Four principles of building brand loyalty for your start-up

Consumers regularly return to brands they have previously bought. On the surface, this behaviour appears to be an act of loyalty, but deeper analysis reveals it is more to do with a marriage of convenience. Brands make our lives easier, so we reward them with our money.

Our favourite brands make themselves easy to buy because they get us, they talk to us in a language we understand, are readily available to purchase and are memorable. It’s imperative to focus on these critical foundations to build a successful start-up brand.

Customer understanding

The trap many start-up founders fall into is believing they are like everyone else. They design products or services for themselves under the illusion that everyone else will want it. It’s called the Ikea effect. We place a higher perceived value on something we’ve built.

The best brands understand that consumers pay them to solve problems. Consumers have desires, motivations and needs, but often something is getting in the way of them reaching their goal. There is a bridge to be crossed or a tension to be solved. Every start-up brand must understand what customer tension they solve.

Meaningful features and motivating benefits

Successful start-ups design products and services that solve customer problems better than the competition. Fit for purpose products delivers motivating benefits, supported by meaningful features. Too many features and you risk customer confusion, not enough features you lack credibility.

Sales channels

At the heart of any sticky brand is a well-crafted sales channel strategy. Sales channels are the lifeblood of any business, they raise revenue, build relationships with customers, and if done well, can help build a brand.

Within every industry, there will be multiple channels to serve customers, from price driven to experience driven. Price driven sales channels thrive on the lowest prices. Unless your start-up has a significant cost advantage, its best to deprioritise these price dealers. The best retail partners deliver a multi-sensorial experience that customers are willing to pay more for. They are also the most memorable, making it easier to be remembered of in the buying moment.

Find a voice

Inner-city living adults are bombarded by 5000 messages a day, via TV, radio, billboards and mobile phones. However, very few of these messages make it into long-term memory. A part of the brain filters messages, only letting in compelling and relevant messages into long-term memory. Getting past the brain’s bouncer is about finding a voice, delivering a persuasive message and building a platform to do it consistently.

The secret to creating brand loyalty is to make your brand easy to buy. Solve a value problem, talk in a language that resonates, offer more than just low prices and be memorable. In your fight for customers, your brand will be your most valuable asset.

Troy McKinna, Co-Founder, of Agents of Spring and Calm & Stormy and author of “Brand Hustle – 4 critical foundations to accelerate brand growth”

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