How loyal really are we as customers? Can our loyalty be swayed if we find that another brand are providing the same service but at a much cheaper price? Are we still loyal if the reputation of a brand can be deemed as negative? Do you go to the same annual event and regard yourself as being a loyal customer? All of these areas test our loyalty.
It can be viewed that there are two types of loyalty in which customers can experience, that is of course Behavioral and Attitudinal loyalty. Behavioral loyalty can be defined as being based on a repeat visit to an event, ‘a person who shops at the same place regularly is “behaviorally” loyal’. ( PR Loyalty Solutions 2012) Attitudinal loyalty differs; ‘person who tells others how great a product is, or simply feels really positive about the brand him or herself internally, is “attitudinally” loyal’( PR Loyalty Solutions 2012) . Most individuals will often express both feelings of loyalty throughout their lives, when various events and brands will result in them feeling in different ways, questioning how loyal they really are.
A brand’s reputation and how they represent themselves is of importance to the success of the organisation. Brand marketing is the organisation’s identity, what they do and what services they provide for their customers. A company’s primary aim is to market the business/event positively in order to achieve high number of customers and attendees. For example the brand of Rolex, it connotes the idea of luxury with a positive brand reputation. Also excites us customer, as it is associated with being a sponsor of Wimbledon an annual event.
With the Event’s industry festival events have their own brands such as Glastonbury and V Festival. Each of these festivals has their own event reputation that leads to the notion that they have their own set of loyal customers (event goers). With Glastonbury especially, it is an iconic brand and one of the most popular festivals in the UK. Tickets go on sale prior to finding out the line-up, showing how individuals have loyalty to Glastonbury and are willing to attend regardless the line-up.
What’s in it for me?
As a customer it is important to establish whether your loyalty is being taken for granted and that you are entitled to receive benefits for being a devoted customer. Being rewarded for being loyal customers is of importance.
Some organisations have put a loyalty scheme in place for their customers, in order to make sure their customers are their main priority. Loyalty schemes are rewarding customers and persuading them to carry on business with the company, for example the use of discounts and vouchers. A problem found is that not a lot of event organiser’s will put on a loyalty system for their customers, however I feel this is an area for improvement. For example, many people tend to go back to the same annual festival due to a positive experience; therefore those attending yearly should be rewarded with a discount or a package deal for the weekend. This will ensure customer loyalty is apparent and that the festival cares for its attendees. Drengner et al (2012) found ‘hedonic services such as sports and music events can strengthen communal spirit among consumers’.
Loyalty towards an event or a brand has its financial benefits, not just for the company but most importantly the customer itself. From a customer’s perspective it is possible to evaluate that the more loyal we are to a company, the lower the prices for us. However it has been implied that loyal customers who are happy with the event experience or their service will ultimately pay higher prices that is a clear positive for the company. Carter (2016) expands on this, ‘Loyal customers are willing to pay more for the brands they love, but the value still needs to outweigh the price’.
But why do we feel to pay a higher price? It’s because we have a strong connection to the brand, we enjoy the idea of being a loyal customer to a particular organisation, a sense of admiration towards them.
As for the company themselves they also receive high financial benefits. When dealing with them same loyal customers the company are spending less money as it cheaper to deal with existing customer, then sourcing new ones. With all these increased purchases by loyal customers, this can ultimately lead to high profit margins for company.
This being a win, wins situation for the loyal customer and the business.
Negative Reputation means Negative loyalty
At times some brands has failed to promote the company positively resulting in negative event and company reputation. This can result in the loss of loyal customers. This can be that a particular brand as not dealt well with their customers nicely, breaking the trust and loyalty.
Olga (2015) examines that there is a link with social media being a platform in which where customers will vent their frustration with a company’s poor service or a negative event experience. As a company you want to avoid this. Try to use social media platforms positively to avoid negative reputation. Having a negative brand reputation can ultimately lead to the loss of loyal customer, resulting in the failure of your company, making it hard to achieve new customers.
Customers will only be loyal if they are led to feel a trust with a brand. We are loyal as much as you let us be.