In today’s digital era, anyone can have an idea and start a business. Only a few, however, can truly become lifestyle brands with a devoted customer base. Great lifestyle brands have personality, influence behavior and create a strong connection with their audience.
Here are five keys that will transform your business into one of the greats by building customer retention, brand loyalty and overall profit growth.
1. Understand Your Audience
Integral to all facets of a business, you need to thoroughly understand your audience. The best way to do this is by creating buyer personas—or semi-fictional characters who represent your optimal consumers based on detailed market research.
The most important things to include when developing these personas are:
- Customer demographics (age, gender, occupation, etc.)
- Behavioral patterns (early adopter, brand advocate, etc.)
- Motivators/Triggers (why the person is moved to action)
- Goals (What do they hope to get out of this)
Once you know who your business is targeting, it’s easier to make decisions on product types, effective messaging, marketing channels and more. This allows for a more personal connection, rather than a transactional relationship.
2. Stand for Something
It’s no secret that Millennials and Gen Z are more conscious than previous generations. More than half of Gen Z said that knowing a brand is socially conscious influences their purchasing decisions, while 52 percent of Millennials said they’d spend more money on a brand that aligns with their social values.
A company that exemplifies this by actually building their company based on social issues is the shoe brand, TOMS.
TOMS champions a Stand for Tomorrow campaign supporting six different Giving Partners who implement “need-specific” TOMS shoes into community programs. Before you purchase a pair, you can select which program you’d like to support.
Becoming a culturally significant brand is about more than increasing profitability, people want to know that you care about real world issues.
Pro Tip: Once you’ve determined what matters to you and your company, take a stance on that cause (or a few) and start creating ways that your customers can get involved.
3. Cultivate a Sense of Community
Cultivating a shared sense of community where people feel your apparel defines their lifestyle, is a true achievement in brand development. Though, success like this is no small task and doesn’t happen overnight.
Continually push clear and consistent messaging throughout everything that you do as a brand—meaning anytime you post on social media, put out an ad, talk to clients, create visuals, etc. Eventually, you’ll begin to see a community who really believes in your company start to form around your brand.
Pro Tip: Develop a brand ambassador program where people can receive a discount on your apparel in exchange for posting online and bringing in new customers. This is a great way to get advocates involved and help them spread your message.
4. Develop a Rewards Program
A rewards program is a fun way to honor your loyal shoppers. The concept encourages people to spend more time at your store or website because they get something mutually beneficial in return.
Not to mention, research has shown that more than half of people would join a loyalty program if one was offered.
Pro Tip: A simple solution is to offer a punch card. Each time a person purchases from your shop, stamp the card. After a person purchases from you 10 times, offer them a percentage off their next purchase. This can be translated to points for e-Commerce sites as well.
5. Offer Exceptional Customer Service
Your consumers want to feel heard. This includes receiving swift responses to their inquiries, in order to settle any curiosities or concerns they may have.
A recent Customer Service Expectations Survey found that 92 percent of people will switch to another company after three or fewer bad experiences. On the contrary, that same study revealed 68 percent of people will pay more for products and services from a business with a strong record of good customer service—with 27 percent willing to dish out as much as 20 percent more.
Setting your brand apart with positive customer service is not only ethical, it can also convert first-time buyers into repeat purchasers. This is essential in the growth of customer retention and brand loyalty.
Pro Tip: If you have the bandwidth, create separate handles on Twitter and Facebook solely dedicated to answering customer service questions to improve response time.
What ways has your business tried to develop a lifestyle around your brand? Share in the comments!