Now what? Brands need to demonstrate consistency and superiority in the minds of the customer. This leads to an emotional attachment.

​Dependability is key to both types of customer, but to earn the committed, brands must show they are superior to others.

Among the major challenges marketers face in the year ahead will be creating and retaining a loyal customer group. It is a challenge because of the difficulty of brand building in an era with fast-changing media, much under audience control, and because e-commerce and digital communication make it difficult to integrate messages and deliver on-brand customer experiences.

How do you create, manage and leverage a loyal customer base in this environment? To empirically address that question we leveraged the database associated with Prophet’s Relentless Relevance 2015 study in which 400 brands from 29 categories were assessed on more than 20 measures of brand relevance. The goal was to determine what drives two loyalty levels: the satisfied and the committed.

The satisfied are those who buy regularly, often out of habit, because they are satisfied with the brand’s performance over a long time period. They perceive the brand to be familiar, dependable with consistently good experiences and easy to buy. The brand has become a comfortable habit and there is no reason to change. For some low-involvement products, the satisfied are the core loyalty group.

The committed have a more intense, involved relationship to the brand. They are more likely to have an emotional attachment, to receive self-expressive benefits and to have a use experience that goes beyond merely functional benefits. They are also more likely to be brand supporters, even telling others about the brand and its use experience. For some high-involvement products, a brand should aspire to have a committed group.

How do these groups differ with respect to what drives their formation and nurtures them over time? From the Prophet study, indicators of the two loyalty types and five potential drivers of loyalty were identified. The extent to which each of these five indicators impacted (explained variation in) the two levels of loyalty were explored statistically.

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