Magazine article CRM Magazine

Building Brand Loyalty: Turn Your Customers' Passion into a Long-Lasting Brand Relationship

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Building Brand Loyalty: Turn Your Customers' Passion into a Long-Lasting Brand Relationship

Article excerpt

Brand devotion can be hard to earn, but once a company wins over a consumer, that relationship can evolve past fandom and into a passionate love affair. Tim Halloran, president of Brand Illuminations and author of Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers, argues that the connections people make with brands can be as deep, emotional, and dynamic as the relationships they have with people. How can brands make their customers fall in love? Halloran shared some key brand relationship advice with Associate Editor Maria Minsker.

CRM: Where did the idea for Romancing the Brand originate?

Tim Halloran: I was sitting in the back of a focus group of eight women tasked with evaluating Diet Coke. One woman picked up the soft drink and said, "I drink eight of these a day. It was with me a month ago when I got my promotion; it was there three months ago when my cat died. In short, I like to think of it as my boyfriend in a can." We were just dumbfounded. This woman really thought of this Diet Coke as much more than a product. So I did some research and [found that] a number of academic studies show that we do form bonds and relationships with brands, and they're very strong, committed relationships. This was the idea for Romancing the Brand: As a marketer, your ultimate goal is to get consumers to fall in love with your brand.

CRM: What are some mistakes that you see companies making when it comes to building relationships?

Halloran: One major problem is that brands start thinking of consumers in a transactional way, and they get away from the relationship. JCPenney is an example of this. One day they offered discounts, and the next day they didn't. Now they're back to offering them again. They've turned the consumer relationship into a value-based relationship, and that's not something you want to do. The other thing I see is brands not staying focused on their message. If you don't stand for something, you get lost in the shuffle. Brands really go off track when they lose their focus and their positioning in the marketplace.

CRM: You outline eight secrets to romancing the brand. Which do you consider to be the most important? …

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