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It starts with experience: How brands and consumers can become friends for life

by Oliver Hupp , 09.06.2017

Every brand wants to broaden its client base, but to achieve this is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers.

The key to success lies in building a relationship between consumer and brand. From this strong foundation, you can increase penetration, but also upgrade light buyers into regular buyers, and increase the resistance of loyal buyers to switch to a rival brand. You can achieve brand success by making “friends for life”. Here’s how:

Brand awareness + experience = success

It goes without saying that you need to ensure your brand is top-of-mind in the shopper’s consideration set. At the simplest level, that means having a brand that consumers know, one that is available where they are shopping, and that grabs their attention. For many brands, consumers’ awareness levels of them are already high, and so more effort is required to increase brand penetration and customer loyalty.

Here knowledge is power. Understanding which touchpoints have the maximum impact on your brand allows you to optimize advertising and promotions campaigns aimed at broadening your client base. But you must go further to foster relationship building with non-buyers and current buyers of your brand by providing positive memorable experiences. This is how to build the relationships you want with current and potential customers and create lifelong partnerships.

It’s all in the relationship

Shoppers will only browse and buy your brand if they have a neutral or good relationship with it, past negative experiences represent a considerable obstacle. That’s not to say you can’t change those bad feelings, but you must identify them and understand the causes before you can convert these consumers into browsers and buyers.

Becoming friends for life

A strong brand relationship goes right to the heart of the challenge of conquering the connected shopper. To broaden your customer base, you must start from a point of brand awareness, but in today’s highly competitive environment, that is a starting point in all sectors. The crucial added element that offers success is to build lasting relationships – to become “friends for life” with customers. The only way to get customer loyalty is to earn it. Providing a consistently excellent user experience across all channels is key, as is ensuring that your products deliver exactly what consumers expect. The final piece of the jigsaw is developing an effective customer loyalty program that provides real benefits to your consumers and whilst also strengthening your relationship with them.

Oliver Hupp is Global Director Brand Strategy and Tracking at GfK. He can be reached at Oliver.Hupp@gfk.com.