Brand Loyalty Doesn't Exist, Marketers Should Aim For This Instead
Updated: Feb 16
One of the biggest fallacies in not only marketing -- but in business, is the phrase, ''Brand Loyalty.'' Despite what many marketers and executives may lead you to believe, brand loyalty does not exist. And if it does, it’s probably in the Appalachian Mountains with Bigfoot during weekdays and with the Loch Ness Monster on the weekend.
I don’t blame my fellow marketers and execs for feeding the fallacy to the public. Most of them that I’ve come across actually believe that brand loyalty exists. And they spend a great deal of their time -- and their company’s budget trying to attain it every chance they get.
The reason that brand loyalty doesn’t exist is because consumers aren’t as faithful as most marketers believe that they are. Consumers are only loyal to what makes them feel good at the moment. And the moment that a brand no longer gives the consumer that good feeling, or the brand is no longer perceived as ‘cool’ -- they’ll find another brand that resonates with them and will give them what they’re looking for. Where’s the loyalty in that?
Instead of chasing the myth known as brand loyalty, brands should aim for the following consumer behavior instead.
Customers That Are “Currently Committed”
Now that we’ve established that brand loyalty is only a myth. And that consumers only care about what makes them feel good at the moment. You can now set a goal for the best consumer behavior you can achieve from your customers. And at the very top of that list is to have customers that are “currently committed” to your brand.
Customers that are currently committed to a brand is the closest thing to brand loyalty that any company could realistically hope for.
That’s because as long as long as they’re committed, those customers will exhibit the same behavior as a consumer that is perceived as loyal. Which means they’ll consistently patronize the brand as long as the brand is giving them what they want, either through value -- or through relevancy.
The key word in “currently committed” is “currently.” Always remember that consumer commitment is contingent on how your brand makes the consumer feel at the moment. Another brand can pop up tomorrow that could cause consumers to feel differently about your brand.
By keeping the word "currently’’ top-of-mind -- you will not take consumer commitment for granted by assuming that consumers will always remain committed to your brand. Which in turn, will keep you constantly searching for ways to secure committed consumers.
While customers that are currently committed should be the goal for every brand. The next best thing that any brand could hope for is to have a plethora of brand advocates. Brand advocates are people that speak highly of a brand to others -- even if they’re not consistently patronizing the brand themselves.
Brand advocates (also known as Brand Evangelists) are great because they’re like an unofficial spokesperson for your brand.
And since word-of-mouth and influencer marketing are the most efficient forms of marketing -- brand advocates are a blessing for any business. They’re the ones that will go online and give your brand rave reviews. They’ll also tell their friends and family how great your brand is...which is free advertising.
I’m sure by now you’re probably thinking, “Why isn’t just having ordinary customers enough for a brand?” Sure, you could have a successful business by just having ordinary customers. But why just be successful when you can build a super brand? And super brands have customers that are involved and emotionally invested in the survival and advancement of the brand.
Involved customers are customers that open most emails you send them and reply from time to time. They contact your corporate office if your brand's quality starts to fall off. They reach out to your managers on social media. They care just enough about a brand that they’ll give you suggestions on how to fix a problem before they totally abandon your brand.
Involved customers help reduce churn rate because they’ll tell you about problems from a consumer perspective that your brand’s managers may not be aware of themselves.
Although brand loyalty is a fable, a brand could still have customers that are committed, advocates, and involved. The way for a brand to acquire those types of customers is by understanding them and realizing their likes and dislikes and providing the benefits they desire.
The best way to do that is by constantly communicating with your customers and supplying their demand while also making sure that your brand makes them feel good in multiple ways. And if your brand consistently makes customers feel better than your competitors can, they’ll remain committed -- which is the closest thing to loyalty that any brand could ask for.