The Power of Building Brand Loyalty

In today’s competitive consumer landscape, brand loyalty is more than just a trend. Whether you have a go-to trainer brand or you have sworn allegiance to that one indie pizzeria, at the heart of this brand loyalty lies trust.

Brand loyalty isn’t something that can be bought, forced, or talked into existence, your brand needs to truly resonate with customers to build this (almost) unbreakable bond that will serve as the foundation of your customer base.

So let’s get into it, from the advocate army of Apple to the everydayers at your local coffee shop, brand loyalty can be found everywhere you look. Piqued your interest? Keep reading to learn more.

What is brand loyalty?

Most definitions of brand loyalty are going to be along the lines of “brand loyalty is when customers continue to purchase from the same brand over and over again, despite competitors offering similar products or services”. And whilst not technically incorrect there is so much more to brand loyalty than continued purchasing.

Brand loyalty is more emotional. It is the experience that an individual gains from interacting with a brand, it’s how the brand makes them feel, what it makes them remember, and how it mirrors or amplifies their personality.

Truth is, brand loyalty comes in so many forms, for our digital marketing executive, he is loyal to Mark’s Fish and Chip shop in Southwold, not only for their taste but for the sentimental memories he holds going there when he was young. For our creative director, he is loyal to ZEN Internet thanks to their customer-focused approach and availability that he simply could not attain at any of the ‘big’ providers.

So although loyalty can be defined as repeat purchases, there is so much more that goes into it than that simple and boring definition, two things that brand loyalty is not.

The importance of brand loyalty and how it contributes to the success of a brand

So why is brand loyalty important? Brand loyalty is important to every brand for unique reasons, and because of this, brand loyalty contributes to the success of brands in different ways.

Brand loyalty drives growth

At its foundation, brand loyalty is important as it drives growth, new customers become repeat customers and repeat customers become brand-loyal customers. This then snowballs and creates a virtuous circle of loyal customers bringing new customers to your brand through word of mouth, and the cycle (hopefully) continues repeating.

Beyond and in between this foundation, it’s important to consider the relationship that you want your customer to have with your brand, this is what builds loyalty. Brand loyalty is far more than just repeat purchases, it is the emotional connection and experience that is nurtured between the brand and the customer.

Consistency is key to brand loaylty

Consistency is key to brand loyalty, and every touchpoint needs to scream your brand personality, from physical locations to digital media, your brand’s personality, values, and mission need to be continuously upheld.

A master of consistency is Mastercard, a client we have had the opportunity to work with on multiple projects. Working with global brands such as Mastercard, we already have access to a comprehensive brand toolkit which includes brilliant sonic elements. Mastercard understands the importance of positive emotional connections and the sonic brand plays a key role in reaching deeper into its customer’s psyche. As well as building brand assets based on these existing elements, we have also explored mixed reality (or, spatial computing according to Apple) experiences with Mastercard to deepen those emotional connections.

Talking of Apple, everyone knows them, a lot of people love them and swear by their products. Not only do their products howl innovation and minimalism, but every possible stakeholder touchpoint also does this. From their headquarters in Silicon Valley to their stores in your local shopping centre, when it’s Apple, you can’t just tell it’s Apple, you can feel it.

Experience and interactions are key. Creating an experience dedicated to your target audience, that provides valued interactions from their perspective is the first step to building loyalty and will contribute endlessly to the success of a brand.

What are the most effective strategies for building brand loyalty?

Each business differs as one loyalty-building technique will work for one brand whereas it won’t for another. So, whilst we cannot give you a definite answer, we can look at examples created for our clients.

Let’s take a look at the work we completed for ElectricalDirect. They are competing against some industry giants, and so need to punch above their weight to get noticed in order to start getting some brand loyalty traction. Our campaign for them highlighted their superior customer service compared to their competitors which delivered 3.8x more engagement than originally targeted. In this instance, our job was to shout about the key loyalty factor, but ElectricalDirect still had to deliver on the promise.


But this strategy wouldn’t have worked for other clients though, as messaging, values, purpose, audience, and delivery all differ. Each brand needs to approach building brand loyalty in a way that suits them and their audience, there is no one-size-fits-all here.

“Brands need to understand what their loyalty is going to be based upon, understanding their own brand proposition is key, then think how are you going to communicate that?” – Dan Smith, Creative Director, Engine Creative.

When we work with clients, we do our best to give those clients all the necessary tools and ammunition they need to create a consistent brand that resonates with their audiences.

From in-depth discovery workshops that explore core business objectives to brand toolkits that give you everything you need to deliver effective brand activations, Engine Creative can support your business to understand and build your brand loyalty.

But doing that is only half the job. Your brand needs a brand guardian or guardians to protect your image and ensure that the message, tone, values, mission and the rest are consistent across all touchpoints.

Is it possible for all brands to build brand loyalty?

Yes, it is. Let us explain why.

Let’s test it first, can you name any brand that wouldn’t benefit from loyal advocates in one way or another? Let us know if you can because the team here couldn’t think of any…

No matter whether you’re a luxury car manufacturer like Aston Martin or a local store that is incredibly authentic, you should always aim to create brand advocates.

“No matter the product, loyalty can be built. Take something as ubiquitous as the everyday screw. How come certain brands keep selling them in their thousands or millions? There is going to be something distinct to each of them that means they’ve got a sustainable business model – whether it’s product quality, customer service, or something else. Each successful brand inherently knows what their point of loyalty is and builds a business on it.” – Andy Wise, Client Services Director, Engine Creative.

Another hurdle that brands face is highly competitive markets, but brand loyalty provides a simple solution.

Be better than everyone else at something, and do it consistently.

That might sound like we’re making it out to be easy. We know it’s not, but it’s what you need to do. Whether you have impeccable product quality, outstanding customer service, or are always ahead of the curve in terms of new technology, you need to find something your target audience wants and lean in to it with conviction.

What do brands overlook when it comes to building brand loyalty?

In the pursuit of brand loyalty, one crucial aspect often overlooked by brands is the power of emotion. Whilst pricing, features, and other factors play their part, it is the ability to evoke and tap into customers’ emotions that truly sets a brand apart.

Emotion has the remarkable ability to build relationships and forge lasting connections, it is through emotion that brands transcend being a mere option in a sea of choice and become a trusted companion in customers’ lives.

You need to go beyond the surface level of marketing and decipher how your values, stories, and experiences align with what emotions you want to evoke.

Redefining a brand experience

For another of our clients, ICAEW, brand loyalty is something that needs to be built from the first moment a budding accountant comes into contact with them and this is the opportunity we helped to maximise with our work on the student onboarding redesign.

We focussed on positive messages and imagery that spoke directly to the students in a clear and consistent way, highlighting the positive benefits of being part of ICAEW and showing the support they’d receive throughout their careers. This approach was fresh for ICAEW but built on the reasons for the current brand loyalty they enjoy with existing members.

Brand loyalty statistics

The data speaks for itself – brand loyalty significantly impacts businesses. These compelling statistics demonstrate how crucial cultivating loyal customers is for driving growth and maintaining a competitive advantage. The numbers reinforce the power of building brand devotion.

88% of consumers say that it takes three or more purchases to build brand loyalty.

Source: Exploding Topic

56% of consumers say that customer service is “very important” in brand choice and loyalty.

Source: Microsoft

61% of consumers have severed relationships with a brand over poor customer service.

Source: Microsoft

More than half of customers go out of their way to purchase from brands that they are loyal to.

Source: Zendesk

Customers that are loyal to brands will spend an average of 33% more than other customers.

Source: Annex Cloud

81% of shoppers make purchase decisions based on their level of trust in a brand.

Source: Annex Cloud

68% of consumers have recommended a brand to someone due to a good service experience.

Source: Criteo

99% of consumers believe that brands need to improve their trustworthiness.

Source: Snabble

Nearly 90% of consumers would switch to a brand that shares their values and morals.

Source: Fortunly

Will artificial intelligence and other tech force brand loyalty to evolve?

Yes, and no, it depends…sorry. But that’s the truth, depending on the nature of you’re business will depend on how much future technology will impact it.

The opportunity to build loyalty can often come through technical innovations. Whether it’s moving from a ‘traditional’ high street bank where the customer service has been outsourced and the banking app is decidedly below average (yep, we’re speaking from experience), to a new digital-only bank, let’s call them Starling, with a brilliant app and onboarding experience, technology can be key in terms of brand loyalty. We’ve seen it with the work we’re doing with Arden University and their shift to an immersive learning model. They’re gaining new students at an impressive rate, in no small part due to the technical innovations that have been implemented.

Technology will impact different brands, differently…

Let’s take a global brand that prides itself on customer service for example, there are ways that they could include AI into their systems to provide better experiences for customers. Maybe they could implement AI chatbots, giving consumers faster, more reliable, and more efficient responses. Or perhaps delivery is improved to same day depending on how transport or delivery devices improve in the future. For these types of businesses that operate at such a scale, it’s almost inevitable that they could use technology to help build brand loyalty.

But then let’s scale it down, there is a shop close to our studio called “The Italian Shop”, you guessed it, they sell Italian produce. It’s a very small independent business and has loyal advocates for their high product quality and authenticity. Would they benefit from AI or other tech? We highly doubt it as it would take away from their authentic values and friendly service, which is what drives their advocates to consistently return and recommend the shop to those that they know.

You can see that when it comes to brand loyalty there is no be-all and end-all, no foolproof plan, and no single answer to any question. Each brand is unique and will create advocates in an equally unique way.

Need help with your brand? Let us know.

From global giants to national brands, we have worked with them all to help them create, transform, maintain, or reimagine their brands.

Inspired to build some brand loyalty? Contact us today and talk to our expert team to see how we can help.