Brand loyalty, a guide to a customer’s loyalty toward the brand

Put us to the test
Put us to the test!
Analyze your site
Select the database

It is the positive association that consumers attribute to a particular product or brand, which is demonstrated through a continuous preference despite the alternatives proposed by competitors. Known for a long time in marketing, today, brand loyalty becomes increasingly relevant online and the Web offers new opportunities for companies to improve their image and build meaningful relationships with customers: this loyalty in fact does not arise spontaneously, but is the result of strategic and patient build up by the brand, and today we will see what exactly brand loyalty is and how it can be developed.

What brand loyalty is

Brand loyalty represents the loyalty of the consumer to a specific brand, which derives from a positive feeling perceived towards that brand and is shown concretely in the purchase preferences, oriented mainly and in the first place always towards products and services of the same brand.

In fact, in marketing theories, brand loyalty is also defined as the customary preference of a consumer towards a brand for a certain category of products/services, which is consistently repeated and brings over time, continuously, to prefer the products/services of a specific brand at the expense of those of competitors.

Your ally for Google success

Perfectly manage all SEO aspects and strengthen your brand online

More precisely, US academic Richard L. Oliver stressed in a study published by the American Marketing Association that the loyalty of a consumer is “the commitment to buy again a particular product or service in the future regardless of the influences of the context and the marketing efforts that have the potential to lead to a change of behaviour”.

Loyalty to a brand is manifested when consumers perceive that the brand in question uniquely meets their needs or desires, thus creating a strong emotional connection. This connection, emotional and psychological, not only incentivizes repeated purchases from the same brand, but also often leads to consumer defending the brand in conversations with friends and family or on social media – a phenomenon known as advocacy.

How to build brand loyalty: the basics and key factors

To build brand loyalty, a brand must first focus on a deep understanding of its customers-who they are, what they value, and how they prefer to interact with companies-which can be achieved through market research, customer data analysis, and direct feedback.

Specifically, brand loyalty rests on three basic pillars:

  • Product/service quality

Quality is the promise a brand makes to its customers, and delivering on it is essential. A product or service that meets or exceeds expectations is the first step in earning customer trust and loyalty. Consistency in quality is critical.

  • Customer service and communication

Every interaction with the brand-everything from the ease of use of the company’s website to customer service-should leave the consumer with a positive feeling. Exceptional customer service can turn a negative experience into a positive one, reinforcing customer loyalty. Speed, efficiency and empathy are key aspects of successful customer service. Communication also contributes to this aspect: keeping customers informed about news, special offers and improvements in products/services serves to make them feel valued and part of the brand “family.”

  • Corporate values

Today’s consumers are looking for brands that reflect their personal values: whether it is environmental sustainability, social justice or innovation, highlighting corporate values can create a deeper connection with the public. Transparency, integrity and social commitment can create an emotional connection that goes beyond the product or service.

Building brand loyalty is not an overnight process; it requires time, dedication, and a genuine commitment to excellence and customer respect. Moreover, loyalty should never be taken for granted: companies must continually work to maintain the trust and preference of their customers, especially in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing market.

Know your customers: the different types

To build and maintain this kind of loyalty, while developing more effective strategies, it is necessary as mentioned to start with understanding the different types of customers: the challenge lies in adapting to their changing needs and staying one step ahead in meeting them, while maintaining the authenticity and values of the brand, so as to hopefully build a solid base of loyal customers who will sustain the brand over the long term.

Broadly speaking, we can identify:

  1. The Loyal Believers, those who have a strong emotional connection to the brand. Often, their loyalty is rooted in positive past experiences or shared values with the company. These customers tend to defend the brand in conversations and on social media, acting as spontaneous ambassadors.
  2. Habitual Satisfied ones. These consumers are less driven by emotion and more by convenience or habit. Although they may be considered loyal, their loyalty may be questioned if a more advantageous alternative is offered in terms of price or quality.
  3. The Rational Calculators. Rational customers base their loyalty on an objective assessment of the advantages one brand offers over others. They tend to be loyal as long as they believe the value for money is the best available in the market.
  4. Novice Explorers. These are consumers who are still forming their brand preferences. They are open to experimenting and may become loyal customers if the experience with the brand exceeds their expectations.
  5. Opportunists. This category includes those who show no real loyalty to any brand, but rather are driven by promotions, discounts or temporary novelties. Their “loyalty” is volatile and changes based on the best offer of the moment.

To build a strong base of loyal customers, it is essential for a company to recognize and understand these different types of consumers. Through the implementation of targeted strategies-such as customized loyalty programs, emotionally engaging marketing campaigns, or competitive offers-the specific needs of each group can be met. For example, for “staunch loyalists” one could focus on initiatives that reinforce a sense of belonging and shared values, while for “rational calculators” it would be appropriate to emphasize superior quality or the best value for money offered.

In addition, it is crucial not to underestimate the importance of excellent customer service and a positive shopping experience for all types of consumers: these elements can turn even a “novice explorer” or “opportunist” into a loyal customer over time.

The digital evolution has also amplified the importance of online reviews and digital word-of-mouth, making loyal believers even more crucial to brand reputation and outreach. At the same time, it offers companies new opportunities to reach and engage different consumer segments through personalized channels.

Understanding the definition of brand loyalty

The definition of brand loyalty is thus articulated through a complex interplay between perceived quality, identification with the brand and positive experiences.This status brings companies benefits not only in terms of repeat sales and positive word-of-mouth, but also helps build a solid foundation on which a brand can innovate and grow, because it transforms customers into true ambassadors.

For a brand, then, understanding and cultivating customer loyalty means investing in a sustainable competitive advantage that can significantly distinguish a brand in today’s saturated marketplace. The challenge is to maintain an ongoing dialogue with its consumers, listening to their needs and anticipating their expectations, to strengthen the emotional and trusting bond that underlies true loyalty to a brand.

Much of this “game” is played on a psychological and emotional level, as becomes even clearer when analyzing the factors that contribute to creating and maintaining the bond between consumer and brand.

First, as mentioned above, the perceived quality of the products or services offered plays a crucial role: when customers believe that a brand consistently meets or exceeds their expectations, they tend to develop a sense of trust and satisfaction that drives them to remain loyal.

Another key element is consumer identification with the brand, which occurs when a brand’s values, image and personality mirror those of its customers or aspire to represent a lifestyle with which they wish to associate. Under such circumstances, choosing to remain loyal to a brand also becomes a personal statement.

Moreover, positive past experiences play a key role in building loyalty to a brand: working on CXO and offering excellent customer service, targeted promotions, or effective loyalty programs can strengthen the bond between consumer and brand, further incentivizing continued purchase.

For these very reasons, it should be noted that brand loyalty is not static, but can evolve over time in response to changes in both consumer behavior and business strategies. Therefore, companies must be careful to monitor and adapt to the needs and desires of their target audience in order to maintain high brand loyalty.

Characteristics and stages of brand loyalty

Brand loyalty has as a fundamental prerequisite that is customer satisfaction: only a customer fully satisfied with the offer, in fact, will continue to exclusively or preferably use the products and services provided by that brand, at the expense of all others competing in the same product category or operating in the same market niche.

Moreover: loyal customers will buy from the same brand regardless of convenience or price, because they have found something that meets their needs and are not interested in experimenting with the proposals of another brand.

According to the classical theory, the development of brand loyalty is divided into three phases:

  • Brand recognition, the initial stage in which the person is aware of the existence of the brand, has a positive feeling towards it, but continues not to discard the purchase of similar products from other brands. It is the moment in which the so-called acceptance sprouts, the conscious will of the customer to choose a specific brand.
  • Brand preference, the stage of transition in which the consumer begins to develop a propensity for the brand in analysis, buying the purchase more frequently but continuing, for example if it does not find availability, to apply to products or services of the competitor in the same product category.
  • Brand insistence, the last level where the consumer is fully attached to the brand to the point to postpone the purchase, try alternative channels (other stores or eCommerce platforms) or give up if it finds availability, avoiding buying a competitor’s product. It is the sublimation of fidelity, expressed as allegiance or perseverance, with the person who repeats the purchase in the long term not only preferring that brand, but buying it continuously and practically exclusively.

Therefore, a consumer is faithful to the brand when he demonstrates a high inclination to favor it at the expense of other brands of the same level and category, which is expressed in the repetition of the act of purchase.

Another perspective about factors determining brand loyalty

There is also another model that describes the different level of consumer commitment to the brand in five steps, which can be useful to know in developing effective strategies to build and maintain a strong base of loyal customers.

In this version, the first stage of brand loyalty is “Brand Awareness,” in which the consumer learns about the existence of the brand. The goal of companies is to make their brand stand out among the many in the market, using marketing strategies aimed at creating recognition.

Next comes “Exploration,” in which consumers begin to try the products or services offered by the brand. The quality of the experience at this stage can profoundly influence the consumer’s perception and determine whether they will proceed to the next stages of brand loyalty.

Deepening” represents the third stage, where the consumer has already had positive experiences with the brand and begins to prefer it over others in the market. This is the time of “Brand Insistence,” where customers specifically demand their preferred brand and are not easily swayed by lower prices or competitive promotions, thus beginning to build trust, a key element in the development of loyalty.

Commitment” is the fourth stage: at this point, consumers have developed a marked brand preference and tend to consciously choose the brand on a regular basis. Engagement develops when consumers establish an emotional connection with the brand, often based on shared values or unique experiences, and can be reinforced through loyalty programs, personalized offers, and excellent customer service that confirm to the consumer that they have made the right choice. In this way, the emotional bond will go beyond mere preference, becoming an integral part of the consumer’s identity.

Finally, we reach the stage of “Absolute Loyalty,” where the consumer becomes a true brand ambassador. These customers not only continue to choose the brand regardless of circumstances but are also likely to actively recommend it to friends and family. Their trust in the value offered by the brand is so high that they become less sensitive to competitors’ prices and offers. This higher level of brand loyalty is also called advocacy and occurs when consumers become active promoters of the brand, recommending it to friends and family: their loyalty is transformed into a form of endorsement, increasing the brand’s visibility and influence in the marketplace.

The transition between these stages is neither automatic nor guaranteed for every consumer, but requires constant work on the part of the company, which must not only attract the customer’s initial attention and, at the same time, maintain their interest and satisfy their needs over time. The key to developing strong brand loyalty lies in the ability to create positive and consistent experiences at every point of contact with the customer, from the quality of the products or services offered, to communication and after-sales service.

In addition to direct consumer satisfaction, elements such as corporate social responsibility and environmental commitment can play a significant role in the development of brand loyalty, because-as mentioned- today’s consumers tend to prefer companies that not only offer high-quality products, but also demonstrate a commitment to social and ecological issues.

The differences between brand loyalty and customer loyalty

Although closely related, there are subtle differences between brand loyalty and customer loyalty: in particular, customer loyalty identifies the commitment of customers to continue to buy from a company based on the benefits received from those purchases, and is largely based on price, benefits, and rewards-i.e., the more value or benefits a customer receives, the more likely he or she is to buy from that company in the future.

In this sense, customer loyalty is more directly related to the buying habits and frequency with which a customer chooses a particular company over its competitors, and for this reason it can be influenced by loyalty programs, exclusive discounts, and other reward-focused tactics-incentives that may be effective in the short term in stimulating repeat purchases, do not necessarily create a lasting emotional bond with the brand.

Instead, it is factors such as experiences, association-related values, and brand perception that drive brand loyalty and thus drive customers to continue buying from that company independently of price or competitors. This is because brand loyalty is based on a broader complex of positive experiences, perceived quality, and shared values between the consumer and the brand, aspects that are less concrete but more enduring.

Therefore, customer loyalty can be encouraged and improved by maintaining overall low prices and offering regular loyalty discounts, special offers or multi-purchase deals, which convince regular customers that the brand is still the cheapest and most beneficial in the market, preventing them from buying their products elsewhere. In fact, customer loyalty is mainly concerned with consumers’ overall spending power and is built by offering regular prices and money-saving offers to convince them to return to the store, thanks to lower prices than competitors or better discounts for the specific products they are looking for.

On the other hand, brand loyalty is built with more difficulty, but it is much easier to maintain once established: as long as the quality of the product and the level of service provided remain the same, brand-loyal customers will feel little need to check out the competition. In this sense, brand loyalty is less risky than customer loyalty-but in mere financial terms, brand-loyal customers tend to make fewer purchases, although profit margins on the products they buy tend to be much larger.

Companies that manage to balance both strategies will be better positioned to build lasting relationships with their customers, thus ensuring continued success in today’s competitive marketplace. However, bringing someone to the top of Aaker’s pyramid does not mean they will be “forever loyal”: customers may leave a brand for various reasons, such as if the same brand no longer satisfies or aligns with their needs, or if consumers lose confidence in the brand’s ability to deliver value.

How the loyalty process works

The loyalty process does not arise spontaneously, but is the result of a well-designed strategy that aims to create and maintain a strong bond between the consumer and the brand over time.

It takes commitment, strategy and a constant focus on consumer needs and desires, and only by creating quality products, providing excellent service, building solid emotional relationships and maintaining open communication can companies develop a loyal customer base that supports the brand over the long term.

In an age when competition is increasingly fierce and consumers are bombarded with endless buying options, establishing strong brand loyalty becomes not only beneficial but essential to business success. Highlights include:

  • Brand awareness

The first step in the loyalty process is getting the potential customer to know the brand. This step involves the use of various marketing and advertising strategies to increase brand visibility, with the goal of making the brand recognizable and memorable to the consumer.

  • Product or service experimentation

After attracting attention, the consumer is encouraged to try the product or service offered, through promotions, free samples, or facilitated return policies. Experimentation is key: if the experience is positive, it paves the way for loyalty.

  • Customer satisfaction

The quality of the consumer experience must be such that it fully meets customer expectations: this includes not only product or service excellence but also excellent customer service. Satisfaction is the key to turning an occasional purchase into a repeat choice.

  • Creating an emotional bond

A customer becomes truly loyal when he or she develops an emotional bond with the brand. This can be nurtured through effective storytelling, shared company values, or through personalized experiences that make the customer feel special and part of a community.

  • Maintaining the relationship

Loyalty does not end with the sale; it requires constant effort to keep the relationship alive. Loyalty programs, personalized communications, exclusive previews, and after-sales support are all tools that help strengthen the bond with the customer.

Moreover, in the digital age, social platforms play a key role in building and maintaining brand loyalty by providing a direct and personal channel to interact with customers. Through engaging content, promotions, and the ability to listen directly to consumer feedback, companies can create a loyal community around their brand.

  • Listening and adapting

A key element in maintaining loyalty is actively listening to the customer. Companies must be ready to receive feedback, both positive and negative, and adapt their products, services, and strategies accordingly. Showing customers that their opinion is valued helps strengthen the emotional bond and foster loyalty.

  • Continuous innovation

The market is constantly evolving, as are the needs and desires of consumers. To maintain high brand loyalty, companies must invest in research and development to continuously innovate their products and services. Innovation can not only meet customers’ expectations, but also pleasantly surprise them, further cementing their bond with the brand.

The factors that determine brand loyalty

There are actually many reasons why a consumer may become loyal to a brand over the competition, and it is not possible to list them all without leaving something out; therefore, it is more useful to say that the reasons that lead a person to develop loyalty to a brand may be as unique as the person himself, but there are certainly common patterns and reasons that may be useful to examine.

For example, a crucial factor (especially in the early stages) is affordability or practicality (greater availability than competitors), but this is easily challenged by a change in competitor strategies or market conditions.

Some products, then, are correlated with specific status-think Ferrari or Rolex for luxury, just to give the most immediate example-and this means that people perceive that buying a product of that type offers a pleasurable experience. Fundamental, of course, are the aspects of trust and sentiment toward the brand-especially in these years, when attention to even political choices of a company is at an all-time high-while factors related to a sense of community or enthusiasm stemming from the “story” told by that brand are other reasons that may lead a customer to clearly prefer one brand over others.

Theories on brand loyalty: Aaker’s pyramid

Ultimately, brand loyalty is not the same and therefore a theoretical scheme is needed to try to identify the process that leads a person to allegiance.

Also in this case, David Aaker – who we already know as Father of Modern Branding and creator of the pyramid for brand awareness – proposes his vision with the brand loyalty pyramid, that identifies five levels of brand loyalty to which correspond as many types of buyers. In summary, the more effective the strategy and strategies performed by a company (and the better the product or service, of course), more customers will find themselves at the higher levels of the pyramid.

La Piramide dei livelli di brand loyalty secondo Aaker - da

At the lowest level of the pyramid – and therefore at the weakest level of brand loyalty – we find the switchers, the unfaithful buyers: they are not loyal to any brand, because for them the brand has a marginal role in the purchase decision while other factors such as convenience, price and convenience are relevant. They have no problem changing brand, hence the English term.

At the top step we find regular buyers (satisfied or habitual buyers): these are people who buy the brand out of habit, in fact, being satisfied and not having particular reasons to change. They are, however, vulnerable to competitors’ offerings, because in the case of additional benefits they would have no difficulty in changing, as well as turning to alternatives when they encounter problems finding their classic brand.

Even more on there are satisfied buyers with switching costs, that is, satisfied buyers for (also) reasons of cost, not only economic: they are customers who have no grounds for dissatisfaction with a brand or its products that can provoke a change, also and especially because of the barriers that make this switch tiring (the time needed, monetary costs, any risks, loss of quality etc). But if competing brands can meet the required conditions or offer additional benefits that exceed the costs of change, they could actually betray the brand because they are not real “fans” (we are still at the level of brand preference).

We go up to the penultimate level with consumers, brand likers, friends of the brand: the buyer begins to be a fan of that brand, developing an affinity based mainly on emotion (and therefore without the possibility of rationally explaining this preference)and this is demonstrated by preferring it to other alternatives for high-quality associations and perception.

At the top of the pyramid of brand loyalty we find involved customers, committed buyers, who have high brand confidence, practically an unshakeable trust (the allegiance), to the point of recommending the brand to other customers. At this level, the brand plays an active role in the daily life of the buyer, who is proud of his association with the brand itself since the brand identity perfectly fits into his personal values – and an attentive and smart brand will reward this buyer with loyalty benefits to ensure it is a two-way relationship.

Going even further back in time, one of the first significant models that contributed to the understanding of brand loyalty was proposed by Jacoby and Chestnut in their 1978 book “Brand Loyalty: Measurement and Management,” in which they explore brand loyalty in terms of repeat purchase behavior and propose methods to measure this “parameter.”

From this perspective, brand loyalty can be broken down into several stages that describe the process by which a consumer becomes loyal to a brand – stages that are not necessarily linear and may vary depending on the context and the individual consumer:

  1. Awareness: The consumer becomes aware of the brand and its products or services for the first time.
  2. Consideration: The brand enters the consumer’s consideration set when they are considering purchase options.
  3. First Try: The consumer tries the brand’s product or service.
  4. Approval: If the experience is positive, the consumer may develop a favorable attitude toward the brand.
  5. Preference: The consumer begins to prefer the brand over others, based on repeated positive experiences.
  6. Repeated Purchase: The consumer continues to choose the brand and make repeated purchases over time.
  7. Loyalty: The consumer develops a strong preference and emotional attachment to the brand, systematically choosing it and recommending it to others.

The value of brand loyalty

Summarizing, brand loyalty is when customers have the opportunity and a good reason to choose another brand but, despite this, they continue to choose the first one for various reasons, not always rationally explainable.

Brand loyalty, together with brand awareness and brand attributes, helps to build brand equity, which is the overall value of the brand and identifies the extent of the power determined by knowledge, positive or negative perceptions and experiences of consumers.

Loyalty, in particular, is an important measure because it estimates the likelihood that consumers will continue to offer their predilection for the brand, which is chosen not only because it is affordable or has an affordable price. In other words, the products of that brand are not only seen as merchandise, but have a special aura that derives from the overall image that that brand has been able to convey.

In the opposite case, when a company or a brand does not have a loyal customer base that buys constantly and continuously, they must compete with other brands on factors such as price and convenience – in terms of marketing, the brand is a commodity – and therefore its strategies must be based on various expedients to try to win customers and, at the same time, not to lose the current ones because of competitors who can offer a better deal.

Brand loyalty is about how consumers perceive a brand and depends on various factors, such as promotional activity, reputation, or previous experience with the company. Loyal consumers believe that that brand offers better service and better quality than anyone else, regardless of the price of the products. These people are also more likely to try other products of the same brand, even if they are slightly more expensive than the previous one or those of competitors (the so-called premium price) – Of course, however, customers at the top of the loyalty pyramid will also start to look around for alternatives if prices rise to an unacceptable level or if the company stops making efforts to engage them.

The advantages of loyalty

No brand can assume that people will want to continue to buy its proposals, even if they are already customers: it is quite easy to lose a customer, and less loyalty a single buyer proof against the brand and its business (if, therefore, it is at the base of the pyramid of brand loyalty levels), the greater the chances that it can suddenly choose a competitor.

If, however, the company is committed to building a sizeable base of truly loyal customers, the business will have a significant advantage: they are consumers who can stay alongside the brand even when times are difficult, that they will not abandon it even if prices rise or the economy collapses.

In addition, these people will also be brand promoters: they will talk about products and services to their friends and family, support them personally and help raise awareness. All this can have a positive effect on sales promotion, even without a massive financial investment.

In practical terms, then, brand loyalty is useful to reduce marketing costs, attract new consumers and allows you to respond promptly to the threats of competition, studying the right strategy to make innovations later, without losing too much market share thanks precisely to consumers who do not abandon the brand.

It should be clear that having loyal customers is a significant advantage for any business, regardless of the industry in which it operates, the products it sells or the services it offers, including the online world. Specifically, from the perspective of companies, brand loyalty brings several strategic benefits: first, loyal customers tend to make repeat purchases over time, ensuring a steady stream of revenue. In addition, acquiring new customers can cost up to five times more than retaining existing ones, making loyalty an effective economic strategy. Loyal customers are also more likely to try new products launched by their favorite brand and tend to be less price sensitive than new customers.

But brand loyalty is not just about numbers: loyal customers often become brand ambassadors, as mentioned, by sharing their positive experiences with friends and family and on social media. This organic word-of-mouth is incredibly valuable: it is authentic, credible and can influence purchase decisions far more effectively than any advertising campaign.

For consumers, however, loyalty to a brand often transcends the simple act of purchasing and can be an expression of personal identity or community membership. For example, some brands have created true “cult followings,” where customers deeply identify with the brand’s values and actively interact with it and each other.

In this context, building and maintaining consumer trust becomes more than a marketing strategy: it is a business imperative that requires constant commitment and a deep understanding of your audience’s needs and desires.

Why we talk about brand trust

In light of what has been written, it becomes clear why the concept of brand loyalty represents a kind of cornerstone around which long-term customer loyalty strategies are built, tying closely to brand trust.

The explanation for this relationship lies in a deep understanding of the psychological dynamics that bind consumers to brands, which should not be considered a mere added value, but rather a strategic necessity for anyone who wants to build strong and lasting relationships with their customers.

Brand trust can be defined as the perception of reliability, quality and integrity that consumers attribute to a given brand. This trust does not arise spontaneously, but is the result of a gradual process of construction and consolidation that develops through interactions between the consumer and the brand. In this context, communication plays a key role, as it allows the brand to convey its values, story and promises.

A crucial element that contributes to trust in a brand is consistency. Consumers expect the products or services offered to maintain a consistent high quality over time. Inconsistencies in quality or message can quickly erode accumulated trust, leading to a loss of customer loyalty. Therefore, maintaining consistency across all dimensions of the brand-from product to communication to after-sales service-is critical to nurturing and preserving this trust.

At the same time, brand integrity is becoming increasingly important in the current era. Consumers are increasingly informed and aware of ethical issues related to production and consumption. Brands that demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainable and ethical practices tend to attract and retain a larger loyal customer base because they reflect values shared with their consumers.

Moreover, in situations of crisis or controversy, a brand’s ability to communicate transparently, take responsibility for mistakes made, and take concrete steps to resolve problems can significantly strengthen the level of consumer trust. This brand resilience and ability to defend its web reputation then becomes a critical factor contributing to its positive perception in the long term.

Technology and social media have further amplified the importance of brand trust by facilitating the dissemination of consumer reviews and opinions. In this hyperconnected environment, a single negative experience can go viral and seriously damage a brand’s reputation. At the same time, positive experiences shared publicly can strengthen trust and attract new customers. Therefore, brands must be increasingly vigilant in managing their online presence and interacting constructively with their audiences.

Finally, customization of consumer experiences is another key aspect of building trust. Consumers appreciate when a brand demonstrates that it understands their specific needs and is committed to meeting them in a personalized way. This customer focus not only enhances the shopping experience but also helps create an emotional bond with the brand.

How brand loyalty is built

True brand loyalty arises when consumers identify so strongly with the brand that they consider it an integral part of their daily lives.

The starting point to keep in mind is that brand loyalty does not develop overnight: it is the result of ongoing positive experiences that consumers associate with the brand, which may include product quality, service reliability, personal identification with brand values, and even the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.

Gaining and maintaining customer loyalty over the long term, therefore, requires an unwavering commitment to service excellence, listening carefully and proactively to consumer needs, building relationships based on trust, and recognizing the value of their loyalty. Companies that succeed in these goals by adopting innovative strategies and centering their attention on the customer will be the ones that stand out in the market, securing not only loyalty but also advocacy from their customers. In this way, customer loyalty becomes a key component of corporate culture, capable of driving long-term success in an increasingly complex and competitive business environment.

Techniques for building and strengthening brand loyalty are varied but are almost always based on engaging people, particularly in today’s business landscape of relentless competition and increasingly informed and selective consumers.

The first piece of advice is to interact authentically with customers and provide quality customer service: people want to know that they are being heard when they speak to the brand, regardless of whether they speak with criticism, praise, or other needs, and they should not perceive that those speaking on behalf of the brand are only concerned about avoiding public relations problems. Whether it is social media, a phone call, or something else, support must respond with care, commitment, and patience, because knowing how to handle an angry customer can be an opportunity to build loyalty (whereas not doing so could cause him to run to the competition).

Loyalty should also not be taken for granted, as it can always disappear, and it is good to think of ways to reward trust; at the same time, as explained by the brand loyalty pyramid, the response should not be the same for everyone. Loyalty rewards and loyalty programs are a common means of thanking users and can also become a tool to push people up the program and the pyramid itself.

Turning to some aspects related to the Web and digital presence, it is obviously important to pay attention to customer reviews and feedback, as reiterated on several occasions, including through follow-up surveys or questionnaires after the sale. Equally trivial is the advice to focus on the shrewd use of social media, assessing the platforms actually used by the target audience and trying to interact with people in an effective and context-appropriate manner.

Brand loyalty and the Web

Speaking of the Internet, before the great development of the Web, the most common way to build brand loyalty was through direct interaction between a salesperson and a customer; today, however, we have access to thousands of consumer products and services without the salesperson as an intermediary, and consumers are free to conduct independent research, compare competitors’ offerings, and make informed choices, thus becoming less committed to specific brands.


Get the most out of your SEO potential

With SEOZoom you are always one step ahead!

And so, as the Web offers the power of choice, companies have “shifted from a brand-centric agenda to a customer-centric model“: to gain market share and customer loyalty, the emphasis is on building customer relationships, providing excellent customer service and delivering value. And the Internet also becomes the tool for reaching out to people, both in terms of contacting them through social media with which to promote the brand, improve relationships and accept feedback, and creating various experiences by also leveraging the company website.

How to measure brand loyalty: techniques and metrics

To measure brand loyalty, companies can use several approaches and metrics.

One of the most direct metrics is repeat purchase: if a customer continues to choose the same brand instead of opting for competitors, this indicates a certain level of loyalty. Other metrics include Net Promoter Score (NPS, which assesses the likelihood that customers will recommend the brand to others), purchase frequency, and engagement on social channels, or how actively consumers interact with the brand online.

The advent of digital technologies has made brand loyalty monitoring much more accessible. Tools such as Google Analytics and CRM (customer relationship management) platforms allow companies to track purchasing behaviors, consumer preferences and trends over time. In addition, specialized software can analyze sentiment toward the brand through the analysis of data from social media.

However, measuring only through numbers may not be enough to fully understand brand loyalty: it is also critical to actively listen directly from consumers through surveys and interviews to find out why they choose to remain loyal to a brand. This can reveal valuable insights into what really matters to them-whether it is customer service excellence, the brand’s commitment to sustainability, or more-and may mean making changes to products or services, improving the customer experience, or even revising brand communications. Adaptability is essential to keeping customers loyal in a constantly changing marketplace.

The reasons for losing loyalty

A Clarus Commerce study (summarized here) based on a survey of 2,500 people in the United States reveals the factors that can drive a consumer to lose brand loyalty.

In particular, if the supply of high-quality products, a strong sense of community and better prices are the positive elements in building loyalty, to alienate people (about 65% of responses) is the decrease in product quality, while for almost half of users a price increase may push to try alternative products.

The majority of consumers also believe that brands are effective in raising awareness on important issues and influencing policy – even if they tend to believe that brands are taking a stand on social topics for purely economic reasons, for image, for marketing purposes or because they are “jumping on the bandwagon of the winner”: one person in three states that they are likely to lose their loyalty to a brand if they take a position on a social issue they disagree with, while about 1 in 6 also claims to lose their loyalty if they feel that a brand is not up to the values publicly declared.

Lo studio sui motivi di perdita di fedeltà

In most cases, respondents indicate that their favorite brands are in line with their own values, particularly regarding environmental and green practices (52%), employee treatment (51%), gender equality (49%) and racial justice (48%). Interestingly, young consumers are more aware of the values and social positions of brands than older consumers.

As said, then, the brand loyalty also serves to expand the user base and this report confirms it: 76% of people admit to be based on the opinions of friends and family and the classic word of mouth when making a purchase decision, and this also affects the same future loyalty more than media coverage (50%) and political opinions (54%).

Iscriviti alla newsletter

Try SEOZoom

7 days for FREE

Discover now all the SEOZoom features!