From jewellery mogul Gerald Ratner’s £500 million slip of the tongue, to VW’s infamous emissions scandal, the value of maintaining a clean reputation cannot be overstated.
Above all, consumer-facing brands need to understand why this matters most for their industry. Given that their audience is the public-at-large, they not only depend on them for profit, but brand credibility and future ideas too.
Consumers have always religiously placed their trust in the same brands time-and-time again, so it is of utmost importance that there is a clear appreciation of the need for companies to retain consumer loyalty for the good of both their brand and, more broadly, their reputation.
The foremost international business magazine Forbes has just released its seventh annual ‘World’s most valuable brands list’ highlighting the pride that consumers around the world place in their favourite brands and the importance of reputation to dominate market share.
Our very own Triple R campaign aims to assess how and where consumers build quality relationships with brands before (Reach), during (Respond) and after (Retain) purchase. Unsurprisingly those brands owning the ‘Triple R’ rating are leading the market thanks to both the personalised and hands-on experience they are offering their customers, every single day.
The survey of 3,600 respondents across 23 countries in Europe and Africa highlighted the demand for brands to offer personalised services, and for businesses to ensure they have the digital solutions in place to meet and exceed evolving customer requirements.
The headline findings were that 70 per cent of European consumers felt the best brands were those who treat them as individuals and 57 per cent of consumers would spend more with the brands that make them feel valued.
Typically, being deemed the most valued and trusted globally is dependent on epitomising the recent phenomenon of customer-centricity. Those brands that have been able to go one-step further and convert their customers into fans have done so by integrating the principles of customer engagement into the heart of their approach.
The key to unlocking widespread customer loyalty for consumer-facing brands therefore is to treat consumers as individuals, rather than just numbers on a spreadsheet delivering company profit.
Consumers want brands to reassess where in the customer journey they pay the closest attention to their needs. Where brands do this well is typically right up until the moment of purchase, but beyond that, the consumer-customer relationship is severed.
In today’s 24/7 consumer-facing market, potential customers are technology rich, but time poor, meaning the importance of maintaining an ongoing connection across the required online platforms has never been greater, nor has the demand diminished for companies to be consistent and available to potential customers for the good of their brand.
Those customer-centric businesses capable of establishing an intimate connection with their customers, based on a track-record of loyalty, are on to a winner.
Above all, however, for brands to deliver the tailored service that consumers are actively seeking, both choosing the right technology and incorporating the most suitable internal processes comprise the foundations of a successful approach.
In this era of digital disruption, companies in particular have a duty to ensure that consumers and employees align themselves with brands using tools such as social networks.
Those brands that fail to create a seamless online presence in tandem with a physical one will always be one-stop behind in their ability to deliver an all-encompassing 360-degree consumer-service.
By not striking the right balance between the necessary technology and smooth digital processes, brands risk hindering the pursuit, and at times restoration, of loyalty in the eyes of consumers.
If brands are unsuccessful in their attempt to do this, customers will have no qualms jumping from one brand to another.
Notwithstanding the inevitable consequences for a company’s bottom line, firms across the board need to head off any obstacles to maintain customer loyalty at the pass.