Roses are red, violets are blue. And as consumers, we’re hopelessly devoted to you!
This Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating the most important relationships of them all: the ones you have with your favorite brands. From indulging in our morning coffee to relying on cars and gadgets that get us through our daily lives, our brands are the ones that stick with us through it all. Is it because your chapstick is honestly the best on the market, or is there something more that makes it the product you just can’t quit? Open a box of chocolates and pop the bubbly; today we are recognizing our long term relationships – the special bond between customer and brand.
Brand loyalty is like any other relationship – it takes time to build. The steps of the journey to becoming a loyal customer are similar to becoming a significant other. You start off as an acquaintance, then you move on to being friends and eventually you become partners in success. You find yourself gushing over them with friends, and you’ll probably even share them on your social channels. But while you’re in the honeymoon phase, the brand is busy finding ways to keep you coming back for more.
We’re going back to the start. The first date.
We all know it’s true; the first interaction with a brand is just like a first date. It may be a little awkward and the conversation may be superficial, but both parties are taking stock of the other’s habits and beliefs. We think of how the brand makes us feel and take note of how their behaviors indicate their values. And all over a cocktail! Just like any relationship, your courtship with a brand needs a solid foundation that will stand the test of time – something that keeps you coming back for a date #2.
You and the brand have successfully made it through the first date and all flags are showing green. Now what? It’s time to take things to the next level and Define The Relationship. We’re going deep. Do the values they displayed on date one seem to be values they live by? And do those values align with yours? During this phase, you’ll begin to understand the behavior of the brand and start to get a sense of what is consistent for them. You may notice them behave consistently in a way that makes you feel proud to be a consumer. Whether it’s continued exceptional customer service or taking public stands on issues that are important to you, you may find yourself in love at first buy. Just like any important person in your life, you come to know them so well that you can predict how they behave in any given situation.
Do you feel like your most cherished brands get you? If not, it may be time for a break.
When it comes to building long-term relationships with brands, how you feel matters. Just like any life partner, they become a reflection of you, so it’s important that you feel confident in what you’ve aligned yourself with. At the end of the day, people love relationships and brands that make them feel good. People love brands that are there to celebrate them in the big wins, comfort them in the losses and that make them feel like they’re on top of the world. Once they have achieved that, my friends, they have achieved brand loyalty, and you’re in it for the long haul.
Will you accept this rose? Say a toast to the brands you love the most this Valentine’s Day. Let’s find the humanity in brands by finding, using and sharing what we truly love and believe in. If reading this blog made you realize that you don’t have a brand you stand behind, then consider this your candy-heart sign to get back out there.
Xoxo, Charleston AMA