Emotional Loyalty: What is it and how is it measured?
Reflect for a moment on why you buy from certain retailers or have preferences for brands and products. What makes you purchase a pair of New Balance trainers over a Nike pair? What is driving you to empty your wallet for the latest Apple iPhone as opposed to a cheaper and potentially better Android one? Likely, your reasons for the choices you make and the decisions that inform them are not particularly simple to explain. Add to that the fact that such behavior often becomes entrenched and habitual, and you have potent chemistry in play that brands would like to better understand and leverage.
It’s accepted that components that drive our decisions to buy, and in turn commit to, brands resolve to satisfy rational and emotional needs. Rational needs are often those that are seemingly primary drivers that draw consumers to a brand; these may be pricing, convenience, reliability, accessibility, practicality, features that are the logical drivers of product choice and brand engagement.
A more significant dimension in keeping consumers brand loyal over the long-term manifests itself in the strong emotional bonds we attach to certain products, services, or providers. These ties are often harder to explain and many of us would not necessarily consider our attachment to a brand and why we continue to spend with them in overly expressive terms. According to Gerald Zaltman of the Harvard Business School, 95% of our purchase decisions occur subconsciously. To influence subconscious decisions, we must therefore recognize the needs of the intuitive customer whose purchasing decisions are triggered by emotions, which whilst they might subsequently be rationalized, require us to craft more experiential and authentic engagements.
‘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
The maxim therefore that ‘people buy on emotion and justify with logic’ increasingly demands quantification with a deeper understanding of how 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
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 addressing the shortcomings of Net Promoter Score (NPS) which 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.
As we deal with a global health crisis and the reduction in footfall on our highstreets brands must re-group and better augment their understanding of their customers.
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.
Brierley is the industry leader—transforming loyalty around the world. Our focus is turning client challenges into successful and profitable loyalty program solutions. Brierley brings together innovative thought leadership, unparalleled expertise, and advanced technologies to help brands win customers’ hearts and minds. In addition to our evolutionary platform LoyaltyOnDemand®, Brierley offers the full breadth of services to drive unprecedented loyalty success: program design, strategy, research, analytics, customer insights, creative, and digital solutions.