Brand Loyalty Marketing is the way to build enduring, profitable growth for your brands and company. But brand loyalty doesn't just happen; you must make it happen. These 10 basic principles of Brand Loyalty Marketing can guide you in the right direction:
1. The pillars of Brand Loyalty Marketing. Every marketing plan should contain four basic elements: What are we doing to identify, attract, defend and strengthen brand loyalty? Do you know whether your marketing efforts are rewarding or punishing brand loyalty?
2. Brands don't have life cycles. Company founders die, but a brand can live forever. A brand can grow in value over time. There is no such thing as product loyalty; we never speak of trademark loyalty. We refer only to brand loyalty, because brand loyalty is what endures.
3. Build leadership based on brand loyalty. Do not focus only on customer acquisition. Do not increase sales at the expense of brand loyalty. A loyal customer can be nine times as profitable as a disloyal one.
4. Be a leader in every market in which you choose to compete. Remember the Law of Dominance. One is wonderful; two can be terrific; three is threatened; four is fatal. Market leaders are three times as profitable as market followers.
5. Avoid undermarketing leaders. Market leadership is not an infinite annuity declaring dividends forever. Market leaders need support, too.
6. Be a pioneer. Don't just be a market leader. Lead the market in thought. Innovate in product design and in the marketing of those products. Continuous innovation is one way to stay ahead of these whose only claim is "me too but cheaper."
7. Know the value of your customers. Know the value of customer loyalty. There are four kinds of loyalists: category loyalists, set loyals, preferrers and enthusiasts. Do you know which your customers are? Enthusiasts will pay significantly more than category loyalists. Do you know how to attract more?
8. Keep your loyalists sold. Marketing is like nurturing a marriage; it is not a series of one-night stands. Worrying about the relationship you don't have, rather than strengthening the relationship you do have, is mismarketing, not Brand Loyalty Marketing.
9. Sell on quality, not on price. If the emphasis of the marketing message is price, then brand loyalty is being exploited, not enhanced. The primary focus of your brand message must be on how special you are, not how cheap you are. Whether in advertising or promotion, the goal must be to sell the distinctive quality of the brand.
10. Branding policy is business policy. Brand Loyalty Marketing will require a radical departure in business policies and practices. Brand Loyalty Marketing is not only for big, established brands or only for large companies. It is also an important concept for small brands and new brands. It is especially important for new brands where brand loyalty still needs to be nurtured. How you create trial sets the stage for future loyalty. Enduring profitable growth must be earned by building brand value as well as volume.
Mr. Light, president of Arcature Corp. marketing consultancy in Stamford, Conn., is also chairman of the Coalition for Brand Equity, a coalition of advertising and media associations.