Whether you were denied by your schoolyard crush or the cute guy in your freshman English class told you he didn’t like you “like that,” we’ve all been in relationships that fall somewhere between “like” and “love.”
Being in the friend zone is certainly less than ideal. That’s especially true for brands, since, just like in the dating world, there are plenty of other fish in the sea for customers to choose from.
But the good news is that there are worse things than just being liked. After all, affinity is one of the three components of emotional loyalty. Along with attachment and trust, which comprise parts two and three of our series on emotional loyalty, affinity helps brands build a deep connection with customers. Only when this bond forms and a customer feels valued and respected is emotional loyalty achieved.
When customers feel affinity toward your brand, it’s the beginning of what could become emotional loyalty. They like you, but aren’t yet fully committed to you. But they’ll still occasionally engage with your company and buy your products, demonstrating they’re open to the possibility of a deeper relationship.
Here are three ways to cultivate affinity among your customers.
Make a good first impression
Customers are drawn to brands for a number of different reasons, including product quality, value, and even their emotional response to a company’s branding. These factors are enough to intrigue customers, but on their own will likely never lead to lasting love.
Marketers can use several tactics to nurture the relationship, including:
- Custom offers that help reinforce your brand’s value
- Useful advice that ensures customers get the most out of your products
- Surveys, polls, and other conversational interactions
- Inviting customers to share personal stories on social media
Interactions like these let customers know that, despite their hesitation, your brand understands their needs and is ready to help in whatever way possible.
Give them attention
For brands to get out of the friend zone, you must build an affection with their customers. The problem? There are often other shinier, cheaper options waiting to steal your customers’ attention (and dollars).
Your relationship will lead to something more when you give customers the attention they deserve. Think bigger than simply sending personalized messages. Focus on building emotional loyalty by getting to know your customers better and using loyalty programs to demonstrate that understanding and form an attachment. By using what you already know about them, you can tell customers about additional features for current products they own or direct them to others similar to what they already like.
Also consider talking about yourself — but don’t ruin the conversation — by making them aware of your company’s efforts to give back. This could include showcasing sustainability and/or social responsibility.
Develop a true relationship
Steady sales, positive reviews, and social media commentary might lead brands to think their customer relationships are going well. But just because a relationship looks good on the surface, doesn’t mean everything is going smoothly.
Did you know that, according to Bond Brand Loyalty, consumers belong to an average of 13 loyalty programs but are only active in about seven? Don’t let your relationship be among those that are just for show. Building affinity with customers is just one component of creating emotional loyalty. You also need to earn customers’ trust and help them form an attachment with your brand.
Are you interested in building emotional loyalty with customers and driving revenue growth for your brand? To learn more about the ins and outs of emotional loyalty, download our latest ebook, A New Kind of Loyalty.
As a platform technology company, Cheetah Digital combines robust data management and cross-channel communication abilities with dedicated, in-house professional services. We help marketers execute complex, enterprise-scale marketing programs and effectively drive lasting customer loyalty. We are a business partner to the world’s best brands, and have employees across 13 countries.