Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Value of True Brand Loyalty

A good brand is almost as important as the product or service itself. It helps make consumer decisions easier. It's a marker for trust, for reliability. It separates one company from the next. The relation of a good brand to sales is evident, and companies must make managing their brand a top management function.

True brand loyalty is what every company strives for, or at least it should be. An increase in brand loyalty not only boosts reputation, but it directly affects sales. Brand loyalty is different than having a popular brand. A popular brand can lead to increased sales, but it may not last forever. Brand loyalty means developing a strong customer base dedicated to your brand. Committed customers are a huge asset to a company, defending the company if there's a crisis and generally having a more negative view of its competitors, incidentally engaging in word of mouth marketing.

Brand management has often been viewed as a marketing function more than a public relations function. The three brands I have recently studied, however, took a personal approach, building relationships with their customers. Building relationships? That sure sounds like PR to me. The truth is that every department and every employee helps build the brand. Perhaps the most important employee to help build the brand is the CEO, but we'll discuss that in a later post as we look at a company with a brand not unfamiliar to anyone living in this century; Apple. The next three posts will take a closer look at three organizations, Avon, Starbucks and Apple, to see how they were successful in achieving brand loyalty.

True brand loyalty is an asset to every company, and a vital PR function, so it's important to looks at companies who have done it well. That's my PR thought for the day.

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