Establishing Brand Loyalty in an Increasingly Brand Disloyal World

Only twenty-five percent of American respondents in a recent Ernst & Young study said that brand loyalty affected how they shopped.
For established brands, this is a nightmare. You can never coast on past performance … and the price premium that a recognized brand can charge has shrunk.

If brand loyalty is created by what a brand stands for, here’s your opportunity to share your point of view with likeminded people who want to purchase a product, visit a destination, or have an experience. Instead of thinking about the 75% of American respondents who say brand loyalty doesn’t play a role in their purchasing decisions as an overwhelming challenge, we see it as the perfect time to connect what your brand is doing from a product standpoint with the content you’re producing from a brand perspective.

Brand affinity isn’t just created through the success of a product. Brands can create differentiation through a content strategy that sells the experience, not simply the product (we explored this in detail in our Outdoor Retailer Winter 2015 presentation). eConsultancy has some good insights and examples of branded video, but of course content strategy isn’t just about video – it’s all the content: stories through words, photos, and video, the way products are described (J. Peterman?), the interactions on social media and through relationship management, even down to the way the price of sale items are displayed.

For our clients in the travel/tourism space, ultimately the brand of a place is created by the experiences people have there. And in many of the situations with visitor and convention bureaus, they have little to no control over the actual experience since they are marketing organizations, not the actual hotels, restaurants, and attractions that people are visiting. So how can a CVB or DMO create brand affinity when they don’t control the in-person, on-location experience? By focusing on content and context to highlight the experiences that define their brand. Content strategy in tourism is what inspires potential travelers, sets expectations for their visit, and provides context on the great stuff to do in an area which support a tourism board’s brand objectives.

From the quote above, if brands can’t “coast on past performance,” they need to focus on setting brand expectations by communicating experiences people will have in the future. Brands fail when either the expectations are too low, or the expectations don’t match the realities. In travel and tourism, setting expectations is a way for a brand to share an experience people want to have in reality. Creating a price premium (and in the case of tourism, spending discretionary funds on travel) and moving people from thinking about travel to actually taking the trip is based on the brand. What travelers can do is important; sharing a point of view for why travelers should care creates people loyal to a valuable brand.

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