MONIKA EVERS
 
 
 
If you haven't developed
the influence side
of your business, I
recommend that the sooner
you do this, the better.
The ongoing cost
of missed opportunities
is more critical
to your business moving
forward, than the cost
of moving forward.
Peter Buttigieg, CEO,
RMS

A brand people can believe in... creates a group of people who feel like they belong

Why do some organisations and products like Apple and Coca Cola mean something to their customers? Yet others in the same space are better priced or loaded with more features, fail to generate that same kind of loyalty that skews a market?

Today, we know that brand loyalty is firstly emotional. We found through neuroscience that brand loyalty resides in those areas of the brain that relate to the emotions, like the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus.

These are our emotional processing centres and where value systems and beliefs dominate the behaviour of every loyal customer. These areas foster decisions that are processed entirely by emotions before the features and the compeition are even taken into account.

One only has to look nowadays at the dominance of iphones against the more featured packaged offerings of competitors to understand that features and innovation aren't driving markets, something far more powerful is at work.

For a long time marketers have defined customer loyalty in terms of a particular preference to repurchasing the same branded product or service. Neuroscience has shown us that customer loyalty is far more complex. It is relational, emotional and engenders a sense of belonging and doesn't actually consider the competition.

Customer loyalty, like "family", is values-driven and not based on a logical argument of features.We have witnessed that the power of values around loyalty can change fortunes in an instant. For example, when Nike was accused of supporting slave-labour and a tide of public opinion halved the value of their business and started the swing to black brands like FUBU. When Rainbow Warrior was sunk and all things French were on the nose for quite some time. To recent times, when McDonalds chose the wrong CSR policy and ended up in court. In the same way, we have seen dramatic rises in attachment to brands like Apple, Facebook, Google, Julian Assange and in movements like the Occupy Movement.

Naturally, the question on the lips of every person in business and every brand specialists is, “How can I too, inspire a level of attachment onto what we are bringing to the market?" And it isn't just the big businesses asking this question. Every company that has lost a proposal when all things were equal; or have seen valued customers disappear when an employee moves on, knows the value of that loyalty to their business.

In the past, designers have looked to that one magical logo, marketers to that one clever positioning statement, that would make more sense to its customer base. Each hoping that the new positioning line, or re-launched brand would be the trigger for more customer loyalty. The truth, we now know, that it is not just one aspect to a brand's face that generates this kind of emotional loyalty, but actually eight. These eight aspects of influence have now been shown to be woven into the fabric of every inspiring brand or movement that has ever captured the imagination of markets.

A country wanting to move exports, or a business launching a new product or service, just being familiar in the marketplace is not enough. Economic rationalism is still the pervading construct of our times. With no emotional attachment, people are always going to follow the dollar and the cheapest quote wins until you can generate that emotional tie into your brand.

We have a presentation called the "Anatomy of Influence" which covers this and more. We use it as a precursor to implementation of this eight-step customer loyalty strategy. Call us to arrange a private viewing and begin your transition from familiarity to loyalty today.