaps most notably, what elements are valued and how they are expected to be applied by businesses can vary from between generations. You are already likely to be building personas for your target audience; use these to also raise your awareness as to how you can make connections with your consumers.
Some aspects for each generation include:
- Baby Boomers
Boomers place a high premium upon trust, and want products and brands that improve their lives. While many embrace technology, there is still a preference for the traditional, and they place a premium on their security.
- Generation X
Wedged between the older and younger generations, they are more tech-savvy than Boomers but are more family-oriented than younger generations. They value personalized approaches to business, yet are security conscious. Gen Xers prefer businesses that are straightforward and communicate honestly with them.
- Millennials and Generation Z
These generations are the first digital natives, and place value on most tools and practices that are innovative and support exploring the advantages of the digital landscape. They value financial stability, as most came of age during the 2008 recession. Their concept of family differs from older generations, in that their friends play as big, if not bigger roles in their lives than relatives. Millennials and Gen Z both want brands that take social and environmental action.
This doesn’t mean to say that you should shift your values to simply reflect what the key generation you’re pitching to prioritizes. Rather, it’s about taking steps that show that you are paying attention to what values you both share, and wish to strengthen your emotional bond. Listen carefully to what matters most to the generation you’re appealing to — not just from research analysis, but the stories they have to tell which inform what they appreciate in relationships. Recognize how their priorities give you insights into their commercial and emotional needs, and adapt your approach to servicing these.
A lack of authentic values has been a particular issue when it comes to environmental practices, through the use of Greenwashing. This is when a business claims that their products are ecologically friendly, often using buzzwords in their marketing such as “organic”, “natural”, or “pure” to give the impression of sustainability. The products in general are nothing of the sort, however. These companies use this generic language, if not outright dishonesty, to capitalize on the demand for environmentally conscious businesses. When businesses are revealed to be greenwashing, this severely damages the trust bonds.
This means that not only should you be acting authentically behind the scenes, you should also be making it easy for the public to see that’s what you’re doing. Make transparency a primary part of your brand approach. Provide behind-the-scenes videos of operations, and honest interviews with staff members of all levels regarding the application of your values. Use your website, social channels, and marketing materials to talk about not just what efforts you’re making to embody your values, but also where you feel you’re falling down. When issues occur, don’t try and conceal them, but be open and accountable.
Embrace the Community
One of the most important things to remember when using brand values to improve customer loyalty, is you have to make it more than just about the business. Your values don’t just affect how your business functions, they affect your relationships with customers, your place in your local community, and your effect upon the world around you. As such, you need to use your values to emphasize a sense of community and strengthen your connections with your consumers.
It’s interesting to note that a recent report found that 88% of consumers want to engage with brands that help them to live more sustainably. Therefore, you should be reaching out to customers with marketing that reflects this. Provide them with options for coupons and advertisements that don’t require paper or put pressure on finite materials. Engage in dialogues with them using social media channels or emails about how your products can be used with the most environmentally and ethically conscious behavior in mind — what elements can be recycled, how can they reduce wastage?
Perhaps most importantly, seek to discover what the challenges of the communities you serve are. Engage with local projects that reflect the values that your business prioritizes. Don’t just provide funds or sponsorship — in fact, any kind of advertising comes across as insincere in this regard. Provide professional resources, give employees opportunities to engage with them on company time. These efforts travel by word of mouth and help to build genuine trust with your consumers that translates into long-term loyalty.
Customer loyalty needs to be based on more than your services. Your values help to inform the purchasing decisions of all generations of consumers. Take time to understand what’s important to your consumers, and use this knowledge to make meaningful changes to your marketing and operations. An authentic approach to this can help you make gains in the retention of your consumer base.