What Is Brand Loyalty?

Brand loyalty is the positive association consumers attach to a particular product, demonstrated by their repeat purchases of it even when given choices of competing alternatives. To marketing professionals, getting and maintaining brand loyalty for an established product are the ultimate achievements.

Key Takeaways

  • Brand loyalty is demonstrated by repeat purchases of a product even when the consumer has choices of competing alternatives.
  • Marketing campaigns are designed to nurture brand loyalty.
  • Brand loyalty can evaporate when consumer trends change, but the product doesn't.

How Brand Loyalty Works

Most established brand name products exist in a highly competitive market overwhelmed with new and old competing products, many of them barely distinguishable. Loyal customers are the ones who will purchase a brand regardless of convenience or price. They have found a product that meets their needs. They aren't interested in experimenting with another brand.

Companies employ many tactics to create and keep that brand loyalty. Marketing departments follow consumer buying trends closely and work to build relationships with their customers through active customer service. They spend their advertising budgets on messages targeted at the segment of the market that includes their loyal customers and like-minded people who could become loyal customers.

A brand loyalty campaign is most successful when it addresses the attributes that are crucial to its segment of the market. A Subaru will keep your kids safe. A Lincoln will make you as cool as Mathew McConaughey.

Special Considerations for Brand Loyalty 

Consumer trends are the habits and behaviors exhibited by consumers regularly and over time. Some trends are static, but most evolve over time. Companies collect and analyze data on customer spending habits to better understand how to market their product.

Marketers track changes in trends and create a corresponding marketing campaign to help the company acquire and keep the brand's loyal customers.

When a company ignores consumer trends, they lose brand-loyal customers.

Companies hire brand ambassadors to be spokespersons for their products. Brand ambassadors are chosen for their appeal to the target market. They can be an effective way of disseminating positive word of mouth. 

How to Lose Brand Loyalty

Continuous monitoring and research are needed to measure the utility of products and identify modifications that will offer additional consumer benefits and increase brand loyalty. When a company ignores consumer trends, they forfeit potential profits, erode their market share, and lose brand-loyal customers.

Many giant companies which once had a monopolistic advantage, such as Blockbuster, failed because their product was misaligned with their customers' changing needs. To assume that a product will always meet the needs of the consumers is a certainty for failure.  

Brand Loyalty and the Internet

Before the Internet, the most common way to build brand loyalty was through the interaction of a salesperson and a customer. Today, the Internet provides access to thousands of consumer products and services without the salesperson as the intermediary. Consumers, empowered to conduct independent research and compare competitors' offerings, make informed choices and are less committed to specific brands.

These days, marketers are challenged to find new ways to communicate over the Internet.