In today’s digital economy, it’s easier than ever for a customer to spend their money elsewhere if you aren’t meeting their expectations. While brand loyalty remains absolutely vital to customer retention, now, it takes a lot more than just a coupon or two to ensure customers remain committed to your company.
Recently, we asked our Twitter community to weigh in on how loyalty has changed in today’s disruptive world. A number of renowned customer experience (CX) advisors, thought leaders, and industry professionals shared their insights with us on the evolution of brand loyalty and what this means for the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) spaces. Continue reading to see their answers.
Question #1: How has brand loyalty changed in today’s disruptive world?
In our disruptive world where constant change is the new normal, brand loyalty has been redefined. Customers are no longer loyal to a brand, rather, they’re loyal to a relationship to a brand. There are no shortcuts to relationships. Focus on the long game. — Tamara McCleary, CEO of Thulium, @TamaraMcCleary
I see brand loyalty being ignored in a lot of cases, particularly in social media. It seems like many companies are focused on customer acquisition and ignore taking care of their loyal customers. — Jeff Sheehan, Marketing & Social Selling Advisor, @JeffSheehan
I keep reading brand loyalty is quickly becoming a thing of the past, Customers are about, “What have you done for me lately?” That’s why you have to work hard to win and maintain it. — Rieva Lesonsky, Founder of SmallBizDaily.com, @Rieva
Brand loyalty come from creating memorable events for the customer. We no longer sell products or services in the age of social. We sell brand experiences. — Zen Yinger, CEO of ZenSocial, @ZenYinger
At any given moment, someone is trying to earn something from someone. Whether it’s trust, loyalty, respect, even love—it’s the tangibles that people desire but can never buy. I used to believe that the highest honor a product or service could receive was to achieve “raving fan” status. That’s not the case anymore. Customers are fickle and are so empowered today that they expect extraordinary. Gone are the days where feedback was kept quiet and experiences were collected around a review form. Today, your customer’s comments are transparent to your competitors, making it easier for them to publicly see your pain points. Comparisons are easier to make and product switching happens faster than ever. Customers are ready to switch unless they have one thing: an undying relationship with a person or people who make them feel uniquely special. So, the question becomes, how do you scale personalization of these human relationships? Consumers today have the highest expectations, but it doesn’t take massive software, complicated strategies, or tons of people to meet them. Just be human and meet them where they are. Listen, respond, have a conversation, and you’ll create customers for life. — Bryan Kramer, Author of There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human #H2H, @BryanKramer
Even in this disruptive market, I think brand loyalty is still alive. It’s now based on emotions and authenticity. It’s about your brand fitting into the “culture” of the target audience, speaking to their behaviors. — Shari Paul, Marketing and Digital Media Professional, @ShariPaul
Customers aren’t loyal to brands, they’re loyal to their last great experience. That’s why companies have to be consistent across the board with what they deliver and the hand offs between interactions. — Carla Johnson, Author of Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, @CarlaJohnson
Information and “news” spreads fast online. You can be on top one day and one tiny PR “oops” goes viral. People turn on brands very quickly, even when it’s fake news. — Melissa Stewart, Founder of SheOwnsIt.com, @MelissaOnline
We are actually “bolder” in our pursuit of brands who really listen and understand the customers (us). — Lynn Abaté-Johnson, CEO of People Forward, @PeopleFW
It’s not a transaction. It’s about building a relationship. The most important thing customers care about is, will you have their back and give them value for [their] money? — Shashi Bellamkonda, Chief Marketing Officer at SureFireLocal.com, @ShashiB
Question #2: Are these changes in brand loyalty the same for both the B2C and B2B spaces?
Yes. Whether you are B2C or B2B is of no consequence. You are still selling to people. In B2B, you just have more people to convert, so you have to be even better at relationships. — Tamara McCleary, CEO of Thulium, @TamaraMcCleary
I think the lower the price point, the more fickle the customer. There’s less at stake to switch brands. — Carla Johnson, Author of Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, @CarlaJohnson
There is no B2B or B2C. It’s H2H: human to human. — Bryan Kramer, Author of There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human #H2H, @BryanKramer
I believe that the longer the sales cycle, the stronger the brand loyalty. Regardless of B2B or B2C, brand loyalty is being challenged EVERY DAY in business today. — Brian Moran, Award-Winning Business Advisor, @BrianMoran
YES! I see more and more reports that says B2Bs are now acting like [B2Cs] and have the same expectations of consumers. It’s disruptive. — Rieva Lesonsky, Founder of SmallBizDaily.com, @Rieva
For more insights from some of today’s leading influencers, check out our other article in our tweetchat series, How to Win Customers and Increase Brand Loyalty.