3 Keys To Building Brand Loyalists


Think of the most passionate brand loyalists. Mac enthusiasts for whom Apple is not just a symbol – it’s a badge. Partisans in the video game console wars taking to social media to fight battles of words between Xbox and PlayStation. Sports fans that dress in team gear and live for game days. Exercise fanatics who swear by particular brands of athletic gear to give them an edge. These individuals don’t just buy a brand’s products; more than just that, they are defining themselves by the brands they choose to purchase because it aligns to their lifestyle, their ethos, or their beliefs.

The key thread that bonds customers to brands in each of these cases is that they engage emotionally. Apple invited users to “Think Different” and more recently asked, “What’s Your Verse”; they instill a sense of belonging in a unique culture. Both video games and sports deliver entertainment punctuated with intense emotions of victory and defeat, leading fans to vigorously defend the brands that are their conduits for those emotions. Exercise is packed with emotion as well: you persevere through pain with those Nikes; if you’re a runner, those Adidas shoes, clothes and running app are your lone companions for thousands of miles. There are many tools of the trade in brand marketing, but the bottom line for success with any technique is to form an emotional connection with the customer that sticks.

Here are three storytelling components that can be particularly well suited for winning the customer lifecycle by getting them to emotionally experience a brand, and want to become part of it for the long haul:

Video Storytelling

When it comes to communicating the feelings associated with your brand, video storytelling is probably the most emotionally evocative medium available.  This is where you can tell your brand stories through compelling, memorable visuals. Whatever your brand attributes are, whether the tone of the story you’re telling is exciting or uplifting or inspirational, focus on the human element and connect personally with your audience. Be definitive with your brand proposition, values, and mission. What are the issues for which your brand offers a solution? What does your brand believe in? Communicate what the brand does better for customers in their lives and their world, and make it something they can be a part of.

Cross-Device Experiences

Building brand experiences and forging lasting customer relationships means being dependably consistent from one encounter to the next. Like in any relationship, it’s important to let the customer get to know you, and that’s best accomplished by having every facet of your brand speak with one voice. As today’s customers access a brand across devices from desktop to mobile to tablet, across the digital landscape from Twitter to the website to the customer service line, or even from online to a physical store, offering seamless experiences is critical to the brand’s integrity and perception.  Brands must create interfaces that don’t just solve user issues piecemeal, but go beyond to maintain the customer’s conception of the brand throughout all their interactions. Executed correctly, this allows the brand to earn the customer’s feeling of trust.

Data And Personalization

In today’s brand marketing, the act of connecting personally with customers during their brand experiences can be augmented by technology capable of recognizing and responding dynamically to each individual. In a 2014 study from Adobe asking US marketers what areas will be most important to their company’s marketing moving forward, the top two responses were personalization and big data. The study also found that 76% of those surveyed believe marketers need to be more data-focused to succeed.

Customer service representatives, apps, and other brand channels can use centralized data to know what products an individual customer owns and the history of their experiences, improving the perception of the brand as a single-voiced and familiar entity. A Janrain/Harris Interactive study finds that three out of four online consumers get frustrated when content or promotions appear that have nothing to do with their interests. At the same time, 57% of consumers are fine with providing personal information as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in responsible ways.

A customer who feels that a brand knows them is more likely to stick with them  when in need of a new product. In this way, through personalization, leveraging the correct data to stay familiar with customers, and being reliable in times of need, the brand achieves an emotional reaction not unlike that of being a friend.

Any brand can achieve these kinds of emotional connections by creating engaging and personal experiences that reach customers in their own lives. With today’s video storytelling – as well as unified and personalized experiences offering brand interactions rich with feeling – the right marketing strategy can integrate with digital technology to create not just product sales, but to win passionate users who love their products, advocate on behalf of brands, and buy and buy again.