Over the years, consumers have grown more discerning and scrutinous when it comes to choosing brands they do business with.
What do they want in exchange for their loyalty? A good product or excellent service at a good price remains a vital part of the loyalty equation. But to earn the loyalty of modern consumers, brands have to do more than offer discounts and free items.
Sure, hyper-personalization fueled by consumer data helps with the loyalty part. But organizations need to understand that brand purpose and values have become increasingly important factors in cultivating brand loyalty in consumers. Why? Because enterprises that share the same values and purposes with their customers have built massive followings, enjoy significant success, and generate huge revenues, even in trying and disruptive times.
The Impact of Brand Purpose on Loyalty
Brand purpose, simply put, is the reason why the brand exists in the first place. A brand’s purpose is crucial to loyalty because it effectively demonstrates how brands are more than their products and services.
Take, for instance, Nike’s brand purpose:
“Our Purpose is to move the world forward through the power of sport – breaking barriers and building community to change the game for all.”
With societal purpose, brands show their customers that they are doing something bigger and more worthwhile than just turning a profit. When a brand’s purpose resonates with consumers, the impact to consumer loyalty is immensely positive.
The numbers say it. Nearly half (46%) of consumers say they only do business with brands with a wider societal purpose. The vast majority (89%) of American shoppers say they are “more likely to support a brand earning a profit if they also have a positive impact on the world”.
Purpose-driven brands enjoy better sales and market performance as well. Enterprises that have effectively demonstrated their purpose outperform the stock market by 120%.
Aligned Brand Values Foster Loyalty
If the brand purpose is the reason why a brand exists, brand values, on the other hand, are demonstrated in how brands do business. Brand values are the beliefs an enterprise stands for. They act as a compass, guiding the company’s actions, decision-making, behaviors, as well as its overall journey.
Values vary, from diversity in the workplace to reducing environmental footprint to equal opportunities for all.
Among the leading brands operating on a values-centered approach are Patagonia (environmentalism through sustainable, circular fashion economy), Toms (equity-focused grassroots funding), and Bombas (social responsibility through provision of clothing materials to homeless individuals).
Even after allocating generous amounts of money and resources for their respective causes, market values for each company are projected to grow.
When shopping online, 60% of American consumers consider brand values as part of their purchasing decision. While consumers think that every purchase is a conscious effort, 95% of purchasing decisions are driven by the unconscious, said Harvard professor and market insights analyst Gerald Zaltman. Because that’s where a brand’s core values reside within the customer.
Brand values matter because these can affect how consumers perceive a brand. More importantly, consumers whose values are aligned with a particular brand tend to become loyal to that brand.
Communicating Purpose and Values is A Must
When leveraged together, brand purpose and values make a formidable marketing combination. Studies have shown how consumers are willing to buy more from brands they are loyal to. They even display this loyalty by staying with a brand when a competitor might offer a better deal.
But even more impressive is how consumers become passionate ambassadors and defenders of brands they love when there’s little to no incentive. Thus, it’s crucial for brands to communicate their purpose and values to cultivate loyalty.
The problem, however, is that communicating purpose and values is more complex than sharing out a written statement or dispensing a few motivational, inspirational words.
More than taking a stand on issues and supporting noble causes, consumers expect brands to practice what they preach. To communicate purpose and values, brands have to be authentic, responsive, and interactive.
If brands can do that, they can do more than inspire consumer loyalty. They can fix and reestablish a more meaningful and rewarding relationship with their customers.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts.