Why do we always go back to the same brands? What lies behind our loyalty to a given brand?
The answer, of course, is rooted in psychological, environmental and economic factors, but let’s take a look at how the brands themselves have managed to curate loyal followings, and how their brand message manifests itself physically, in the spaces they occupy.
To take a closer look, this post will analyse the following:
New generation, new media
The paradox of choice
NEW GENERATION, NEW MEDIA
It should come as no surprise that millennials have very different spending habits to those of the previous generation. Thanks to the influx in new ways to shop, millennials are always finding new ways to stock up on their favourite things. Naturally, that meansadvertisers and retailers have followed suit.
The Guardian point out that the rise in “uniformity of brand design across all channels and social media, which leads to credibility” means younger people connect in a new way with brands. This new medium through which brands and customers communicate, as illuminated in the piece, creates “deep, seamless and lasting connections between customer and brand.”
This hypothesis is echoed in Entrepreneur’s piece on how to Instill Brand Loyalty in Today’s Young Customers in which contributor Peter Gasca makes the following observation:
“Younger generations are mobile and social. If you want to reach them, your company needs to be as well. Television, while still a powerful and widely accepted advertising portal, is being phased out in favor of streaming and on-demand services.”
The brands that follow this advice would naturally accrue a more loyal following among younger generations, but also potentially those tech-savvy members of the older generation.
How do you garner trust in your brand amongst consumers?
A simple way would be to create good products. However, it’s not always that simple, and brands are about more than the product they provide. A key component seems to be forming an emotional bond with consumers.
The chances are the image above provokes an emotional response within you, something which has taken years to develop, but which is impossible to deny exist, nevertheless. Brand iconography helps this take hold.
However what’s even more likely is that you have fond memories of your experiences with these brands. That’s about more than a logo. With some brands, it goes all the way down to who a customer speaks to in the shop.
Jim Stengel, a former global marketing officer notes how Apple “hire empathetic people, and they don’t measure their sales associates on sales.” A positive experience in the shop with an Apple employee would inevitably foster good relations, a positive image and leave a more lasting impression on the customer.
IT’S MORE THAN JUST THE PRODUCT
THE PARADAX OF CHOICE
In Barry Schwartz’s TED Talk titled The Paradox of Choice he makes the following point, comparing a time with less choice to today (actually, 2005) where choice has come to signify great consumer freedom:
“The reason that everything was better back when everything was worse is that when everything was worse, it was actually possible for people to have experiences that were a pleasant surprise. Nowadays, the world we live in — we affluent, industrialised citizens, with perfection the expectation — the best you can ever hope for is that stuff is as good as you expect it to be.“
Since Schwartz made his TED talk in 2005, the market he was talking about has only grown and got bigger.
Choices are infinite. But is that a good thing?
We like coming back to the same brands for the same reason we go back to the same supermarket. Familiarity can be good andneedn’t mean same old, same old.
As Stuart Jeffries in The Guardian points out, “increased choice, then, can make us miserable because of regret, self-blame and opportunity costs.”
This is both good news and bad news. On one hand, it means retailers might have to begin reducing their product ranges. On the other, consumers have made them make that choice, which is good news, as it shows that retailers, along with brands, must adaptto meet the changing habits of consumers.
It also breeds brand loyalty, as naturally, with reduced choice consumers would returns to the same brands they have grown accustomed to.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
We are creatures of habit, but that isn’t an exact science.
That being said, our decision to rely on certain brands or products seems to suggest, along with external factors that come into play, we form delicate relationships with brands in a similar way to how we do with our fellow man.
This means brands must be careful to manage this relationship and not sabotage what could mean a consumer choosing another brand over theirs. And as we have gathered, being made to choose something else isn’t necessarily what the consumer wants.