Every marketing pro knows that brand loyalty is one of the most important factors in customer retention. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is rewriting tried-and-true marketing strategies, this is one fact that hasn’t changed.
That said, consumer expectations have changed, which could ultimately affect brand loyalty if you’re not prepared. Here are some ways traditional brand loyalties are shifting and how companies can keep up with the current environment.
Consumers Want Socially Distant Solutions
In general, people are spending more time at home than ever: working from home, shopping from home, and finding new ways to stay entertained that don’t involve interacting with other people. If you don’t already have the infrastructure in place for a robust online-only experience, you’ll need to update that as soon as possible.
Focus on ways to enhance the stay-at-home lifestyle: can you offer quick, convenient, and ideally free shipping? Replace in-person experiences with virtual ones? These are the kinds of solutions that consumers need right now.
Of course, this is easier for some brands than others. Even if your company isn’t traditionally associated with stay-at-home activities, you can still find ways to adapt. Take Patagonia, for example — the outdoor clothing brand closed its physical and online stores at the start of the pandemic and shifted its focus to repairing masks.
This kind of outside-the-box thinking is driving customer loyalty right now, so make sure you’re offering solutions that help the quarantined and essential workers.
Communication is More Important Than Ever
We’ve previously pointed out the importance of transparency during coronavirus, but that’s just one piece of the broader communication puzzle. Overall, customers are replacing the engagement they might have found in physical stores with social media interactions, so make sure your social media presence is active and engaging.
Tone matters, too: now is not the time to get salesy. Compassionate language, ideally backed up by socially conscious action, is what’s needed right now. Don’t turn a blind eye to consumers’ struggles and be aware of the message you’re projecting. For example, if you want to have an executive or celebrity partner post about how “we’re all in this together,” make sure they’re not recording poolside in front of their swank mansion.
Reassess Loyalty Rewards
Even in the worst of times, rewarding customer loyalty is a surefire way to drive growth. This principle is still true in the new normal, but now is the perfect time to assess those loyalty rewards programs and ensure you’re properly compensating your regulars. If your company doesn’t already have a rewards program in place, dedicate some resources to developing one, even if it’s as simple as offering discounts on repeat purchases.
For brands with existing loyalty programs, think about what you’re offering – is it something customers would genuinely appreciate within the current pandemic environment? If not, it’s time to change it up.
Emphasize ideas that consumers are looking for right now, such as self-care and convenience. Whatever you do, make sure your most loyal customers feel appreciated; it’s one of the best ways to guarantee retention.
The marketing game has changed thanks to the unprecedented events of 2020, but customer loyalty is just as important. By shifting existing strategies to focus on empathetic messaging, helpful solutions, and customer loyalty, your brand can weather the coronavirus storm without losing loyalty.