"Create a meaningful relationship and you will have a customer for life." Variations of this message have been discussed and written about for decades. Creating that relationship is difficult and time consuming. Moreover, does it even matter?
The simple answer, yes. Through a series of experiments, a team at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management found that people are more likely to defend a brand they have a personal connection with.
A threat to a family member or pet is many times interpreted as a personal threat. The emotional connection has formed a bond that must be protected. The higher the threat, the more protective we get. A brand can't necessarily compare to Fido, but the research shows similar effects.
When a brand comes under attack, the research concluded that brand loyalty actually increases in cases where the consumer had a strong personal connection to the brand. The study took participants who self-identified as brand loyalists to a specific brand and asked them to give the brand a rating. Next, they showed the individuals an editorial that negatively criticized an aspect of the company in question. After some discussion they asked the panel to again rate the brand. What happened? Participants brand ratings were more favorable.
It may seem like a lot of work, and it will take time, but forming those strong connections with your customers could make all the difference.
Read the entire article based on the research of Monika Lisjak, Angela Y. Lee and Wendi L. Gardner.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, Carl's Captures.