I always get my oil changed at Midas. Why Midas? Because they always do a good job. They offer an oil change for $24.95 plus tax. They get it done in less than 30 minutes, put air in my tires, and even top off my window washer fluid. I know a lot of the workers there and like them. They are always friendly, professional, and know what they’re doing. Several months ago, I went to a competitor to get new front tires, but I was disappointed with the service. They didn’t have the same professionalism and courtesy that Midas had so I never went back. From the time I was in college and just got my first car until now, Midas has been my go-to for any maintenance or repairs on my car. This is an example of ‘brand loyalty’.
Brand loyalty is defined as ‘the tendency of some consumers to continue buying the same brand of goods rather than competing brands.’ We see this every day in the market. Ask anyone ‘Coke or Pepsi?’ and they are sure to have an answer. Are the products really that different? No. But some people might get angry if you say that they taste the same or that you have a different opinion on which one is better. Sports teams are the same way. Because I grew up in New York, I know a LOT of Buffalo Bills and New York Yankees fans. They will stick with the team no matter what and trash talk their rivals any chance they get.
Think about your favorite brands. There is always a reason why you keep going back to that specific product or service rather than the competitor. For Midas it was a combination of price, service, and their little competitive advantages. In my eyes, no one can offer me anything better. I like their logo, their slogan ‘Trust the Midas touch’, and the layout of their shops. I drink Coke over Pepsi because I connect with them more. To me, Coke is the ‘OG’ of soft drinks and I like their branding. I think about those cute commercials with the polar bears. Those little factors can turn someone into a loyal customer. For sport teams, you often feel a connection because of where they play or the players themselves. If you grew up in a city with a professional team then it’s hard not to feel a connection. You see their logo everywhere, billboards advertising season tickets or star players, and you may even drive by their stadium on your way to work.
The key to brand loyalty is that personal connection. Every interaction with your customers, or ‘touch point’, is important. The most basic but crucial touch points are first impressions. This includes your brand’s name, logo, and slogan. These should be on all your marketing materials to reinforce, both for potential customers and return customers, what your brand is and what you stand for. It should be short and concise, don’t leave any guessing games on the table. You want your customers to feel like you are speaking directly to them. People want to feel important and appreciated. If you deliver great value and can speak to customers on a personal level, they will come back for more.
You also want to have values that your customer either shares or respects. Coca-Cola made a Super Bowl commercial a few years back showing people from around the world all drinking Coke. Different races, cultures, and ethnic groups. This commercial showed unity and reinforced the message that Coca-Cola is a global brand that everyone drinks and enjoys. Their other commercials often show groups of friends, families, and couples eating together or having a night out. Everyone is smiling and having fun. What are they drinking? Coke. They are sending the message that Coke is happiness, because people drink Coke when they are having fun or with people they love.
Brands don’t have to associate their product with love or happiness. Some want to convey toughness, sophistication, or any other value that customers share with you. It is all about knowing what your customers want. Lincoln has commercials with Matthew Mcconaughey that show a combination of ruggedness, sophistication, and luxury. Their target audience wants all of those attributes and wants to be like Matthew Mcconaughey. These commercials send the message that you can be as cool as him if you buy a Lincoln. Marketers do this in a clever way and create that association, or connection, whenever a customer interacts at a touch point.