Every marketer and business owner know about brand loyalty — but what matters is not just loyalty, but affinity. Building a relationship with your customer founded on emotional connection can ensure that they stay with you for a long time. However, most companies are only able to achieve brand loyalty, never reaching brand affinity despite clamoring hard for it.
But all is not lost for businesses who haven’t yet achieved the secure connection that comes with having a brand affinity. It may involve a lot of legwork but to accomplish this strong brand-customer connection is worth all the stress.
Here is everything you need to know about brand affinity and how you can pave the way for your business to attain it, bringing in more customers and more sales:
What is Brand Affinity?
- Gigi Devault defines brand affinity as “a metric that lets market researchers make predictions about how a consumer will behave.” It “adds a layer of information that is helpful when differentiating among consumers [in order] to accomplish market segmentation.”
- Brand affinity is about making an emotional connection between you and your customers. It’s about using emotions to strengthen your relationship with the market and boost your business.
- A customer demonstrates brand affinity through some of these indicators:
- A likelihood that they will stick with a brand or a company
- High probability that they will purchase the brand given a free choice situation
- A good chance that they will refer others to the company or brand they enjoy, with a high-level description of overall customer satisfaction
Brand Equity vs. Brand Affinity vs. Brand Loyalty
- Brand equity is the added value that a brand bestows upon a product, which differentiates it from a product without a branding. It is the overall brand-specific concept and represents the total value difference that the brand justifies, whereas brand affinity is an individual customer-specific concept.
- A brand’s equity justifies the value the brand is seeking to get in the market and focuses on awareness, perceived quality, associations, and loyalty; brand affinity hints the preferred brand for the customer through their past experiences, overall preference over competitors, and the brand’s ability to foster word-of-mouth.
- Brand loyalty is about the rational decision of buying a product because the customer knows it. It rests on logical conclusions made by a buyer, which becomes ingrained as a habit with no genuine emotional connection. As such, it can be broken by something that can as trivial as different packaging, more competitive prices, or even merchandise change in the store.
- Brand affinity, on the other hand, taps into emotional connections, and as neuroscience suggests, this is a more powerful marketing strategy because people make decisions based on their emotions, rationalizing them later.
Why Should You Invest in Brand Affinity?
- According to BrandToolBox.com, brand affinity is the most enduring and valuable level of a customer relationship, as it is based on shared values and mutual belief that the company and the customer share between them.
- It breeds an unshakable foundation of trust within the relationship and is at its strongest when the customer believes that the organization they support strongly champions the values they both admire.
- It can even sometimes powerfully boost the satisfaction levels of a brand. For example, a well-known travel magazine surveyed to see which airline company preferred most, and Alaska Airlines topped the list, even if most of the survey respondents never flew with the airlines before. They believed that Alaska was “better” than the other choices due to powerful personal endorsements of other flyers whose emotional connection with the brand have deeply flourished.
- Brand affinity also helps accelerate brand loyalty cultivation. They are interconnected and can serve you actively in expanding your customer base. Strong loyalty breeds stronger word-of-mouth opportunities, and people still hold that form of marketing in high regard.
How to Establish and Boost Brand Affinity
- Brand affinity is not something forced or manufactured — it must come naturally to you and your customers. Investing time and effort into cultivating this kind of connection is a lot of work, but it pays off.
- Here are some ways you can employ to start building a strong brand affinity:
- Tap the power of your social networks
- Customers have an elevated perception of brands that take the time to listen, consider, and adequately address their complaints and issues, especially online. This helps them recall a brand better, too.
- Interact with them on a personal level and establish the fact that you are willing to be up close and personal with them to help solve their problems.
- Knowing your customers’ perspective and concerns give you the right motivations to provide them with a higher quality of customer service.
- Keep connected with targeted messages
- Remind your customers that you’re there for them to alleviate their pain points and to assist them if they have concerns.
- Build an email list and communicate with your customers through it. Reinforcement helps them continually associate you with the value you first made them experience.
- By tracking and studying how your customers interact with your products, services, and website, you figure out what is it that they’re interested in, and what made transact with you.
- This is essential in building messages that are customized just for them, which lets you sound more genuinely interested in your customers as people, not only as potential sales.
- Make the whole experience easy for them
- Customers don’t appreciate it when you’re making them work just to contact you or purchase from your store. Remembering the stressful conditions that you made them experience will make them hesitate on repeating.
- Be it a one-dial hotline for customer service or an online buying experience that takes the fewest clicks possible, make sure you provide them an enjoyable and comfortable transaction process.
- Tap the power of your social networks
Establishing brand affinity is one of the most robust strategies that businesses should strive to work towards. It builds the strongest, most meaningful relationship between you and your customers, ensuring loyalty to you in more ways than logical reasoning or because you’re “the only option there is.” Not only will you solidify your customer base, but you’re sure to expand it exponentially.
Download this infographic.