When your brand comes up in conversation, do people know about it? Do they know what product or service your brand specializes in, be it modern Indian fast food, fitness for women or glass repair?
If your brand is well established, this is a good thing, as long as people have a positive impression of your brand. Yet, knowing a brand and loving a brand are not the same thing. Take Apple as an example. I’m often impressed with how loyal their customers are. Every time a new product comes out – new iPod, the iPad, the latest iPhone – people flock to the stores as if they were lining up for tickets for a U2 concert.
Someone who loves a brand is a fan. Fans buy that product or service with frequency. They love the brand because they, as fans, feel special in their association with your brand. When they feel special, they tell others. In the end, your client base grows as your fans spread the word about your product or service. Your ultimate goal should not only be to achieve brand awareness, but rather, to develop a customer base that loves your brand and becomes loyal fans of your brand.
How do you do this? Loyalty starts not with price or selection but rather with your customers knowing you truly care about them. How do you communicate this to them? Some of the most current and cost-effective methods are the following:
1. Thank-you cards
2. Birthday cards
3. Follow-up calls
4. Responding promptly to their requests for information
5. Facebook posts and invitations to sales and events
6. E-newsletters or special promotional emails
7. Remember their name when you or your staff see them next
8. Customer appreciation gifts
9. Twitter posts
10. Taking your biggest fans out for lunch
11. Calling when a new line of products they like is in stock
12. Asking for their feedback as a valued customer
13. Thanking them for their business
Do your customers truly love your brand? How are you making sure they do?