How brands thrive through connection to drive long term brand loyalty
Welcome to the era of Social Commerce.
The Social Commerce landscape has become an integral part of our lives. It has revolutionised the way we connect, communicate, and consume information. It has made us all creators.
We all have our own ways to connect with circles of people. We each hold the power to shape trends. We fuel sales through our own experiences and influential recommendations.
It is where word-of-mouth and Advocacy is paramount for brands to build deep connections with consumers.
In a Nielsen ‘Global Trust in Advertising report’, it was found that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations – making it a remarkably trust-rich form of marketing.
Yet, when it comes to driving Brand Advocacy and building brand loyalty, brands are lazy.
There are currently too many examples of brands not getting this right. They are failing to understand the true nature of Social Commerce. They have become comfortable with buying customers. And, as many brands are experiencing, that approach is no longer sustainable.
Table of contents
- Why is building connections so important
- How to build connections
- Tried-and-tested methods to build connections
- The impact of connection
- Connection 101
Why is building connections so important?
It's not enough to capture fleeting attention.
Historically, the relationship between consumers and brands was more transactional and direct. But, the age of passive consumerism is over. To stand out and thrive, brands must forge deep, lasting connections.
Creating deep connections with customers goes beyond mere transactions. Connections become the bedrock of brand loyalty.
When a brand establishes an emotional connection and understands its customers' needs, they deliver remarkable experiences. This forms a bond that transcends price and convenience.
It's this bond that creates long-term brand loyalty. It fosters a sense of trust, belonging, and Advocacy among customers. A report from Motista found that 71% of customers recommend a brand based on their emotional connection to it and emotionally connected customers are likely to spend double with their favourite brands.
Then, by nurturing these connections, brands cultivate a devoted community. That community becomes their greatest asset – driving repeat purchases, positive word-of-mouth, and long-term success.
How to build connections
To establish a real connection to drive long-term loyalty, brands must step into the shoes of their consumers.
Think about it. Why would anyone want another generic email that fails to cater to their interests or passions? How does a £10 voucher, after spending a fortune on a brand's products already, help? Why would 10% off a product they didn’t want make anyone feel valued?
Over the last few years, marketers have focused on “collecting” social media followers. Whereas, they should have found ways to connect with them. Simply put, most brands don’t do the simple things, ask questions – they assume they know what their consumer wants.
This is where they go wrong.
Building connections requires breaking away from traditional methods. Brands must engage, ask the questions they want answers to, seek feedback, and gather ideas from their community.
When was the last time you engaged with a customer? How well do you know your consumers? Have you ever picked up the phone and had a conversation?
People don’t base their loyalty on price and product; it’s rooted in the experience they receive. Marketers train to focus on sales and scaling, but the more they understand their consumers, the better marketers they become.
It's time to ask these important questions and learn from them.
Brands must go beyond one-way transactional relationships.
Tried-and-trusted methods for building connection
1. Start conversations. If brands show a genuine interest in understanding their customers' needs, preferences, and pain points, they bring the customer into the conversation about their brand.
This is done through channels such as social media, email surveys, dedicated customer feedback portals or simply, by picking up the phone. By listening to customers, brands gain valuable insights that can inform product development, service enhancements, and brand strategy.
2. Seek feedback. Brands should create opportunities for customers to share their opinions, experiences, and suggestions. The key here is to ask emotive questions. ‘How do you feel when shopping with us?’. ‘How does our product fit into your day-to-day life?’. Whether it's through post-purchase surveys, online reviews, feedback forms, or dedicated loyalty programmes, providing an avenue for customers to express themselves fosters a sense of inclusivity and shows that their voices are valued.
Not only can brands identify who their customers are, they can find out what they want. Not just from the product, but the experience around it too. Ask them to vote on collections, products and share feedback.
By acting on customer feedback, brands show a commitment to continuous improvement and customer-centricity. This strengthens the bond with their audience furthermore.
3. Get ideas. Tap into the creative potential of customers by seeking their ideas. Host contests, challenges, or brainstorming sessions where customers can contribute their ideas and suggestions.
This not only empowers them, but also showcases a brand's willingness to co-create. By involving customers in ideation, it leaves them feeling like valued partners in shaping a brand's future.
The impact of connection
In a cookieless world, data becomes king.
The answers to these questions, the ideas and feedback garnered, is key to future success. Armed with this knowledge, brands can innovate. They adapt with the times, and create products their customers want and need.
The more data you have, the more you know. The more you know, the more personalised you can become. The more personalised you get, the more remarkable the experiences you can provide.
From those personalised experiences comes trust, credibility, innovation, Brand Advocacy and a totally enhanced customer lifetime value. Deep connections with consumers empowers brands with these competitive advantages. 81% emotionally connected consumers promote brands to their closest circles and spend more.
It all starts with forging those meaningful relationships.
- Engage with your customers. Listen to what they have to say. Become an active participant in conversations about your brand.
- Collect valuable feedback from consumers.
- Excel at building and leveraging connections to foster innovation.
- Make your brand a constant presence in their lives.
- Give them something remarkable to talk about, always focused on providing value.
Growth in 2023 hinges on your obsession with winning and retaining customers.
Learn from them, understand their needs, and motivate them to refer your brand to others. Everything you do should be value driven.
Whenever possible, add personalised touches to strengthen relationships that go beyond transactions.
Give them something extraordinary to connect to.