In yesterday’s post we investigated how, from the point of company formation, businesses should endeavour to find out as much information as possible about what their customers want. However, demographic profiling and research is only one dimension of a successful customer loyalty strategy. The other crucial aspect is building brand vales. As we have already discussed today’s consumer demands more than price satisfaction, they want to have a personal relationship with a brand that they can relate to ethically. In today’s post we consider the importance of brand value.
In the current context of uncertainty consumer’s move towards brands that offer reassurance and integrity. This provides a very useful platform for the small business owner, they are able to present their brand as an anecdote to large, faceless corporations and develop a personal relationship with their consumer base.
According to Jack Walker, of Walker Brand Consultants, recent consumer behaviour studies indicate that sharing a common set of ethical values is one of the key drivers of customer loyalty;
“Consumers are increasingly gravitating towards brand’s which have a clear set of ethical and social values.” However, warns Walker “if you are basing your brand identity on ethical values, you better make sure that you stick to them. Trust is a main factor of customer loyalty and if your brand appears to have misled its consumers, it could have disastrous consequences.”
Similarly, brands without a clear identity or set of values risk confusing their customers, or even worst, appearing shallow and transient.
Product and proposition
We have discussed the many opportunities the decline of the advertising industry offers the SME sector on many occasions. However, if your company’s product and proposition is not right, all the advertising in the world won’t help you inspire customer loyalty.
Make sure your product is right, your customer service is good and your brand is responsive to changing market conditions. A customer raving about an excellent brand experience to other people is worth hundreds of column inches.
Report and review
Mark Bateman, founder of online gardening website Green Fingers, recognised that regardless of the fact that his businesses had invested significantly in advertising; they had a poor customer retention rate. As a result of this he has implemented a customer loyalty card. This card not only gives him access to demographic information, it also provides him with details of every item each customer buys and allows him to market to them in a bespoke and more effective way.
Bateman says “ We now have unrivalled knowledge of what customers in our sector want, we know who they are, what they buy and what form of communication they respond to . As a result, we can quantify our marketing spend and increase profitability.”