The Learning Center
AKA... The Blog
AKA... The Blog
Are you loyal to a specific brand? Brands such as Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks have built a massive following of brand loyal customers throughout the years. These customers are not just fans of the products and services; they are also fans of the brand itself. Without brand loyalty, these companies would simply be another technology company, soft drink or coffee shop. Brand loyalty is what keeps these companies afloat and at the top of the consumer’s mind. Brand loyalty has also lead to several rivalries. For example, you’d never see a loyal Coca-Cola customer purchasing a Pepsi, and Microsoft customers would never fathom purchasing an Apple product. What initiates these fanatic customers and how can it be created at the local level?
For small business owners operating at the local level, creating brand loyalty can be a challenge. With multiple bakeries, auto repair shops, and other local businesses within a town or city, it can be difficult to garner brand loyalty for your business. Do not become discouraged, because creating brand loyalty at the local level is possible.
Let’s say that you own a coffee shop in a medium-sized town. Chances are, you are not the only coffee shop in town. In order to drive consumers to your business and start creating brand loyalty, you have to differentiate your business, product, service and brand from your local competitors. As a local coffee shop, do you only use the finest beans on the market? Perhaps you employ the services of only local vendors. You need to convey to your potential customers what sets you apart from the local competition. Whether it’s the quality of your espresso drinks or the welcoming environment, your company’s unique positioning will assist you in growing your local brand loyalty.
As a small business owner, you may use a variety of cost-savings tactics to stretch your dollar to the fullest. With the increase in technology, many small businesses have minimized their marketing and advertising budget by using social media to promote their business. Using regularly updated social media channels is a great way to garner brand loyalty for your local business. Your customers will use these channels to start or continue conversations with your business. Consumers who are actively engaged online and in-person are more likely to choose your business over the competition the next time they need or want your product and service. Be sure that your business page ‘likes’ other local pages and businesses in order to continue the local outreach and loyalty effort.
Another great way to build brand loyalty at the local level is to become involved in your community. Whether you choose to participate in fundraisers, community events, or sponsor a local sports team, this initiative will show the locals that you genuinely care about assisting the community. Generally, individuals will choose a company that takes part in the community over one that only cares about his/her business. In addition, by getting out into your community, you have the opportunity to speak directly to existing and future customers. Through face-to-face interactions with customers and various networking opportunities, you’ll be on the right path to creating brand loyalty locally.
Customers are on the hunt for businesses that offer superior customer service and products. This is especially true at the local level. Customers are constantly looking for ways to support their community, and what better way to do that than shopping at a local business with stellar products and service. As a business owner, you have full control over the quality of your services and products. Be sure to provide your local customers with the best possible services and keep them coming back through your door.
Once you have gotten customers to come back for your spectacular service, it’s time to begin founding the customer relationship. Every business owner understands the underlying value of customer relationships. When you develop a mutual relationship with a loyal customer, this person becomes a brand advocate for your business. If you notice a customer has used your services more than once, strike up a conversation and launch the customer relationship. You’ve probably heard the saying “If a customer receives great service, he’ll tell three people. If a customer receives bad service, he’ll tell ten people”. Build your local brand loyalty by providing superior service at all times and maintaining strong customer relationships with your customers.
Customers are not the only brand advocates your company will have. Your employees also serve as brand advocates. If you’re looking to gain local brand loyalty, you better provide your employees with a great environment to work in. At the age of sixteen, I obtained my first job as a “sandwich artist” at the local Quiznos sub shop. With the less than desirable work conditions, poor management applications and several missed paychecks, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a brand advocate for Quiznos.
Your employees have friends and families in the community, with whom they will discuss their employment. Build your brand locally by having a great place to work and treating employees with the respect they deserve. By positioning yourself as a top place to work in the community, you’ll have customers lining up at your door and spreading the word to other potential customers in no time.
Gaining brand loyalty at the local level takes time, patience and planning. With these tricks up your sleeve, you’ll have the ability to garner strong brand loyalty in your community.