What was that one thing that most brands focused most during last year?

Brand Loyalty.

Indeed, it has come a long way. In the world of retail, loyalty was often considered as an underdog. The broadcast commercials, promotional offers and print advertisements ruled the roost. Cut to the millennial century, brand promotions continued but marketing honchos worldwide realized that it is time to hold on to their existing customers, their loyal brigade. Marketers worldwide are waking up to the myriad benefits of a loyalty program, there are some Superbrands who found their way to the buyer’s heart. While offering customer loyalty programs consistently, these companies gradually formed brand advocates like no one’s watching. So, let’s take a closer look at brands who got it right, really right with their loyalty programs that their customers swear by the products and services offered by them.

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1. Apple

Talk about brand loyalty in any part of the world and Apple tops the list. On 16th March 2021, it was noted that Apple’s brand loyalty reached an all-time high of 92% in comparison to 90.5% in 2019. While they bank largely on product innovation, what works for them is their products and services are conceived from the customer insights they capture. One of the 2019 surveys revealed that 90% of iPhone users look out for next iPhone as an upgrade or buying option. And that is some loyal community to be proud of!

2. Amazon

When it comes to buying nearly anything online, Amazon really heard its customers. Given the pandemic paralyzed the world last year, Amazon’s delivery options were highly valued. The brand has come a long way to embrace the ideology, ‘customer is the king.’ Their new membership plan, Amazon Prime not only offers free and timely shipping but special offers, entertainment options, ad-free music, that customers can blindly rely on.

3. IKEA

Heard about the IKEA Effect? The psychological phenomenon is derived from the adulation Americans had towards their self-assembled furniture. In short, feeling joyful for an otherwise frustrating experience. From an American brand to a global furniture name, this brand too puts customer needs first to design their products accordingly. This brand brought a cultural change in people’s minds and its customers are definitely not complaining.

4. Walmart

In the 2019 retail loyalty report by InMarket, it was revealed that Walmart topped the list given its consistent customer engagement initiatives. Over the years, this multinational entity takes brand loyalty seriously by adopting digital strategies and expanding on their offering. Another notion that Walmart believes in that brand loyalty is not restricted to just the products they offer but to the larger audience they cater to.

5. Starbucks

Come to think of it, it’s just a cup of coffee? Knowing that a Starbucks coffee would cost you much more than coffee at a regular café. But ask a Starbucks rewards program member and they’ll tell you it’s beyond that. Their ‘order and pay’ feature on the mobile app allows customers convenience, pairing suggestions, free refills, discounts and earn stars for every transaction they make. More stars, more rewards – it’s that simple and effective.

6. Nike

There are some brands that are built on their product innovations, some like NIKE are built on their messaging, their brand image. NIKE has done that! It doesn’t matter whether you are a sport-fanatic or not, this footwear brand adds personality to their consumer wardrobe by offering ability to customize color options on its website. You wear them like you own them and never to ditch them.

7. Sephora

The beauty marketplace is as huge as it is competitive. So while other brands would vie for consumer attention, Sephora packs it all under one roof which works as their biggest USP. It caters to delighting customers by giving them a one-stop shop experience. They don’t pause there, in fact, their much-acclaimed and loved tiered loyalty program offers its members invite to exclusive events, favourite brand offers, birthday specials and countless freebies on point accumulation.

8. Lululemon

It’s not just any athleisure brand but it’s a brand with a purpose. And their loyal consumers are well-aware of that. The driver and promoter of healthy living and mindfulness, this is a proud parent of over 1400 ambassadors who speak for their brand across the globe. Organizing free fitness sessions and festivals, Lululemon is indeed an inspiration for its customers educating them living a good life.

9. Dominos

According to the Brand Keys Annual Loyalty study of 2020, Dominos climbed up ten spots to reach the fifth position leading the pizza category in customer engagement and loyalty index. Launching their loyalty program in 2015, the brand offers new and varied pizza options to different customer segments based on their purchasing behavior. The brand has witnessed a definitive increase in its loyal customer base and overall purchase frequency.

10. Coca-Cola

This carbonated drink pretty much taste the same like its competitors but for its loyal customers it does taste different. With over 50 million Facebook fans across the globe, there is something definitely that they did right, from time to time. Building a SuperBrand image and retaining it for long, it is not the sheer promotions that makes this drink grab the top shelf in stores today, but its loyal fan base.

Rome was not built in a day, neither can be brand loyalty. When you venture the loyalty program path, remember: Customer loyalty is offered, Brand loyalty is earned. So, focus wisely. If you haven’t tread that path yet, take a step forward and talk to our loyalty experts who will build one exclusively for your brand.

Aditi
Writer, traveler, and a cold coffee addict, precisely in that order, Aditi Jindal is a storyteller. Whether it is slicing brands and their content marketing strategies or dabbling different genres of book writing; her keen interest in finding the unique idea for brands to deliver compelling stories keeps her on her toes.