As you gain more customers while growing your business, try to remain aware of the importance of all of your customers. Those who are new and those who have purchased in the past.
It’s not cost effective to simply rely on getting new customers every time. You need to give attention to your existing customers so that they’ll keep coming back to you.
Enhancing your brand affinity is essential to building a strong relationship with all your customers. Brand affinity refers to the emotional connection your customers have built with your brand.
It measures how much your customers like your products and services and the likelihood they’ll become brand advocates on their own accord.
It’s a notch above brand loyalty because customers are not simply choosing you because you’re better than the rest. They’re choosing you because they’ve grown fond of you on a deeper, more emotional level.
Having a strong brand affinity will breed loyal customers who will stick by your business as you evolve. While you’re still starting up or growing your business, it’s crucial to begin increasing your brand affinity.
Below is a 4-stage guide that can help you do it one step at a time.
1. Strengthen your brand identity
Building your brand is more than keeping a brand book with your logo, tagline, and other business elements. It’s about creating an identity that people can recognise and relate to. It’s becoming someone that customers can trust and come to for their needs and wants.
Here are some steps to strengthening your brand identity:
Develop consistent branding
One of the things you have to make sure of first is that your branding is clear and consistent. From your logo to your campaign materials, people should immediately see that those elements are a part of your business. This reinforces the image and awareness of your brand.
Deliver on your brand promise
Strengthening your brand identity also means living by what you promise. If your company promotes quality and efficiency, then your services have to deliver on that. Your employees have to show that they put importance on these values too through the work that they do.
Define your business mission
Furthermore, you need to formulate a strong purpose. Similar to human beings, a large part of one’s identity is their goal in life.
When people understand the mission of your business, it’ll be much easier for your customers to connect with you. This is why your business should have a clear strategic direction of where it wants to go and what it wants to achieve.
2. Know your customers
Your brand affinity depends on how your customers perceive you. Hence, you must constantly get to know them. Find out their problems that need to be solved, the things they care about, and even their daily routines.
Fully understanding your customers will help you find that connection to your brand. How do you fit into their life? With a thorough market study and customer research, you can get valuable insights to work with.
Once you’re able to establish that link with your customers, you can then develop targeted marketing growth strategies.
You’ll also be able to define your business’s unique selling proposition (USP) well. It’s crucial that your USP directly impacts your customers because it tells them why you’re the best brand of choice for them.
3. Build a lasting relationship
Connecting with your customers is good, but building a lasting relationship with them is better. Your customers should remember you even after seeing your ad or purchasing your products and services.
Below are 3 ways you can constantly engage with them and become top-of-mind when they encounter something relevant to your brand.
Align your values
You can have a stronger relationship with your customers when you gain their trust. Aligning your values to theirs is a good way to do this. It assures them that you care about the same things.
If you know your customers hold deep importance for convenience, you should make sure all facets of your service offer convenience as well. Eventually, customers will attach the feeling of convenience to your brand because they can trust that you’ll deliver.
Keep up with their interests
Another way to maintain positive engagement with your customers is by observing their interests. When you pinpoint a common interest, take advantage of it for your business strategies.
Not only will you remain on your customers’ radar, but they’ll also associate you with other interests that they love.
For example, if you manage a bank and notice that your customers are always using your credit card services for dining in, that’s an opportunity you can seize.
Creating promo partnerships with restaurants your customers regularly visit might be a good idea. Most importantly, customers will recall your credit card as one that offers promos they actually use.
Stay in touch
Constant communication is crucial in maintaining a relationship with your customers. There are many ways to touch base with them such as media advertising, SMS messages, or email outreach. Make sure to invest in the best channels to reach them, so that you’re putting your budget to good use.
It’s also advantageous to create a community, such as those on social media platforms. It will allow you to instantly give them updates and product offerings. Moreover, having a community also gives them a convenient outlet to provide feedback or reach out to you regarding their concerns.
4. Take it a step further
You can set your business apart from others by showing customers how much you value their contribution to your business. Pay careful attention to them so that you can create objectives, strategies, and tactics that will serve their needs.
This will also help you tailor-fit your products and services to your customers. Here are 4 ways to consider taking it a step further.
Memorable customer experiences can influence your brand affinity. When a person has an exceedingly positive experience, it will leave a lasting impression on them.
To do this, you can personalise your customer experience so that each customer feels extra specially important.
For example, if you’re selling a line of skincare products, don’t just recommend the same products to everyone. Ask each person about their skin type, concerns, and preferences. That way, you can suggest products that are best suited for them.
Listen to feedback
The best way to know how you can improve your products and services for your customers is by listening to them.
Study the reviews customers leave on your platforms. You can also extract their sentiments about your brand on social media. If you don’t have a lot of resources, reach out to your customers and ask them what they think through surveys or feedback forms.
Once you’ve compiled and reviewed their feedback, find trends and common concerns. You must address the most pressing issues with an actionable plan. This is the ideal way to show your customers that you’re listening to them.
Invest in great customer service
Offering great customer service is paramount these days. People are not just concerned about the quality of products and services. Factors such as after-sales service, customer care, and responsive communication channels play a critical role for most.
In a recent study, 83% of customers deem “good customer service” as a deciding factor in where they’ll purchase products and services. This is a significant figure so you must invest in your customer service touchpoints and staff more.
Doing a comprehensive review of your customers’ journey from discovery to purchase can help you understand how to improve.
You can also ask for feedback or try to experience your business’s service for yourself. This will allow you to see the gaps in your customer service that need to be resolved.
Get expert advice
If you need help crafting a plan to enhance your brand affinity, you could seek support from those who are knowledgeable about branding and customers, such as marketing directors, advisors or consultants.
They have extensive experience in the field of marketing, advertising, and communication which are essential to connecting with your customers.
Consulting marketing directors on a part-time basis can be a good way to start if you have limited budget and resources but need the highest level of expertise on the job. For a fraction of the full-time cost, you can get access to strategic advice for your business plans.
Brand affinity is the emotional connection your brand has with your customers. It stems from having a positive perception and experience with your business. This strong feeling also pushes customers to keep coming back to your products and services as well.
To enhance your business’s brand affinity, the first step is to clearly define your brand identity and reinforce it. Having widespread awareness and consistent branding is crucial before actually building your brand affinity.
Afterwards, you have to understand your customers and connect with them. Find a common ground where they can relate to you. Once you’ve established that link between you and your customers, you should continuously communicate with them to maintain a strong relationship.
You can foster a deeper relationship with your customers by creating more customer-centric strategies. You can personalise their experiences, take action on the feedback you receive, and invest in your customer service.
Seeking support from experts like Marketing Directors is also a way to develop business strategies aimed at improving your customers’ experience with your business.
About the Author!
John Courtney is Founder and Chief Executive of BoardroomAdvisors.co which provides part-time Executive Directors (Commercial/Operations/Managing Directors), Non-Executive Directors and paid Mentors to SMEs without either a recruitment fee or a long term contract.