How to build brand loyalty in the ‘New Normal’ era

November 14, 2020 7:45 AM

The latest McKinsey report suggests that 96% of Indian consumers have changed stores, brands, and the way they shop during Covid-19

To build brand loyalty marketers will have to begin with being loyal to its customers and only then can they expect the same to be reciprocated. To build brand loyalty marketers will have to begin with being loyal to its customers and only then can they expect the same to be reciprocated.

By Swati Nathani

The Pandemic has changed the entire ball game for brands and the marketing industry at large. Consumer expectations have shifted and so has the ways of reaching out to them. While the new normal welcomed a whole new lot of opportunities for some industries, a lot of businesses struggled to survive and retain their good old customers. The pandemic led to lockdown to created enough havoc for both the consumers and marketers. While consumers were confined to their homes, marketers had to make some tough decisions about changing their means of reaching out to their customers.

Amidst all the back and forth what suffered the most was brand loyalty. The Pandemic initially created two sects of consumers the first sect of consumers decided to put all their purchasing decisions on standby and wait till they get a better understanding of the situation. The second set of consumers started panic buying in the fear of not having an access to the same at the very next moment. This bought a lot of pressure on retail brands such as Amazon, Big Basket etc. as they did not have enough bandwidth to meet the increasing demands and were out of stock.

Gradually, with time more and more consumers got the confidence and comfort of shopping online. However, brands soon witnessed a major shift in the buying pattern as the brand loyalties had shifted. Consumers now turned out to be product-centric and started trying out newer brands over going for their favorite ones. For instance, buying tea no longer only meant brands like Tata Tea or Society as customers were will to pick any brand that was easily available. This led the marketers to offer customized communications to reach out to their consumers and most of them went all digital so as to once again build a connection with their target audience.

The latest McKinsey report suggests that 96% of Indian consumers have changed stores, brands, and the way they shop during Covid-19. This poses a major challenge for marketers as they need to rebuild brand loyalty and getting back their market share. With the lockdown being lifted in phases, brands have been consistent towards changing their communications strategy so that they can continue to stay connected with their consumers. However, marketers are in dire need to find some sure short ways of building brand loyalty in this new normal era. While brands redefine their marketing strategies they need to keep in mind that there are no shortcuts. To build brand loyalty they will have to begin with being loyal to its customers and only then can they expect the same to be reciprocated. Here are some steps that marketers can focus on while trying to rebuild brand loyalty in the new normal era:

Leave your mark – Take one step at a time

While businesses have been struggling to survive, brands have resorted to finding the easy way out. Marketers need to keep in mind that the chance they have now in this new normal era may be the only chance to help them recreate their brand image. It is therefore crucial to focus on offering quality which will take them a step closer to their goals. Opting for quality over quantity will ensure that the brands hold on to their true values.

This may be that ‘one chance’ for your brand

It is certainly important to grab every chance that you have now. It is alright if you went wrong somewhere. Your brand value will be seen in the way you address an issue or a crisis situation. Taking the necessary steps towards fixing your mistakes will get you those brownie points. A humble conversation with your customer where you apologise, accept your mistake, and commit to taking timely corrective actions is sure to take you a long way. The key here is to empathise with the customers and accordingly offer solutions.

Emotional Connect

What connects mankind is the need to be emotionally bonded. Emotional connection is one of the key traits which will change customers’ sight towards your brand and is indeed one of the most important attributes to help you build brand loyalty. Consumers need convenience in their lives while they opt for any product or service. A hassle-free frictionless delivery process will serve the purpose. It is a must for marketers to not leave out any opportunity to bond with their customers. A happy customer will lead to being a loyal customer.

Your magical key – Listening

Customers need your undivided attention. Engage to understand their needs and concerns, take timely feedback. In times like these, where movements are restricted a little support from your end will create a lifetime memory for them. Trust your customers to guide you in the right direction, all you need is a little patience & willingness to respectfully listen to them. Making the best use of those insights will get you to create your perfect plan for your action.

Offer customized solutions:

Personalisation is the key in this era of new normal. While different customers come with different experiences through the lockdown, their demands and needs may vary to completely different levels. A sense of understanding their persona and thereby catering to their personalized needs will surely help you improve customer loyalty. Ensure that you go to your target audience with unique options. Do not make the mistake of assuming that one set of solution will fit all. Be flexible in your approach and you can stay rest assured to get your desired result.

Marketers need to keep in mind that the process of rebuilding brand loyalty may take a while. However, being consistent in your efforts may not only lead you to get back your valued customers but will also help you increase your customer base. So, it is only wise to be at it and keep making those little changes for the betterment of your consumers.

The author is co-founder of Team Pumpkin.

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