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Three Ways Brands Can Cultivate Emotional Loyalty

Customers want to know that a brand appreciates them. Learn about our latest loyalty and consumer engagement research and the three ways brands can cultivate long-lasting relationships.

You may have asked yourself, “Do consumers want a relationship with a brand?” and the answer is, “Yes.”

The 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report reveals that 81 percent of consumers want a relationship with a brand. Within this relationship, consumers want to feel appreciated for their loyalty and purchases, and they want to be recognized consistently across purchasing and communication channels.

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Consumers want the brand to show that it knows them through personalized content and offers, and they want to connect with a brand on a common cause or shared value. These types of connections nurture an emotional bond that fosters deeper loyalty. The relationship goes beyond the confines of a loyalty program, by the way, and is impacted by every interaction the consumer has with the brand. Because of this, it is important to understand how a loyalty program fits within the larger ecosystem of the brand to elevate that more human relationship.

81% of consumers want a relationship with a brand

Consumers are acutely aware of the vast number of choices they have when it comes to purchasing. Because of that, they want - and expect - to feel appreciated for ongoing patronage once they choose to be loyal to a brand. As with personal relationships, emotions can play a significant role in a consumer-brand relationship. For example, the relationship can have positive outcomes, like the creation of dependency; however, a poor experience could also hurt a customer’s feelings or lead to dissatisfaction with the program and the brand.

Tend to the relationship with an ongoing focus on making consumers’ lives easier, supporting their values, welcoming their feedback, recognizing their loyalty, and showing appreciation for their business.

Our research indicates that brands can cultivate these relationships by interacting with consumers in the following three ways.

1. Delight through surprises

Once again, consumers said that the most important way a brand can interact with them is by surprising them with offers or gifts: almost 58 percent of consumers believe this is the single most important thing a brand can do. Integrating relevant and well-timed surprises into a loyalty program can create peaks of satisfaction within the customer experience and illustrate to customers that they are being recognized and appreciated for their loyalty.

2. Make their lives easier

Forty-one percent of consumers indicated that it's important for brands to make the shopping experience more convenient. The disruption to consumers’ daily habits and routines due to COVID-19 had many people juggling more responsibilities than ever before, often working remotely while trying to homeschool children and keep everyone fed and healthy with home-cooked meals. This added workload is still accelerating the need and desire to find convenience any way possible to make life easier.

Additionally, consumers who may be at a higher risk of complications from the virus are still avoiding public places, which increases the importance of services like online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery. These convenient services and experiences have now become ingrained and expected in the shopping experience and will continue to be in the future.

A brand can become a consumer staple when it provides the consumer with consistent convenience that makes life easier.

3. Say “thank you”

As stated earlier, consumers want to feel appreciated for their loyalty. In fact, 40 percent of consumers indicated that this is one of the most important ways a brand can interact with them. The simple act of saying thank you can go a long way and it costs nothing. Demonstrating that a brand appreciates a customer’s business and recognizes that they are part of the brand’s success really resonates with consumers.

Download the full Loyalty Barometer Report for more detailed insights.

Understand your most loyal customers

The first thing we do when we work with any brand is get to know them and their customers. Not just the basics, but the nitty gritty consumer behaviors and attitudes. Our loyalty and promotions data scientists and analysts use multi-dimensional program data to measure the performance of your customer engagements and loyalty tactics. Then, we come to the table with actionable recommendations that drive results.

Ready to dig into the data details? Let’s talk