We all have brands that we go back to time and time again. We get so attached to some brands, in fact, that deviating from them can feel like a kind of betrayal. Without a doubt, enduring brand loyalty is more like a long-term, committed relationship than a blind date gone bad or a short-term fling at Camp Wa-kon-da. But to keep the sparks flying in your relationships with customers, you have to give them opportunities to relate personally to your company and play an active part in your brand journey.
To start, take a cue from John Hiatt’s classic song, and “have a little faith” in your customers. Solid relationships are supposed to be built on trust, right? So let your customers be your brand ambassadors, and trust them to share your story. Take the time to get detailed feedback, asking customers for specific results they’ve experienced from your company. Then request that they share their thoughts with you and with other people. Maybe even form a dedicated advisory panel of your long-held customers to gather routine insights on your products or services. Whether it’s a brief customer testimonial on your homepage, an in-depth case study, or a five-star Facebook review, letting real-life customers be the voice of your brand keeps them involved while lending major credibility to your company and capturing the interest of others.
But before you get too excited about letting your customers do all the work, consider ways you can get out there and actively engage with current and potential customers. Don’t hide behind email if you can help it. Go to your customers. Be present. Spend time with them. Let them put faces to the names within your company and get to know the people behind your brand. Attending and sponsoring community and industry events is also a great way to drive genuine interaction with your existing and future customers.
Last but certainly not least, don’t take your loyal customers for granted or allow their dedication to go unnoticed. As in any long-term relationship, you’ve got to share the love and buy some roses from time to time. Show your appreciation to customers with thoughtful rewards and gifts, including unique specials and personalized promotions that are relevant to them. Be creative! Think of different ways to continually let your customers know that they are important to you.
Building and igniting effective brand strategies is hard work. So don’t let all your efforts fade by neglecting to get your customers involved. Keep the flames of commitment and engagement going by making customers central to your company’s identity.