Understanding the science of customer loyalty has become more important than ever to remaining relevant and continuing to grow.  Every industry will experience disruption on some level.  Even new industries will emerge.  A few years ago, who could’ve seen Bath and Bodyworks marketing cannabis products?  It’s more important now than ever to give your customers what they want.  The more impact you have on your customer’s life, the more they will value your brand.  Psychologically speaking, there are four main categories of value: functional, emotional, life-changing and social impact.  Those are in order of brand stickiness.  Let’s go into further detail.

Science of Customer Loyalty – Value Factors:

Functional

Your product or service may save the customer time, money or simplify their life.  In the science of customer loyalty, that’s pretty low on the food chain.  For instance, if your service only helps with one function, you have higher risk of competition.  There are some juggernaut brands that have cornered the market on functional value.  Amazon saves time, simplifies shopping, reduces effort, and saves you money.  If you can add more functional value to your product or service, it could make your customers rely on you.

Emotional

Appealing to the emotions of your customer is a deeper connection than the functional value.  I may decide to switch brands based on price alone but am much less likely if I feel emotionally connected.  Your product may be fun, nostalgic, or aesthetically pleasing.  Do you have brand that you feel connected to and would never leave?  I love an old sandwich shop in my hometown because I ate their every week growing up.  Is it a life changing sandwich, no, but I feel nostalgic when I’m there.

Life Changing

Not many brands can boast that they’re truly life changing.  In the science of customer loyalty it’s near the top of stickiness.  These brands motivate, provide hope, or belonging.  This may be a rotary club, local gym or a non-profit.  We would consider Apple life changing because their brand is a lifestyle that drives brand advocacy.  It’s no accident that their products come with stickers.  That way you can put them on your car like a badge of honor.

Social Impact

Social impact is by far the highest value for customer loyalty.  You allow the customer to transcend themselves and contribute to the greater good.  According to UC Berkeley, giving is really good for us.  It makes us happier, promotes good health and social connection.  Many causes like the ALS Assocation’s Ice Bucket Challenge have tapped into people’s desire to have a social impact for good.

Putting it to Use

If you can connect multiple value factors, you’ll be a incredibly successful.  One example of a brand that hit the mark on all for factors is TOMS Shoes.  They sell quality, creatively-designed shoes that provide aid to those in need.  Plus it gives the customer a sense of belonging to an exclusive group.  There you have it.  Those are the 4 value factors to loyalty marketing.  It’s pretty simple but hard to implement.  The more value you provide to your customers, the more motivated they will be to stick with your brand.