How to Drive Customer Loyalty Like the Best Food Brands
Food brands constantly look for loyal customers – the customers most likely to continue buying from them, rather than a competitor, throughout the indefinite future. But how can you secure this customer loyalty as a food brand?
The Value of Customer Loyalty
It’s hard to overstate the value of customer loyalty. If your customers are loyal, you’ll see a multitude of benefits, including:
- Recurring revenue. First, your most loyal customers are going to be more likely to buy from you in the future. If they’ve already purchased some of your most popular food products and thoroughly enjoyed them, they will be much more likely to buy those products in the future and try some of your other products as well. With proper execution, loyal customers can end up spending many, many times more than their non loyal counterparts. Ultimately, that means far more revenue for your brand.
- Referrals and evangelism. It’s estimated that word-of-mouth marketing drives a total of $6 trillion in annual consumer spending. If you can tap into the power of that word of mouth marketing, you can significantly increase your revenue. Loyal customers are much more likely to issue referrals and practice brand evangelism. If people are obsessed with one of your most popular food products, they are likely to recommend it to their friends and family. They may also likely talk about it online, on social media, and in public forums, driving even more interest in your brand.
- Defense against competitors. Securing customer loyalty is also a defensive move against your top competitors. Customers who are totally loyal to your brand will prefer your products to any competing offers. For example, suppose someone is unquestioningly loyal to Coca-Cola. In that case, they may specifically avoid Pepsi products in-store, occasionally going to multiple stores to ensure they get the product that best fits them.
How the Best Food Brands Win Loyal Customers
How do the best food brands win customer loyalty?
- A thorough understanding of their target audience. Everything starts with a better understanding of your target audience. This is the premise behind shopper marketing. If you better understand your target audience, you can better appeal to them specifically. And this means your products, your packaging, your presentation, and your other forms of messaging will all be specifically in alignment with the perspectives and values of your customers.
For example, if your target audience is health-conscious parents, you can tailor your marketing and advertising campaigns to appeal to their sensibilities. You can extoll the health benefits of your food products, showcase how children genuinely enjoy your food products, and use clever branding and packaging to reassure these parents that they’re making the best decision.
It would help if you started with exhaustive market research to capitalize on this strategy. First, consider different audience segments and capture as much information as possible about each one. Then, use surveys, focus groups, and other forms of testing to experiment and nail down the best possible approach for reaching each audience segment.
- Absolute consistency. Consistency matters in all forms. If your brand or your products aren’t consistent, it’s practically impossible to secure customer loyalty. That’s because customers only make repeated decisions when they feel confident that those decisions will result in the same outcomes.
For starters, you need to think about brand consistency. Your logo, your colors, your tone, your values, and the style of your messaging all need to be absolutely consistent across all channels. The same is true of your customer service provision and ongoing messaging with customers. People need to feel like they’re constantly interacting with the same entity, whether shopping in a different store or interacting with it on another channel.
It would be best if you also thought about your product consistency. For example, when someone buys a bag of potato chips in 2022, will it taste and feel the same as that bag of potato chips in 2021? If your quality assurance is inconsistent or buying your product is always a slight gamble, customers aren’t loyal to you.
- Unparalleled customer service. Your customer service needs to be exemplary at all stages. Excellent customer service is practically the only way to win back someone who has had a negative experience with your brand; issuing an apology, a replacement product, and an assurance that the problem is resolved could be enough to transform an irritated customer into a loyal customer for life.
Good customer service is also valuable for enhancing the loyalty of already loyal customers; it’s a way of doubling down on existing sentiments. And if you practice customer service on a public channel, like social media, demonstrating exemplary customer service can attract new people to your brand.
- Ongoing evolution and innovation. As we’ve established, consistency is essential, but it’s also important to keep evolving and innovating. As a result, you can preserve your brand values and voice while offering new food products, new spins on old classics, and updated imagery to better serve modern consumers.
There’s something to be said for the power of tradition; keeping things consistent even after years of cultural changes can still appeal to your oldest customers and people seeking nostalgia. But most food brands can’t rely on tradition and nostalgia alone. Keep experimenting with new tastes, angles, and approaches if you want to remain relevant.
- Customer loyalty incentives. Finally, one of the best ways to secure customer loyalty is to incentivize loyalty. Even the most basic customer loyalty programs do an effective job of encouraging customers to keep coming back for future purchases.
As a simple example, you might reward customers with “points” based on the number of products they purchase or the dollar amount they spend. Once they accumulate a specific threshold of points, they can cash those points in for complimentary products or significant discounts in the future. If you offer a similar product as a competitor, but only you have a customer loyalty program, most customers will instantly prefer your product over the competing product.
Are you struggling to keep your customers loyal? Are you interested in getting more value from your target audience? NewPoint Marketing can help. From market research to in-store shopper marketing, we have the strategies and expertise to improve your brand position. Contact us for a free consultation today!