Winning Consumer Loyalty Through Brand Refreshes
More than ever, today’s consumers are willing to stray from their tried-and-true brand loyalties and venture into new brands, products, and choices. And while a plethora of choices is good for consumers, it puts the onus on brands to constantly be refreshing their products, messaging, brand story, and packaging.
According to research from Neilson, only 9% of U.S. consumers say they are brand loyal – the number drops to 8% as the global average. That leaves 91% of consumers open to trying new things.
To get more specific, 42% of Americans say they love trying new products and actively search for new brands to try. The challenge then comes in retaining those new buyers. Hence the need to actively engage first-time consumers with a compelling brand narrative that draws them in and resonates with them.
And perhaps more than ever price plays a decreasing role in a consumer’s decision-making process. Price promotion as a choice driver is proving to be less important to shoppers than the value a product offers them, with only 32% say pricing promotions are an impetus. It’s physical features that hold the most influence over buyers in the long run, with superior quality and function (34%) and ease of use/convenience (31%) ranking as the two most impactful qualities for sustained success. Hence, the imperative to speak to what your customers are looking for.
Traditional advertising on TV, radio and in print, still play a role in consumers’ purchasing decisions, however, independent opinions and reviews are more influential in persuading a consumer to buy one product or brand over another. It’s a peer-economy, and brand narrative — or the story you’re communicating and asking the consumer to become part of — is the most powerful way to communicate value and establish trust.
And while local products are fantastic, and play an important role in each region’s economy, only 11% of consumers are deeply devoted to local products. So, the market is wide and the choices are many.
So, how can a brand refresh help you in the battle for consumer loyalty? Here are 5 principles to consider or actions to take:
- A proactive approach to a fresh brand is essential. According to Nielsen, 60% of restages do not recover from a downward trend (translation: if the brand’s sales are declining, it could potentially be too late — in which case a full brand re-imagining may be necessary). However, on the flip-side, 80% of restages continue to grow then the trend is positive, maintaining and even amplifying a brand’s momentum.
- A brand refresh can have more impact than product innovation. Nielsen evaluated 18,000 relaunches from the past five years and found that 2.5x more growth comes from a restage than a line extension.
- Keep your brand narrative fresh, relevant and engaging. In order for brands to maintain relevance in the minds of today’s consumers, there must be an ongoing effort to evolve the messaging and brand story with the consumer journey. Are there emerging trends to speak to? What’s the social context of your consumers, and what other brands are they emotionally connected with? A stagnant brand story is a powerless one.
- Your brand must look the part. Do your labels and packaging stand out on the shelf? Are you in-tune with what peer brands are saying and showing, and do you know what resonates with your target audience? Does the design of your product communicate that it’s fresh and modern? Does it pique curiosity? If you can’t get their attention on the shelf then it doesn’t matter how good your product might be.
- Be human: personality is everything. In order for a brand to be successful, there has to be humanness to it: a unique tone of voice, design that gets noticed, character depth, values (standing for and against something is equally important), and a general warmth and accessibility. Personality-less brands fall flat. Personality-rich brands create an emotional connection with consumers that often unarticulated but deep.
These statistics may seem kind of scary but fear not, dear brand. Not all is lost: almost 50% of global consumers prefer to stick with what they know — it’s just that they can be persuaded to make a change or at least try something new. So even though disloyalty is the new normal, your brand doesn’t have to fall victim to it with an intentional effort to maintain a fresh brand presence and persona.
So whether you’re trying to keep your current consumer base engaged, or attempting to attract new consumers with new brands or products, staying fresh and relevant is critical to keeping up with the brand joneses. Newness is fun, but meaningful connection lasts. Intentional brand identity and expression is your greatest asset to doing just that.