As vaccinations start to roll out across the country, many are seeing a light at the end of the COVID tunnel. For brands and businesses, however, making it to the light will only be one part of surviving the pandemic. With shifts in consumer trends, supply chains disrupted, and a shaky economy, brand loyalty will play a critical role in determining which brands can thrive in a post-COVID world. There are several trends emerging that cast a new light on how brand loyalty has shifted throughout the pandemic and how exactly brands can keep up with the demands of a consumer-base in recovery.
So, what’s the secret to brand loyalty in 2021? Convenience, convenience, and more convenience.
Top-of-mind-ness will rule the market
Brand loyalty was put to a test when the pandemic hit. Unfortunately, the battle became one of being the most top-of-mind for consumers and customers when the going got tough. And if you weren’t top-of-mind throughout the pandemic, you may be left behind afterwards.
If you saw this shift affect your brand, you aren’t alone – especially within retail. According to an article in Forbes in October of 2020, a whopping 75% of shoppers altered their brand preference during the pandemic. Some or most of this is likely attributable to the disruptions in supply chains that made many products unavailable. The more often your product was out of stock or your services were on hold, the more inconvenient you became to a consumer, and in 2020, convenience was high on everyone’s priority list.
Of course, there will always be people who won’t stray from a brand they love, which is hopeful news if your brand loyalty was strong before the pandemic. And this trend does not mean all is lost, either. It’s just incredibly important to be aware of this. Any brand or business that needs to make up for lost time in 2020 can be successful with the right brand messaging and marketing strategies.
Continue building brand loyalty through an easy customer experience
One way that brands are finding success as we come out of the pandemic is by reimagining the customer experience. Consumers have realized some perks that came out of 2020. Services like curb-side pick-up, grocery delivery, and contactless interactions aren’t going away any time soon – and maybe never will. Even work-from-home trends are expected to continue in the coming years, proving that convenience is still one of the key ingredients to brand loyalty in any market.
However – and this is important – there’s no use in providing a convenient service or perk if your customer service isn’t ready to deliver. What will really push your brand loyalty capabilities over the top is how you handle a problem when one is encountered. Mistakes will happen, and even more so in a rapidly changing environment. Consumers can look past that. What they aren’t likely to do is stick around very long if these mistakes are handled poorly. While this is nothing new, it will be a crucial element to brand loyalty post-COVID, and possibly even more so than ever before.
The need for positive mobile engagement has been expedited
This should not come as a surprise to any brand or business: quality mobile experiences are increasingly important. It’s been widely understood over the past several years that if consumers or potential clients can’t find you online, it’s onto the next brand. And throughout the pandemic, social media posts, frequent messaging updates on websites, and email communication skyrocketed due to the demand for real-time information. For these reasons, most businesses were already making themselves more present online. But the interesting development in this arena is just how quickly brands are capitalizing on the rise in demand for elite mobile experiences and not just having an online presence.
This distinction comes from statistics showing a steady increase in online traffic and digital media consumption from mobile devices over standard desktop devices. Because of this, brands can expect to see a rise in app developments specifically designed for better mobile engagement. Avid mobile users have already seen this happening with popular social media platforms over the past several years. Facebook, for example, can be accessed through any browser on any device, but its app yields the best experience for mobile use. Retail brands are taking note as online sales specifically through mobile devices have also seen an increase over the past year.
In addition to convenience for the consumer, these mobile experiences are helping to build brand loyalty. By encouraging a customer to download your app onto their smartphone, you decrease the number of steps that consumer needs to take to get to your product – and they’re also not distracted by ads or any other search engine traffic while looking you up through a browser. Of course, designing a website with a mobile-first design is still necessary, but brands should be prepared to take the next giant leap into more sophisticated experiences soon.
Located in downtown Lancaster, PA, and serving surrounding cities such as York, Harrisburg, and Reading, Taylor Brand Group offers a wide range of services such as rebranding, internal branding, brand development, and brand research in addition to work to build brand loyalty. As a branding agency, we’re dedicated to helping businesses with advertising and marketing projects while focusing on brand integrity. If you’re searching for an agency that can help to improve your brand loyalty through well-planned strategies, creative design, unique messaging tactics, and informed advertising, Taylor Brand Group can help. To learn more about the services we offer and how to take your brand to the next level, contact us today.