In today's digital world, it's become easier than ever for businesses to reach their target audience.
People can connect with you through a click of a button or a tap on a phone screen. However, this reliance on technology can sometimes cause a breakdown in relationships between brands and their potential consumers.
Even in this time of ubiquitous smartphones, computers, and other technology, people still need a human connection. This is why it's so essential to build a strong brand relationship.
What Is a Brand Relationship?
According to the University of Pennsylvania, a brand relationship is similar to a relationship between two people. It consists of give and take and includes interactions that are repeated over time. Throughout the process, each party genuinely gets to know the other.
These relationships have the same traits as relationships between couples, friends, or family members: They foster intimacy, love, and a feeling of mutual dependence.
Simply put, this kind of relationship builds loyalty. It keeps the customer coming back whenever they need a new product, and it causes them to line up at the door every time their favored company releases something new.
What Makes Brand Relationships So Important?
You might wonder if creating a personal relationship with consumers is necessary. After all, you probably buy groceries, clothing, and other products all the time without feeling connected to their brands.
However, a strong brand relationship can give your business a competitive advantage and help you achieve long-term success. Here are four benefits of creating meaningful relationships with clients.
Helps You Increase Customer Loyalty
Customers experience “brand love” when they feel a powerful, positive emotional connection to a company or product. According to a 2023 study, brand love increases customer loyalty. As a result, customers who love a brand are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend the brand to others. Brand love also makes customers more willing to forgive infrequent mistakes by a brand and defend it from criticism.
Improves Overall Customer Retention Rates
Companies often focus on generating new leads. However, nurturing relationships with existing customers can help your business achieve sustainable growth. According to a recent literature review, numerous studies of the finance industry have identified a positive correlation between customer satisfaction, trust, and retention. This research indicates businesses can boost retention rates by developing meaningful and stable relationships with brand users.
Increases Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value (CLV) refers to the total amount of money a client generates for a company throughout their relationship. This figure includes every transaction a customer makes with your business. Other intangible factors also contribute to a client’s CLV, such as feedback they provide about your products and referrals.
You can increase CLV by forming long-term relationships with customers. People who view your brand positively and engage with it frequently are more likely to make repeat purchases over an extended period. They may also support your brand in non-monetary ways, such as by posting about a new product on social media.
Boosts Your Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool, especially in the digital age. A product recommendation posted on a platform like Reddit or Instagram can reach hundreds or thousands of people worldwide.
According to a 2022 study, brand love positively impacts electronic word-of-mouth communications. Customers who form strong relationships with brands are more likely to share their experiences through live-streaming, social media, and other methods. This community marketing can lead to a snowball effect as new customers discover a brand through word-of-mouth, share their experiences online, and attract more customers to the brand.
10 Proven Ways To Build Strong Brand Relationships With Customers
The brand relationship marketing model is proven to lead to a more positive interaction between clients and businesses. This, in turn, leads to a large, loyal customer base.
So, how can you improve your brand relationship with clients? Here are 10 effective strategies and brand loyalty examples.
1. Establish Channels for Direct and Frequent Communication
You can’t strengthen or maintain your relationship with a friend or colleague if you don't communicate with them. Customer-brand relationships operate on the same principle: You’ll never truly understand your clients if you don’t talk to them.
Creating multiple channels for communication lets you maintain personal contact with your audience. Many companies use social media accounts to interact directly with customers.
For example, JetBlue’s X/Twitter account frequently replies to customer posts and offers assistance with challenges they encounter while flying with the airline. Similarly, Moon Pie and Denny’s make quirky social media posts that help them establish a distinct brand voice and build customer trust.
Other popular communication channels include customer surveys, chatbots, and email newsletters. These marketing tools give customers multiple avenues to engage with your brand and provide insights.
2. Build an Emotional Connection With Your Customers
When establishing a relationship with a brand, customers should feel emotionally attached to the brand, not just to an item they may only need to buy once.
A company that does this exceptionally well is Coca-Cola. The brand has been around for a long time, but its main marketing goal has always been to make people happy.
(Image credit: Coke Solutions)
With Coca-Cola, customer happiness may come from adorable polar bears on television commercials, drink personalization at Coca-Cola vending machines, or how the company spreads cheer over social media. No matter how they do it, this clear desire to make the customer happy results in millions of customers who are loyal not just to specific Coke products but also to the brand itself.
3. Practice Active Listening
The brand relationship model frames marketing as a two-way conversation between companies and customers. That means you should actively listen and respond to your customers’ needs and preferences instead of blasting them with one-sided marketing messages.
Online reviews and ratings can provide valuable information about how your customers interact with your brand. Companies like Google and Yelp let users post public reviews of businesses.
You can also ask customers to rate and review products on your company website. Respond to all reviews thoughtfully and quickly to show customers you appreciate their feedback and care about their satisfaction.
You can also practice active listening by inviting customers to create user-generated content about your brand. For example, the LEGO Ideas platform lets customers submit design ideas for new LEGO kits. LEGO turns some of the most popular fan submissions into real products.
User-generated content helps you understand and meet your clients’ expectations to build a stronger, more emotional brand relationship.
4. Share Your Customers’ Values
Consumers are drawn to brands that share their ideals and values. One brand that focuses on this shared bond is Nike. Its famous slogan, "Just do it," encompasses the belief that anyone can achieve their goals if they just get out there and try.
In this way, Nike is more than an athletic apparel and accessory company — its brand and image carry a principled, inspirational message that's reflected in the company's various campaigns.
(Image credit: Nike)
This messaging is a resounding success. Nike sells its athletic wear to millions of customers, not because they love Nike shoes, but because they believe Nike shares their values.
5. Personalize Customer Experiences and Interactions
According to a McKinsey & Company survey, 71% of customers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. Respondents also reported that personalization makes them feel special and valued as individuals.
Spotify is one company that has gained widespread recognition for its personalization. Many users eagerly anticipate their yearly Spotify Wrapped, a report highlighting their unique listening habits. Spotify Wrapped reports help consumers form an expressive brand relationship because they can use this personalized data to share their musical tastes with their social network.
The company also creates personalized playlists based on users’ listening history and offers exclusive merchandise from their favorite artists. These features improve the brand relationship quality by tapping into users’ emotions and increasing customer engagement.
6. Use Social Media To Build Human Relationships
You would be hard-pressed to find someone today who doesn't have a profile on at least one social media platform. Whether it’s on Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram, or another social network, setting up a profile for your brand is a great idea.
Having a social media profile allows you to interact with your audience like they interact with their friends and relatives. This makes it easy for them to feel that deep, genuine connection you seek.
A perfect example of a consumer-brand relationship is the Wendy's X/Twitter account. The fast food restaurant regularly trades jokes with its followers and engages in good-natured ribbing of other restaurants.
(Image credit: @Wendys)
7. Show You Care About Their Voice by Asking for Feedback
Customers often have strong opinions about brands but don’t share them without an explicit invitation. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, a single email asking customers to rate a travel company increased the number of reviews by 8%. It decreased the number of highly positive or negative ratings by 10%.
Asking for feedback demonstrates you value customers’ input and care about addressing their concerns. There are many ways to solicit feedback, including surveys and product reviews.
Zoom is one company that has made gathering feedback an integral part of its product. The business's video-conferencing platform asks users to provide feedback whenever they end a meeting, and Zoom uses this information to continuously improve the customer experience.
8. Go the Extra Mile When It Comes to Customer Service
Stellar customer service is vital to promoting strong consumer relationships with brands. According to the Zendesk CX Trends 2023 report, 75% of consumers will spend more money with companies that offer a positive customer service experience. However, over half of respondents reported that they would switch to a competitor after a single negative experience.
Many companies strive to provide exceptional customer service. For example, the online pet supply retailer Chewy has sent bereaved customers flowers and custom paintings after their animals pass away. The company also refunds unwanted products and asks clients to donate them to their local animal shelter instead of returning them.
Likewise, Costco offers stellar customer service with its risk-free, 100% satisfaction guarantee. Customers can return most products for a full refund, even if they don’t have the original packaging or receipt.
There are many ways to delight customers with your service, including:
- Responding promptly to complaints and concerns
- Sending personalized messages and gifts
- Having customer-friendly policies
- Providing free educational content, such as blog posts and videos
- Recognizing client milestones, such as birthdays and anniversaries
- Hosting exclusive events
9. Reward Your Customers’ Loyalty
Reward programs use social psychology to strengthen consumer-brand relationships. According to a 2022 study, loyalty programs motivate customers to spend more to reach higher statuses and earn more rewards. This increased spending boosts customer engagement and retention.
Starbucks has mastered the art of the loyalty program. The Starbucks Rewards program lets customers earn free coffee, birthday treats, and other rewards. As of 2022, the program had approximately 29 million members.
The popularity of this Starbucks program demonstrates how companies can use brand loyalty rewards to build a dedicated customer base and attract repeat business.
10. Help Your Customers by Sharing Your Expertise
Become a trustworthy authority figure by creating educational content for your clients. These materials can cover industry trends, provide practical tips and tricks, and offer solutions to your customers' issues.
Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program offers a wealth of educational resources that teach children about the importance of oral hygiene. Colgate's website includes informational blog posts, videos, and games about dental care. These resources build a strong brand relationship by promoting customer engagement and sharing valuable insights from the dental industry.
How We Can Help You Share Your Expertise Through Content
The nature of positive customer relations has evolved rapidly in the digital age. Technology makes it easier than ever to build personal relationships with clients, share resources, and receive feedback.
Compose.ly can help you improve your brand and relationship management by creating meaningful content. Our expert team will work with you to develop an effective marketing strategy tailored to your brand, customers, and industry. We’ll use this strategy as a blueprint to create engaging, search engine optimization (SEO) friendly blog posts, emails, social media posts, and other content.