It is one thing to attract customers. It is another matter entirely to retain those customers over the years. Ironically, customer retention is perhaps the most efficient way to strengthen your brand. This can be thought of as 1. Keeping your customers happy with your products/services and 2. Keeping your brand more appealing than the competition. Preventing customers from switching brands is about both competitive assessment analyses and improving customer experience.
With all of this in mind, today we will discuss postmodern consumerism, oversaturation, customer loyalty, customer experience management, and ultimately how to turn potential consumers into loyal brand evangelists.
Postmodern Consumerism, Oversaturation, and the Current State of Branding
Politics and ideals aside, by most measures we are currently living in a postmodernist society. Postmodernism is “a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology.” If that all sounds a bit ethereal and philosophical, that’s because it is. Yet the concept of postmodern consumerism permeates customer behavior for several reasons, including:
Oversaturation and information overload: the modern consumer is cynical because they feel they have seen it all before. In many cases, they are right. Modern products and marketing campaigns thrive on reinventing the wheel.
Postmodern consumers are skeptical: beyond just cynicism, most consumers in 2020 and beyond have a baseline skepticism built from access to endless information. Any claims made by marketing materials are easily researched to be disproven or corroborated.
Sincerity still matters: when all the information in the world is at your consumers’ fingertips, they want to be sold on an idea or a feeling more than simple facts. This has led to the rise of brand personality and brand image as the cornerstone of marketing campaigns. Consumers want to connect with their favorite brands on a personal level now more than ever.
Customer Loyalty is Based on Emotional Attachment
As an extension of the above ideas, customer loyalty is now typically based on an emotional attachment to a brand or product rather than the practical applications of the product(s) themselves. While this has always been true to an extent, many postmodern consumer behaviors value relating to their favorite brands above all else. Here are a few key ways to use this paradigm shift to your advantage:
- Keep your brand message clear and consistent. Familiarity and even nostalgia are very powerful emotions. When we talk about customer retention, we should remember that customers want to stick with their current brand. By keeping brand messages clear and consistent, brands position themselves well to stay front and center of their customer’s decision making process.
- Make your customers feel safe. This might feel like a stretch, but providing a certain level of security for your customers by consistently meeting or exceeding expectations builds trust. This relieves stress and is certainly a factor in keeping customers from switching brands.
- Create “wow” moments. Going above and beyond to create a “wow” moment for your customers builds loyalty in the long run. Many companies focus on gaining new customers through targeted marketing, but over-delivering for your current customers can actually have even greater benefits.
- Make your customers feel right at home. Perhaps the biggest advantage of a strong brand personality is that your customers can view your brand almost as a human being with which they have a relationship. This leads customers to feel like they belong to a group or even a social circle. When your customers relate strongly with your brand identity, they are likely to remain a long-time customer.
How to Create Loyal Brand Advocates
Turning potential consumers into loyal brand advocates is the holy grail of marketing. You have essentially created an ongoing income stream from a group of individuals who previously were not purchasing or utilizing your services. As with many things that are highly sought after, this is no easy task. Customer retention is step one in creating a group of loyal brand advocates. It takes time for most customers to begin spreading the word of your brand. That is why successful brands focus on customers before, during, and after sales. Easy ways of doing this include establishing automated email campaigns, responding to customer reviews (good and bad), and emphasizing customer service.
Above all else, customer experience management leads to repeat customers and hopefully to loyal brand advocates. Customer experience management begins at the first contact between consumer and brand and should ideally never truly end. Successful brands don’t just focus on customer service, they understand that building an organic customer-brand relationship over time is the key to long term customer retention.
Retain Your Customers with Clock Tower Insight
Clock Tower Insight helps our clients to build their brands through any means necessary. We believe in using cutting edge research to deliver unparalleled insight and understanding into today’s rapidly changing marketplace. With over 15 years of dedicated experience, our marketing insight has helped organizations including Belle Tire, Nielsen, Orbitz, and Kraft Foods.
We are proud to offer a number of services to our clients, including customer experience management, brand positioning in the marketplace, market sizing, market testing, and more.