Consumers aren’t loyal
“Brand loyalty is a myth! You can only develop habits, not loyalty,” says one Global CMO of a multinational beverages company. If brand loyalty is a myth, what are marketers to do? This exec puts it simply, “You have to re-recruit the consumer at every occasion.”
You must win your consumer’s affection time and time again
Think of the relationship between a brand and its consumers like a romantic relationship. If both romantic partners take for granted that the other will continue to return to their arms and only their arms out of loyalty alone, the chances are one or both of them will stray. It is human nature to desire something more than loyalty. Successful romantic relationships succeed because of strategic sustained effort and the continual, active creation of moments that spark intrigue. It must be the same with brands. 40% of consumers are not at all loyal to brands (1). In theory, this leaves a large sum of consumers open to switching brands and products. But when is the best time to influence these consumer’s day-to-day choices and habits? Switching moments.
Switching Moments: What you need to know
There are a great deal of occasions in the consumer journey where habits don’t help, where the consumer has to instead make a conscious choice. Switching Moments are “Super-Occasions” when the consumer is consciously looking to make a decision. Their novelty is actually what gives them their potential for high impact.
Switching Moments vary
Some Switching Moments are influenced by lifestage, while others are influenced by events throughout the year. If a child grows up drinking soda at parties, but grows and becomes the legal drinking age, that would be a great example of a lifestage Switching Moment in which this person has to make a conscious choice about what brands of alcohol they will consume. If that same person goes to the store to buy alcohol for a summertime party and notices a brand of alcohol that is marketing their product as uniquely summery and seasonally festive, that would be a great example of a Switching Moment influenced by events throughout the year, as well as a great example of a moment that was brand prompted.
Treat the consumer like a lover
By positioning brands as the best possible choice for specific Switching Moments, brands can more effectively attract enthusiastic consumers again and again. So in short, if you want your consumers’ loyalty, treat them like a lover. Be doting. Be affectionate. Anticipate the needs they may not yet realize they have. Put in the work and maximize Switching Moments.
(1) Nielsen, Are loyal customers worth more, Dec 2013