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Brand loyalty could be a competitive weapon for a brand. Consumer products succeed in the market after creating a base of satisfied consumers. Brand loyalty provides an aura of protection to the brand. It adds to the equity of the brand.
Meaning of Brand Loyalty
Loyalty is a state when a consumer becomes attitudinally and behaviorally committed to an offering. The loyal customers allow marketers to reap the advantages of customer retention. Repeated purchases provoked by a strong internal nature constitutes brand loyalty.
Importance: Brand loyalty could be very effective in consumables than durable because of the repeated buying feature associated with them Customer loyalty is of strategic importance to the firm. It adds value in four ways:
- Loyalty reduces marketing costs of the firm. It costs less to do business with repeat customers than attracting new ones.
- Loyalty provides trade leverage. It easily gains shelf space, trade cooperation etc., when a brand is with a loyal customer base.
- Loyal customers repose confidence, and faith in the brand. When a brand has loyal followers, it is easy to transform a prospect into a customer.
- Loyal customers do not respond quickly to the product improvement in competitive offerings; So, the firm gets sufficient lead time to effectively counter competitive moves.
Levels of brand loyalty
Brand loyalty operates at different levels. At the outset, five levels of brand loyalty can be distinguished. These levels extend from committed buyer at one extreme to a switcher at the other extreme.
1. Switchers: Buyers do not attach any importance to the brand. The prime consideration in buying may be availability or price. Generally, switchers are indifferent to brands.
2. Habitual buyers: Buyers of this category comprise the ones satisfied with the brand. If stimulation come from competitors, they may switch to competitive offerings. They are prone to benefits offered by competitors.
3. Switching cost loyal: Buyers are satisfied with the brand, but they will have switching costs in terms of time, money and risk. They will switch only if competition is able to overcome switching cost for them.
4. Buyers liking the brand: They have emotional attachment to the brand. This attachment is further strengthened by the usage of the product or service over a long period of time. Buyers in this category are quite intimate with the brand.
5. At the fifth level of loyalty, customers are committed to a brand. The desire to continue the relationship and working for its continuance is commitment. Buyers perceive the brand to be a part of themselves. They spread word of mouth publicity about the brand.
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