A metric that lets market researchers make predictions about how a consumer will behave based on their emotional connection to the brand.
The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about. – Valeria Maltoni
Creating strong brand loyalty is considered the ultimate goal of marketing. By creating it, the theory claims, you can shorten the sales cycle and heighten adoption rates for future products since you already have customers who will stick with your brand. Although this is true up to a point, the ultimate goal should be creating a strong brand affinity rather than just brand loyalty. The reason is that brand affinity includes brand loyalty, and adds an emotional aspect to the relationship between the customer and the brand. This emotional connection is how you create customers who keep buying your products and even advertise on your behalf.
Brand loyalty is sticking with a brand because it stands for something, such as perceived quality, purity, familiarity, etc. Brand loyalty is in play when a customer chooses a particular brand of water over another, although they taste almost identical. Another example is this; if all other factors are the same, people choose the product they are more familiar with. Hence the huge budgets spent on advertising every year. Although brand loyalty must be an essential goal in your marketing strategy, you should exceed it and build brand affinity.
Brand affinity is sticking with a brand because doing so means something emotionally. A customer demonstrates brand affinity if he/she believes that the brand shares the same values with him/her. Brand affinity is in play when a customer who has three cats and two dogs chooses a sneaker brand over another, just because on social media he/she sees viral videos of cats and dogs chewing that brand’s sneakers.
The example with the sneakers doesn’t sound very logical, does it? However, the power of brand affinity over brand loyalty is that it’s based on emotions, rather than logic. Brand loyalty is more like a habit. It means that customer loyalty was established in the past for a reason, and now the customer habitually keeps buying the same brand.
The problem with this is that habits can be broken. Since the reason that created brand loyalty in the first place is based on logic, rather than emotions, it can be turned towards another brand. It’s easier to persuade a customer to give up his/her loyalty because you can reason with them. That's why you can easily convince someone to stop buying something. Brand affinity, on the other hand, is based on emotions, like love. You can’t persuade someone to stop loving something.
We live in a digital world now. It’s safe to assume that most of your customer base and target audience has social media accounts where they willingly tell you who they really are, what they are interested in, and what is that you need to do for them to have a brand affinity towards you, in other words, to love you.
Creating a strong brand affinity is very much like making friends. It all starts with listening and understanding them. By analyzing your target audience, you learn how to reach out to their hearts. For example, the age of your ideal customer will tell you what type of language and tone to use. If your customers are young, they will love you if your vocabulary is similar to theirs.
A proper analysis also tells you which celebrities and influencers have the most significant effect on your audience. Remember those high school years when being seen with the most popular boys and girls of the school made you famous also? The same thing goes on here too. Imagine that a photograph of a celebrity using your product is posted online. Fans of that celebrity will instantly switch to your brand just because their favorite person in the world does so. No matter how hard your competitor tries to persuade them that it’s more logical to buy from them rather than you, they won’t be even heard.
At Kimola, we can give you the clues to create a brand affinity. Thanks to AI-Powered anonymous profiling, we profile thousands of people anonymously in real-time through their social media activity. Our analysis provides your demographics of your customers. We tell you about their interests, their favorite celebrities and influencers, news channels they trust, TV shows they watch, other brands they are interested in, and so much more. Using this valuable information, you can form a strategy that will build an emotional connection with your target audience. You’ll make them “friends” of your brand.
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