“We have a strong corporate brand, but our audience is not loyal to us…” This is a common topic of discussion in many boardrooms. Thanks to the digital revolution, anyone can do research online to compare different brands or shop around for the best deal from retailers around the world. So, how can you keep your customers from focusing solely on the lowest price and instead, build strong brand loyalty? Laurens Hoekstra has the answer.

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What makes a brand appealing?

How do you build loyalty between your brand and your customers? By connecting with them on a more meaningful level. A brand should appeal to a consumer on more than just price, it should build an emotional connection and it should give something back to the consumer who will be thinking, “What’s in it for me?”. The brand should also become an integral part of every day life and part of the customer’s lifestyle. If you are able to make these connections, then you will begin to attract loyal customers who will return to your brand, time and time again.

How can a brand really speak to people?

So, where do you start? The process of building an emotional connection with consumers actually begins within the organisation. Once you have perfected your corporate strategy, and developed a strong internal brand culture, you will then be able to build your brand externally. The most important step during this process is to involve all employees in your organisation in the development of the brand culture. From the administration, to the board of directors, maintenance staff to the sales department, all departments are part of the process of building and shaping the brand. Eventually your organisation will express its core values from the inside out, which makes the messaging more personal. Your people give your brand a human connection and sense of familarity, which is the best way to connect with consumers and show them your are worth their loyalty.

Creating a strong corporate culture

There are several aspects you can look at when it comes to creating a successful corporate culture: Are your people satisfied? What is the structure of your culture? What role does the CEO play? What drives your people, besides their salary and the balance between their work and private lives? If you can answer these questions then you should have the insight required to manage and inspire your employees more effectively. Then, examine how your brand manifests itself, both from the inside out and from the outside in. By doing this you can begin creating a team of home-grown brand ambassadors from your employees. Ensure that they are aware of what the company stands for, and prove it to them. Provide regular training opportunities so that they may experience and internalise your brand values. Satisfied employees will subconsciously share your brand’s values and message with those around them in a genuine, enthusiastic manner – and this is truly effective!

The brand ambassador

Creating brand ambassadors is crucial for the development of a strong brand. As previously mentioned, it all starts with your employees, but the next step is to create external brand ambassadors. These representatives can be realised by gaining support from satisfied customers, investors, the media, and other key influencers. By allowing these ambassadors to speak for you, you show the world that you do more than just deliver products – that your brand is part of an ideal lifestyle, and this is what will cause people to remain loyal to your brand for much longer.

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