Brand affinity is a metric that lets market researchers make predictions about how a consumer will behave. Brand affinity also adds a layer of information that is helpful when differentiating among consumers in order to accomplish market segmentation.
Research has shown that children as young as 3 years old are able to identify logos and associate them with brands—and even use brands as indicators of popularity or success. What does it look like when a customer demonstrates brand affinity? Some of the indicators are:
- A likelihood that they will stick with a brand or a company.
- High probability that they will purchase the brand or other brands from the mix offered by a particular company given a free choice situation.
- A good chance that they will make referrals to the company or brand they enjoy.
- They tend to describe high levels of overall customer satisfaction with regard to a particular brand, service, or company.
You can help develop brand affinity in your customers by employing a series of marketing strategies and tactics. Whether it's a new business or an established company looking to grow its customer base, It’s important to realize it’s not something that can be forced or manufactured; developing brand affinity requires investing some time and resources to develop company branding and customer loyalty.
Keep Connected and Think Targeted
Build your email marketing list and use it to communicate with your customers. Be it product updates or promotional coupons, it's important to keep in touch with your contacts to keep current and prospective customers thinking about the value that you bring to them.
By collecting data on the way your customers interact with your products and website, you can send targeted emails and ads to better serve customers and their needs.
Customer Service Superstars
If you can get your customer to identify your brand with excellent customer service, you will have created a way to set yourself apart from your competitors. Customers will often be willing to pay more for a product if they have had a positive customer service experience with a brand in the past. This can mean easy refunds, warranties on products, or just going the extra mile to achieve customer satisfaction. Find out what your customer base values in terms of customer service, and do everything you can to meet those expectations.
Make Buying Easy
It may be an easy-to-navigate website or a 1-800 number that reaches a live customer service rep, if the buyer can purchase what they need with no hiccups or delays, you will probably experience a boost in company image and brand affinity. Consider how easy or difficult it is for shoppers to find what they need or make a decision. Provide points of contact and seek feedback from customers on how the shopping experience can be made better.
Keep Customers in the Loop
Whether you are launching a new product, going through organizational changes, or your website is getting a new look, making sure your customers know about the changes can help build trust between customers and your company. Being transparent with your objectives and taking the time to communicate changes that may affect your relationship will help to build trust and boost brand affinity naturally.
Tap Into the Power of Social Networks
The use of social media can provide you with a few different advantages:
- You can monitor and listen to online communities to learn what people are saying about your products and brand.
- You can interact with customers directly, making it easier to develop and nurture relationships (this relationship is difficult to cultivate with direct mail and email campaigns alone).
- Provide a higher level of customer service—and in public at that. Customers can have an improved perception of brands that effectively and promptly deal with the online complaints or issues of others.
- Use social media platforms as your own channel to provide unique and shareable content.
- Establishing strong connections with your audience boosts the likelihood that they will share and spread the word about your brand in a positive way.
Take the time to engage with your fans and followers by replying to messages or posts, and participating in groups and communities on each platform. Engaging with current and prospective customers on social media can increase brand awareness and develop trust for your company.
Building brand awareness and increasing customer loyalty should be a continuous plan of attack for your company and marketing initiatives. By implementing these five ways to boost affinity, you will be well on your way to being on your customer's good side for a long time to come.