Are we Seeing the Demise of Brand Loyalty?

In an age of choice and innovation, do customers still consider themselves loyal to brands? Here we explore whether our appetite for anything on trend or new is railroading our affiliation with brands.

Holden versus Ford, Coke versus Pepsi, Coles versus Woolies – these are some of the great rivalries where brand loyalists once aligned to a single camp.

But in 2019 we live in a connected world where we are the victims of too much choice and an addiction to newness. So what does this mean for your brand? Here we look at the statistics, what’s happening around the world and how it’s affecting brands.

Let’s talk numbers

Nielson recently released its findings into Brand Loyalty, confirming that customers are becoming increasingly disloyal. Globally, only 8% of consumers are loyal to the brands and products they’ve always bought.

Of those surveyed, 42% revealed they like to try new things, with purchase choice drivers motivated by value for money (28%) and price or promotion (32%). Superior quality / function (20%) along with ease / convenience (20%) were the largest success drivers to shape selection behaviour.

How it’s affecting brands

Back to our Holden versus Ford analogy and you only have to look at the Australian car industry to see how customers can easily fall out of love with your brand. At its peak in 1960 Holden enjoyed a 30% market share. By 2018 they accounted for only 5% of all vehicles sold in Australia. How did this happen and what can we learn as marketers?

It’s important to keep up to date with your customer’s needs and how the market is evolving. In Holden’s case they didn’t respond to the market or the competition, thinking things would swing back in favour of the once-loved Commodore. However, Australian tastes had changed and the emotional connection to the brand had wavered.

How to market in an age of disloyalty?

Don’t get too comfy – your brand needs to stay relevant otherwise you will find yourself in a Kodak moment. Stay on the pulse of the latest trends, engage with your customers, listen to their needs and be willing to adapt if required. Brand loyalty is linked to psychological needs and emotional triggers, and some of the best brands have found success because they have built a community or they provide a great customer experience.

If only 8% of global customers consider themselves brand loyal, then as a brand you need to think bigger so that you appeal to a larger pool of your customers. Consider focusing on customer retention strategies (onboarding, loyalty schemes, feedback loops, personalised communications), product/service extensions or new products. It’s also important to stay in tune with innovation and to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.

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