Why Buyers Are Loyal to Some Brands
“Brand loyalty is a long-standing non-random behavioural response that denotes a commitment to the purchase of a brand after deciding among one or more brands (Kotler, 2002). It refers to the repeat consumer purchasing behaviour of a product or service that previously provided consumer satisfaction when various competing alternatives exist.
An example of brand loyalty is Apple’s case; consumers are likely to upgrade to a newer version of the same brand rather than try a different brand. “Consumers who are loyal to a brand remain customers because they believe you offer a better service and higher quality than anyone else. This happens regardless of price or other reasons” (ReSci, 2021)
What are the reasons why customers become loyal to a particular product?
Many factors influence a customer’s decision to remain loyal to a particular brand. They include:
- Brand name and image: Well known brands can disseminate product benefits and lead to a higher recall of advertised benefits than less popular ones. “This image can be so strong that it precludes, at least in the short run, even the desire to test the market periodically for a possibly better solution” (Monger, 2012).
- Quality: The product/ service quality includes the functions, features, and comfortability of a service or product that carries its capability to satisfy the customer’s needs. In other words, product quality is defined as “fitness for use” or ‘conformance to requirement” (Russell and Taylor, 2006).
- Price: For customers with high brand loyalty, the price can’t affect their purchase intention easily. Generally, their satisfaction is built by comparing the price with the value and the perceived cost. “The goal is to make sure your product or service is affordable to your customers and tied to the value it provides” (Lowry, 2017).
- Value: “The basic ingredient in all buyer loyalty is perceived satisfaction with the firm’s store, product, or brand. No buyer is likely to consider seriously repeating purchases when there is no real benefit” (Monger, 2012). It is vital for a product or service to meet and exceed consumer expectations, to solve a problem, or fulfil a need.
Other factors include product characteristics, to list, buying convenience, the environment, socio-economic and demographic contexts, cultural influences, purchasing behaviour, marketing strategies, and market structure.
How does brand loyalty change over time?
According to Kotler (2002), there are four stages of brand loyalty:
- Hardcore loyalty: Customers purchase a specific brand’s product or service all the time. They buy out of habit because they are usually satisfied with the brand’s performance over time. They perceive it as familiar, dependable with good experiences as well as easy to buy. The brand is a comfortable habit, and they see no reason to change.
- Split loyalty: Customers whose loyalty is split between two or three brands, easily substituting one with the other.
- Shifting Loyalty: Customers who are moving from one brand to another.
- Switchers: Customers with no loyalty, for example, those who are constantly looking for deals or bargains, or those that are looking for different experiences.
Brand loyalty is important because it provides businesses with the opportunity to build relationships and sustainable competitive advantages. However, “brand loyalty may change over time due to failure to keep up with consumer expectations and changing preferences” (MyCustomer, 2014), failure to deliver superior customer experience, and failure to keep up with changing trends, among others.
When a company ignores trends and fails to provide consumers with additional benefits, they decrease product or service utility. Hence, loyal customers may change over time, from hardcore to split or shift loyalty.
Check the following reference articles to learn more about why buyers are loyal to some brands:
- Kotler, Philip (2002). Marketing Management (11th ed.), N.J: Prentice-Hall.
- Lowry, S. (2017, September 26). What makes customers loyal? Tivoli Partners. URL
- Monger, B. (2012, April 20). Why buyers are loyal to some brands. Smartamarketing.Wordpress.Com. URL
- MyCustomer. (2014, October 10). Five reasons customer loyalty is decreasing – and what you can do. URL
- ReSci. (2021, March 9). Customer loyalty vs. brand loyalty: why they matter for customer retention and repurchase rates. URL
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