Everybody wants loyalty. Every person, business and leader. And that’s certainly true for brands.
Wanting it is one thing. Obtaining it is another. And creating loyalty that stands the test of time, well, that’s what every brand aspires to, right? We call that last stage brand addiction.
To get there, a brand must capture the hearts and minds of its customers, fostering real connections that encourage advocacy. And to do that, brands need to venture outside of their norms—and comfort zones.
How can marketers shape customer interactions to drive this kind of brand addiction? Well, we have some thoughts on that. Consider this:
- Start with the data. We always put this at #1. To fuel brand addiction, brands need to understand who their customers are, what they want out of their brand experience, and how they interact with the brand. That’s the data that drives the creative strategy and ultimately, customer engagement. Don’t make the mistake of developing creative first and then backing into a strategy that fits.
- Open a dialogue. Be interesting and interested. Don’t let the conversation with your customers be one-sided. Let them respond back and initiate communications with the brand. A brand that does all the talking misses the opportunity to listen and learn. The dialogue needs to be honest, transparent and even transcendent beyond the brand’s products and services. Learn about their interests. Support their passions. These connections will manifest themselves into a community that believes in the brand, as much as the brand believes in it.
- Grant consumers autonomy. Allow them to enhance the brand. Nurture an atmosphere for consumers to creatively demonstrate their belief in the brand. For brands they love, loyal consumers create self-directed advocacy communities, and it’s the brand’s job to let them develop, build and amplify these communities with the brand, not in spite of it. Consumer-directed communities fortify relationships, increase loyalty and fuel brand addiction. People tend to support what they help create.
Is brand addiction possible for every brand? Absolutely.
Is brand addiction possible for every brand? Absolutely. There are some great brands who have mastered brand addiction. Starbucks created its own language and experience that has spread across the globe, while maintaining a local coffee shop feel. Now they’re the go-to spot for both social and business meetings. Other household brands with fiercely devoted customer bases include Nike and Apple… and Harley-Davidson, whose customers are willing to literally tattoo themselves with the brand’s logo.
Achieving brand-addiction isn’t the end of the journey. How customers feel about the brand can change in the blink of an eye. To stay relevant to customers, brands need to consistently engage, learn, adapt and anticipate not just what consumers want, but what they might not even know they need.
Are your customer interactions driving brand addiction? Let us help you find out.