Emotional Loyalty: What Is It and How Is It Measured?
The reasons behind brand loyalty can be complicated. When you buy from certain retailers or have preferences for particular brands and products, what makes you buy to one brand over another? Often, reasons for consumer choices are not simple to explain. This behavior then becomes entrenched and habitual, creating potent chemistry that brands need to understand in order to create and maintain emotional loyalty.
What is rational loyalty?
It’s accepted that the our decisions to buy from and commit to a brand is driven by rational and emotional needs. Rational needs often seem like the primary drivers that draw consumers to a brand. Needs that contribute to brand rational loyalty include:
Features of rational loyalty are typically seen as the logical drivers of product choice and brand engagement.
What is emotional loyalty?
Emotional loyalty manifests itself in the strong emotional bonds we attach to brands, products, services, or providers. Emotional loyalty is a more significant dimension in keeping consumer brand loyalty over the long-term. As opposed to rational loyalty, a consumer's emotional ties to a brand are often harder to explain. Many of us would not describe our decision to purchase from a specific a brand in overly expressive terms. According to Gerald Zaltman of the Harvard Business School, 95% of our purchase decisions occur subconsciously. If we want to influence consumers' subconscious buying decisions, we must recognize customers’ purchasing decisions are triggered by emotions. This requires us to craft more experiential and authentic engagements with our consumers.
“60% of long-term customers use emotional language to describe their connection to favored brands.” —Deloitte Digital, “Exploring the Value of Emotional Driven Engagement” 2019
How do I measure emotional loyalty?
The maxim that ‘people buy on emotion and justify with logic’ increasingly demands a way to measure emotional loyalty. This will provide companies and brands a deeper understanding of how their customer emotional connectivity can be gauged and explained. It is essential for brands looking to differentiate themselves and drive customer value to leverage the right tools to enable understanding of what their customers’ emotional needs and wants are and the interplay with rational drivers. For those brands that invest the time to explore and augment their view of the customer by undertaking such analysis, they stand to gain considerable competitive advantage.
Brierley recognizes that to win and retain the hearts and minds of the customer requires efforts in engaging them that strike a balance between their rational and emotional needs. Weighting loyalty and CRM endeavors towards addressing rational needs alone is simply not sufficient and fails to recognize the complexity of consumer tribes and their brand expectations. To this end we have developed a proprietary methodology, the Brierley Loyalty Quotient (BLQ), to enable to brands to easily and swiftly benchmark, analyze and plan around the interplay of 14 essential rational and emotional attributes.
“Brierley has the most advanced loyalty measurement tools. Identifying products that drive the highest loyalty levels and benchmarking against key competitors.” —Forrester Wave Loyalty Solutions Q2 2021
Brierley Loyalty Quotient (BLQ)
The Brierley Loyalty Quotient (BLQ) is an important step forward in being able to add essential texture and depth to a brand’s more holistic understanding of what loyalty means to their customers. In particular, BLQ can address the shortcomings of Net Promoter Score (NPS), as NPS fails to illuminate the driving factors behind customers’ responses and what a brand should do next. Beyond a more forensic understanding of how key attributes are distributed across the customer base, a view of how the brand compares to its immediate competitor set is also provided, vital in terms of understanding key gaps and opportunities for the business.
The predictive nature of BLQ is not to be underestimated with its ability to forecast key loyalty outcomes such as next purchase intent (STV) and customer lifetime value (LTV) and NPS were used as the de-facto brand advocacy measure.
As applied to strategic and tactical objectives the benefits of a more clearly defined loyalty metric are manifest. Brand teams are better equipped to plan and execute more highly personalized and authentic messaging creating more meaningful and relevant communication programs across a range of customer segments, each of which will likely have a more nuanced brand association, experience, and preference for engagement.
Key to evaluating emotional loyalty drivers is being able to identify which customers are more robustly connected to your brand than others. BLQ looks across a range of emotional attributes including brand affection, longing and anticipation.
Looked at in terms of a holistic score or on an attribute-by-attribute basis, the insight can be used to determine the degree of resilience and forgiveness to bad experiences the customer will afford or the extent to which a brand is baked into the customer’s lifestyle. The application of such intelligence offers a compelling basis to provide a more meaningful program experience and address gaps that may exist when comparisons with competitor efforts are further explored.
The value of BLQ extends further, enabling the effectiveness of key loyalty and CRM initiatives over time to be measured and evaluated in greater detail serving to better direct decisions governing program management and evolution. As a further indication of the range of insight BLQ can deliver, brands can look at which elements of their product mix are linked to driving the highest loyalty enabling them to determine not only what is the go-to product inventory across loyal customer and member segments, but why.
How do I increase my customers' emotional loyalty?
The quality and relevance of direct-to-consumer communications and the loyalty programs that frame them require elevation, in particular as eCommerce operations are ratcheted up to accommodate increasingly more confined communities and customers forced to use less familiar channels.
Brierley as a data-first loyalty leader recognizes that to power and grow business, brands that can enrich and supercharge their customer insights and programs will be on the soundest of footings to reactivate, activate and enhance customer relationships.
To discuss how we can assist your business in better unlocking where your most loyal customers lie and what they look like, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a more detailed overview and discussion of BLQ and how Brierley can help increase customer emotional loyalty for your brand.