Brand loyalty is one of the most integral features of a successfully run small business as it generally means regular, repeat purchasing. Whilst there are significant differences between the notions of brand equity and brand loyalty, they share a unique correlation or level of interdependence. You can’t achieve rock-solid loyalty without a positive, healthy relationship!
Advertising giant Kevin Keller states that a strong brand involves “establishing breadth and depth of brand awareness; creating strong, favourable, and unique brand associations; eliciting positive, accessible brand responses; and forging intense, active brand relationships”. He believes that the benefits of creating long-lasting, positive associations between the target consumer and brand would be seen by any business.
According to Wells et al brand equity can be defined as the “reputation, meaning and value that a brand name or symbol has acquired over time”, with the premise lying in the consumers perception of the name of a particular brand or business. If these associations remain positive, the customer is far more likely to stay loyal to your business. Keller's Customer-Based Brand Equity model outlines a series of logically, interrelated steps that contribute to the formation of this desired business goal. The basis of Keller’s model is in shaping desired consumer thoughts and feelings towards your brand by adhering to the following four steps.
The first step, or brand identity, is where your business should look at establishing brand awareness or salience. During this stage, it is critical that the consumer is also able to clearly recognize what purposes your brand or business serves and more specifically which of their individual needs it will satisfy.
Next we have brand meaning, which highlights the performance and imagery of the brand, or how well your product meets the customer’s needs. For you to achieve loyalty and resonance for your business, the experiences a customer has with your brand must be of a positive manner. Basically, you need to ‘walk-the-walk’, backing up your marketing and advertising campaigns with strong performances on the park so to speak.
We then move on to the brand response where we look at the consumer’s reaction to a brand based on their judgements and feelings. It is at this point that you can begin to connect to the consumer on an emotional and more personal level. The customer will essentially evaluate and judge your brand based on its comparative quality, credibility, consideration, and superiority, in conjunction with their individual feelings or emotional responses. If these reactions or responses are negative, the consumer generally has little or no inclination towards repeat purchasing.
Once we have done all of this, we can move towards the pinnacle of the model, which focuses on the relationship and level of affinity that the consumer shares with your brand. Brand resonance or relationship occurs when customers share an intense loyalty or bond with a particular brand, and is something that all businesses should strive for. If properly achieved, brand resonance can promote behavioral loyalty, attitudinal or emotional attachment, a sense of community with other buyers and active engagement.
Each aspect or step that Keller outlines serves a particular purpose in the creation of a strong brand. These stages, which he labels ‘brand building blocks’, question the make-up of the brand, the responses and feelings it elicits and the unique brand/consumer relationships it generates. Should your business successfully follow the logical process that I have outlined, it will go a long way towards achieving positive ties with your target market, and more importantly developing substantial brand loyalty within that demographic.
If you would like to know more on how your business can achieve this, get in contact with The 360 Degree Marketing Group today!