Winning Brand Loyalty & Trust In An Omni First World

Embracing an omnichannel approach involves funneling all customer touchpoints into a seamless, unified experience, writes Vinit Kapahi

Take a moment to remember your favourite song and ponder why it holds a special place in your heart. Can you recall the moment you first heard it and how it took you back to that time? It may not be the ‘best’ song you have ever heard on a technical level, but it means something unique to you because of the way that you experienced it.

Just like our interactions with art, our personal experiences with brands play a pivotal role in influencing our purchasing decisions. The commitment a brand demonstrates toward its customers is reflected in the personalised experiences they deliver. It is these interactions, the trust we place in the company, the quality of service, and the brand's ability to cater to our needs that shape our overall experience. Hence, if there is no experience, there will be no consumers as well.

So, what drives consumers to be loyal to a brand?

Successful brands recognise that the consumer experience is paramount, and loyalty can dissipate quickly if the experience fails to meet expectations. To inspire consumer loyalty, a brand must become synonymous with the exceptional experiences it delivers. This endeavor demands ongoing effort, as loyalty is something that must be earned continually.

At the core of loyalty lies trust, which is intricately intertwined with the customer experience. Loyalty and trust go hand in hand, and trust must be established for consumers to become loyal. A better experience nurtures stronger trust, leading to more loyal customers.

Brands should always be on the lookout for innovative ways to enhance their value proposition for customers, never taking loyalty for granted. The competitive landscape is ever-evolving, and brands must adapt to retain their customer base effectively. If you do not conform, they will.

But how do we ensure a fuller experience for our customers?

The pursuit of a never-like-before customer experience calls for an omnichannel approach—meeting customers on their terms, regardless of whether they are shopping in physical stores or navigating the digital and social realms. This approach may seem challenging at first, but it is essential to think broadly and adapt to evolving consumer behaviours, media, marketing strategies, and best practices.

In the traditional environment, consumers had access to only one purchasing channel, resulting in fewer opportunities to form judgments about the seller's reputation. But today, consumers have countless ways to discover, research, and make purchases, amid a barrage of content vying for their attention. To stand out amidst the noise, trust becomes an indispensable asset for brands.

Today’s consumers seek personalised interactions and active involvement from brands. How brands interact with customers and deliver effortless, smooth experiences will be the pivotal factor in gaining consumers’ trust.

With India’s diversity, we need to treat each state as a nation of its own, considering its varying brand preferences, media consumption habits, cultural practices, and language. It is imperative for brands to adapt their communication and engagement strategies to cater to these unique regional characteristics. They must focus on tailoring their marketing mix and products to suit the specific geography and communicating in the local language.

Not to forget that today’s consumers are highly opinionated. They actively engage with brands to voice their thoughts and needs, particularly on social media platforms, where they offer feedback and address any brand-related issues. Moreover, social media platforms help influencers and consumers share personal stories and experiences, presenting brands with a valuable opportunity to gain profound insights into their target audience. To catch up with the trend, brands should also find ways to be proactive and maintain real-time communication with consumers. Social listening and similar tools play a crucial role in achieving this objective. They must showcase their earned reputation consistently across all channels. Leveraging trusted third-party review sites in an honest manner can significantly contribute to establishing trust.

Summing Up

Trust is more than just a fleeting marketing term; it is a valuable currency exchanged between a brand and its audience. To remain relevant and attuned to their audience's changing needs, brands must genuinely listen to their customers and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Embracing an omnichannel approach involves funneling all customer touchpoints into a seamless, unified experience. Brands must be present wherever their customers are and deliver relevant content at the right time. Staying ahead and adapting to the evolving needs of consumers is of utmost importance.

Remember, it is the experience that defines your brand, not the other way around. Consumers are well-informed and vocal about their experiences, making each of them a micro-influencer.

(Vinit Kapahi is the Head of Marketing at Aviva India)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.