Let’s all be honest for a second we don’t actually think Starbucks coffee tastes like heaven in a cup, nor do we really think Coca-Cola tastes worlds apart from its arch rival Pepsi. We shop and consume these brands because it’s a habit, because it would be scandalous to even consider switching brands and most importantly because these are the brands that help shape our identity.
Some suggest that in the 21st century we, as consumers, are becoming less brand loyal and more brand promiscuous. Whilst we all know this to be true for the big four supermarkets, we think that the underlying need to attach oneself to a brand is still alive and well. After all, 44% of millennials say they are loyal to the brands they buy. The thing that is less clear is what these brands are doing to gain our love and affection and keep us coming back?
The benefits of brand loyalty are easy to see. ‘Fully engaged’ customers deliver a 23% premium over normal customers whilst the likelihood of a customer recommending a brand to a friend seriously increases depending on how loyal they are. This being said, let’s have a look at the top brands who have perfected the art of brand loyalty and what they can teach us.
Starbucks and the case of feeling welcome
Why are we so willing to pay £3 plus for a cup of coffee? If you think the answer is that Starbucks coffee tastes that amazing, that we just have to drink it no matter what the price, you’re wrong. Although the products Starbucks sell are food & drink, what they’re really selling is the experience; whether it’s 8am rush hour on a summer’s day or mid-afternoon deep winter, customers know that they can walk into their nearest Starbucks and receive a warm welcome and their favourite beverage.
Dominos and the case of brand identity
Here’s another one, you can’t tell us that people everywhere pay the premium price for a pepperoni pizza because it tastes better than all the rest? Whether people will admit it or not, buying and consuming Domino’s pizza helps to shape your identity. Dominos is cool and hip – instagramming a picture of your Dominos will let your nearest and dearest know that you’re the type of person that eats it. The lesson to be learned here isn’t straightforward, what we suggest is ensuring that you know your target market inside out and that you embody their values and beliefs at all times- this should give you a good head start.
Coca-Cola and the case of consistency
It’s old news that in 1985 Coca-Cola changed their recipe and introduced ‘new coke’ to the market. Even though research proved the newer taste was preferred, consumers were outraged and expressed deep upset over the introduction of the new product. The fact is that consumers were sentimentally tied to the old coke as it brought about a nostalgic and warm feeling. The lesson here? Consistency and strong brand values go a surprisingly long way to creating loyalty.