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COVID-19 & the role of insights in brand loyalty

14th Nov 2020
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Everyone has a favorite brand. A good brand inspires a feeling that its product just has to be terrific and unique because it has that reliable name and logo. Brand loyalty is not just about external packaging but expresses a relationship founded on consumer insights.

Brand loyalty is often built over time and is connected with childhood associations, memories, and positive experiences. New brands can also capture the imagination with an outstanding product or service that is consistent with the general impression of a company, including its values and the culture it creates. 

A consumer insights platform can measure brand loyalty and how to make it last especially in today's business atmosphere. Consumer insights software analyzes how customers feel about products, services, and interprets associations with brands. 

The power of branding can be summed up in a few words like Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola. When you think about it, Coca-Cola isn’t so different from other soft drinks. There may be a special formula, but what it is offering are carbonated water, sugar, and other ingredients. Coca-Cola may not be that healthy, but its ads show healthy, young exuberant people engaged in exciting activities or simply hanging out being cool.

How Coca-Cola has managed throughout generations to make a carbonated soft drink so resonant is the key to brand marketing. Iconic brands do not simply tout the advantages of their products by listing convenient features and benefits. A successful brand conveys a lifestyle, an ethos, and a culture. It creates the kind of infectious appeal that makes others want to join and experience it. A good brand creates a tribe. A consumer insights tool can help you find new tribe members.

How COVID-19 affected branding

COVID-19 sent the lives of many into upheaval. From social distancing to unemployment and the inability to shop because of store closings, many consumers had to resort to online stores. The eCommerce trend had been growing steadily before the pandemic, but as shopping in physical stores became difficult, risky, or impossible, many people started buying their groceries online for the first time. 

Supply chain shortages caused by shuttered factories meant that consumers had to make do with what they could find. Brands that had attracted significant attention before the pandemic saw smaller supplies of their offerings and many loyal customers switched to alternatives for the first time. As a result, many of these customers realized that they could get comparable products of similar quality at a lower cost and in abundant supply. This trend has affected brand loyalty. 

Even as factories and up and running and stores re-open, shopping habits altered during the pandemic may have changed for good. Additionally, global competition is still fierce and challenges brand marketing constantly. There are almost always decent, cheaper alternatives, and brands increasingly need to connect with customers directly and make a significant impression to retain them. 

How to maintain brand loyalty?

One tenet of brand marketing is conveying a message. However, it is equally important to listen to customers. It is also essential to stay in step with competitors and be aware of their promotions, strategies, and product upgrades. Looking honestly at the strengths and weaknesses of a particular brand and those of rivals and the state of the market, in general, are all significant considerations when crafting a successful brand marketing strategy. 

The key is research. But not with the kind of dry, conventional data that is completely objective and devoid of emotional coloring. Anyone can understand how customers feel about a brand by looking at user-generated content. We create this content daily and can find it on social media platforms, review sites, and eCommerce. 

The customer’s voice is definitive for determining how a brand is viewed. For marketers, this means analyzing texts from reviews and social media updates and to perform sentiment analysis to get a clear picture of how customers feel about products. 

Reading every review or status update is time-consuming, so using AI sentiment analysis tools to gauge the attitude and nuance of reviews or posts provides valuable information for generating actionable consumer insights. Comments from customers provide direct, candid feedback on what they like or don’t like about certain products and what features they want to see. 

Leveraging user-generated data informs product development concerning which features are in demand and which aren’t needed. Performing data analysis also on competing brands and products gives clues on how to get an edge on rivals, grab market share, and inspire customer loyalty. 

Marketing that listens and responds

Marketing should not just tell a story. It should listen to what consumers need and want. The best way to listen is through user-generated data that reveals exactly how consumers feel about brands and products.

 In an increasingly competitive environment, even major brands can’t afford to rest on their laurels but must continue to innovate and use feature marketing strategies that incorporate consumer feedback into product development. When customers feel they are heard, they will respond by having an attachment to the brand and paying attention to its future offerings. 

Modern marketing is more like an ongoing conversation than a lecture. Finding consumer insights will keep the conversation going. Respond to feedback by upgrading products the customers want to see. When analyzing reviews, the same comments may arise again and again. Paying attention to this feedback and letting customer sentiment drive innovation is the best way to create and maintain a strong brand presence. 

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