Rev Up Your Brand Loyalty With Enthusiasts
- Brand connection. The cultivation of brand loyalty begins at the grassroots level, with local events and community involvement.
- Sensory engagement. Immersive experiences that engage all senses can elevate a brand and create memorable customer interactions.
- Social significance. Active social media engagement between brands and consumers fosters a two-way relationship, increasing customer lifetime value.
Some of my earliest childhood memories involve weekends with my dad, cruising back roads in a classic Porsche. Each twist and turn showcased the car’s torque. There’s a certain romance in sitting in a vehicle designed with meticulous detail for one simple, yet exhilarating, purpose: speed.
So let’s take a look at the topic of brand loyalty.
Brand Loyalty and Enthusiasm
Now, I consider myself a BIG car fan, but if you’re not an enthusiast like me — that’s fine. I’ll simplify it for you. Car aficionados often rise at dawn to drive to a local coffee shop and meet like-minded enthusiasts. Brand loyalty even factors in: Porsche fans hang with Porsche fans, while classic muscle car buffs congregate together. It’s a thing.
Recently, I went to a classic Porsche event in Austin, Texas, at the iconic Top-Notch Burger Stand. You know, the spot featured in “Dazed and Confused” where Matthew McConaughey gave us his legendary line: “Alright, Alright, Alright.”
What Is Brand Loyalty?
My significant other and I showed up, parked and started walking around, talking to various people attending the event. Without fail, every person we talked to has three things in common:
- First, they are all BIG car people.
- Second, they are so proud and humbled to show off their ride and have people take pictures and ask them questions about alterations and upgrades.
- Finally, they all transcend the brand loyalty image of “enthusiast” that automotive manufacturers strive to develop within each of us as consumers.
Thanks to their passion, these car enthusiasts become brand ambassadors in ways that even some company employees can’t match. But this enthusiast mindset isn’t limited to the auto industry. Any brand can cultivate and empower such devoted customers within its own ecosystem. When enthusiasts gather, their energy and fervor are infectious. Before you know it, new enthusiasts emerge, armed with knowledge and a desire to deepen their connection with the brands they adore.
Here are three ways to curate brand enthusiasts in a way that feel natural, organic and unrestrained:
Related Article: Create a Positive Emotional Connection for a Better Customer Experience
Brand Loyalty Strategy: Local vs. Global
Look, I understand the need for a global brand strategy — everyone has to have one. But a local approach can be just as effective, if not more so. Here’s why: Empowering local enthusiasts to hold events, set up meetups or arrange community gatherings gives even a colossal brand a unique opportunity to connect with consumers on a new level.
By turning local fans into brand advocates, your company can forge deeper connections that national ad campaigns might miss. This is the key to creating lifetime customers. It’s also how brands can employ anthropomorphism — imbuing human-like traits into non-human entities like a brand. When consumers interact with your brand, rather than simply transact, customer loyalty skyrockets.
Related Article: The Essential Elements That Build Unshakable Customer Loyalty
Like the classic Porsche event I mentioned earlier, immersive experiences are strategies that draw consumers away from their screens and engage all their senses. I recently wrote about how Corona beer offers multi-sensory experiences, and the same principle applies here. Take Nike, for example. The leading athletic company recently hosted a run club event in Austin, allowing participants to test out their shoes during a 3-mile run. The event wasn’t just about Nike; they partnered with Sphere, a local fitness community focused on like-minded views on fitness and friendship. This immersive experience taps into existing local communities, like Sphere, to deliver the multi-sensory experiences consumers crave. This is the secret ingredient for unparalleled future customer experiences.
Related Article: Augmented Reality: A Leap Toward Enhanced Customer Service & Support
Finally, let’s talk about social synergy. One common thread among enthusiasts, no matter how long they’ve loved the brand, is that they follow the brand’s social media accounts. Why? There are various reasons, but one key factor is that these consumers often post content about their favorite brands and tag the brand’s social accounts. They’re proud to belong to their favorite product’s “tribe.” The brand becomes an extension of their identity and influences how they want to be perceived. Therefore, it’s crucial for brands to engage with their customers when tagged in posts on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter.
Of course, you can’t repost every customer story, but occasional engagement, such as liking their posts, shows that the relationship is a dialogue, not a monologue. This is critical for sustaining brand affinity and customer lifetime value. It reinforces the idea that consumers see the brand as an entity with human-like qualities, not just as a vendor. By making customers feel seen, heard and acknowledged, brands increase the likelihood that these customers will maintain their loyalty and potentially inspire others through their content.
Final Thoughts Why Brand Loyalty Resonates
Listen, you may not be a big car enthusiast like me — and that’s fine, it’s not for everyone. But it is for me. And there’s something that resonates with you, too. That’s what makes each of us as consumers so unique and fascinating.
From a branding perspective, your job isn’t to limit the enthusiast mindset, but to enable and inspire it. When I attend a cars & coffee event and someone shares the story of their vintage Porsche — what they’ve done to it, its significance to them and the adventures they’ve had — it’s hard not to feel inspired and captivated by what they’re expressing and their brand loyalty.
Then, when this person turns to me and says, “So, what type of vintage Porsche do you drive?” and I reply with “Well, I don’t have one yet…” they pause, muster up a welcoming smirk with a slightly raised eyebrow and say… “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.” And that’s some gnarly brand loyalty.
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