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The Drivers of Brand Loyalty May Surprise You

David Aaker, Andrew Marcum and Marketing News

​Dependability is key to both types of customer, but to earn brand loyalty brands must show they are superior to others.

Among the major challenges marketers face in the year ahead will be creating and retaining brand loyalty. It is a challenge because of the difficulty of brand building in an era with fast-changing media, much under audience control, and because e-commerce and digital communication make it difficult to integrate messages and deliver on-brand customer experiences.

How do you create, manage and leverage a loyal customer base in this environment? To empirically address that question we leveraged the database associated with Prophet’s Relentless Relevance 2015 study in which 400 brands from 29 categories were assessed on more than 20 measures of brand relevance. The goal was to determine what drives two loyalty levels: the satisfied and the committed.

The satisfied are those who buy regularly, often out of habit, because they are satisfied with the brand’s performance over a long time period. They perceive the brand to be familiar, dependable with consistently good experiences and easy to buy. The brand has become a comfortable habit and there is no reason to change. For some low-involvement products, the satisfied are the core of the brand loyal group.

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David Aaker is vice chairman of Prophet, the author of Aaker on Branding and a member of the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Andrew Marcum, an insights and analytics engagement manager for Prophet, designed and executed the research underpinning Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index.