This is the second installment in our Becoming A Destination Store series.
Positive emotions towards a brand result in greater customer loyalty than any other factor. Consider Ikea’s series of home renovation ads highlighting your friends’ responses to your tasteful renovation, which created feel-good vibes among consumers. Then there was Budweiser’s 2012 Super Bowl ad, which depicted a random men’s league hockey game being treated to a simulated pro experience. The ads generated enough positive emotions for Budweiser to hold onto its #1 market share position.
How can retailers build brand loyalty using emotional connections?
1. Get to know your consumers using data and research.
Use your traditional and digital loyalty program to understand the who, what, when, why, and how of your customers’ shopping habits. What gets them into stores? When are they purchasing online or in-store? Supplement this data with information gleaned from consumer research to paint a holistic picture of all the elements that contribute to a sale.
Surveys, groups, and interviews can be used to understand the “why” behind the purchase. Use your suppliers to help. Many suppliers have an in-depth knowledge of the consumers purchasing their products. When in doubt, avoid running on pure gut instinct and look for qualitative and quantitative data straight from the source.
2. Use consumer passions and link them to your brand.
Turn on the TV and you’ll see tons of advertisements that focus less on a product’s benefits and more on special moments. These moments focus on needs, habits and ways of thinking, and all have a link to the consumers they are marketed to. Find out your consumers’ passions—like hockey, for Budweiser’s consumers—and tap into the common emotional connections between the passion and your brand.
Other brands that do a good job of marketing these consumer connections include Ikea, which uses homeowners’ pride, and Trader Joe’s, which attracts Millennial shoppers that want their own uniqueness reflected in the products they purchase. However, make sure that the passion naturally connects with your brand. Nothing turns consumers off like a forced connection.
3. Consistent in-store execution.
Keep your in-store execution consistent with your marketing message. For example, if your advertisement tells customers that your brand cares about their health, don’t sell cigarettes in your stores. If you are a specialty bicycle store, your staff should be cyclists and organize cycling events in the community. The Running Room has a history of organizing training clinics and events in their stores, which are led by their employees, who are runners themselves.
Apple keeps their execution consistent by employing engaging, technically savvy staff that are passionate about technology. Use an integrated marketing strategy to keep your brand promise alive in your store, social media platforms, and website. Most retailers have a long history of selling a product’s features to customers, so make sure you’re not defaulting to this habit when marketing across channels.
4. Use Humor!
Use humor and light-hearted messages to generate positive emotions for your brand. There are lots of examples: think about the ads for Axe body spray, which is about guys that want to win with the ladies. Axe has fun connecting with their target while reinforcing this message. Frank’s RedHot’s ads, which feature an elderly woman belting out expletives, is unexpected and builds on the brand’s fun personality. Retailers like Ikea have hosted events like “I wanna have a sleepover in IKEA”, which gave 100 lucky Facebook fans the opportunity to get pampered at a sleepover in-stores while educating them on the importance of getting enough sleep. Look deep into your niche to find ways of putting a smile on your customer’s faces.
By building your marketing campaigns around emotion-driven messaging, you can develop marketing campaigns that will keep customers coming back and build your brand as a destination. Just remember the rule: building brand loyalty using emotional connections needs to be genuine and authentic.