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CMOs must focus on trust, not buzz, for customer loyalty

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17th Jul 2013
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Brands must stop obsessing over page likes or viral marketing videos and instead build a ‘TRUE’ brand if they are to create lasting consumer loyalty.

That’s according to Forrester analyst Tracy Stokes, who explained: “Too many brands today are caught up in the need for creating buzz – gathering likes and social marketing cooler talk – at the expense of building a critical foundation for trust.”

Instead, she believes that brands must take the necessary steps to build lasting brand resonance with consumers by guiding their brand with a brand compass that builds a strong ‘TRUE’ brand, one that has the right balance of being trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential to the consumer.

To do this, Stokes says that CMOs must focus on the three metrics of preference, referral and pricing power, and highlights Crest, Gillette, and Dove; and Kelloggs, Heinz, and Kraft as some brands that have succeeded in doing so, based on a survey of 4,500 US online adults.

Stokes outlines the strategies of Dove and Gatorade that helped garner consumer loyalty above other options in their industries.

Dove builds consumer trust with its 'Campaign For Real Beauty': Dove is ranked strongly by consumers on critical category attributes of 'providing a consistent experience every time I use the brand,' and 'having products/services that consistently deliver on their promises.'

Its campaign was a bold move that eschewed storytelling norms to change the way women are perceived and how they view themselves, and its paid off. Not only has Dove grown from a $200 million soap brand in the 1990s to a $4 billion mega brand today, but it has over-powered facial care giant Olay, which falls behind on Forrester's brand ranking.

Gatorade refocuses on its athletic roots to solidify core following: While not as widely acclaimed as soft drink giant Coca-Cola, Gatorade stays TRUE to its brand North Star to 'enable athletes to always perform at their peak.'

It's marketing strategy has a one-two punch, affiliating the brand with athletic performance backed by scientific research for its products, and even tops Coke on the brand ranking with its core target audience of twenty-something men. Its refocused efforts have pulled the brand back from market share decline to garner a dominant 46% share of the global sports drink market and $4.7 in brand value.

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