What separates a one-hit wonder tech company from a beloved evergreen brand? Well, the Brand Love report by Energy PR, which gathered detailed insights from over 100 experienced UK marketers, sought to find out…
Love for a tech-focused business drives customer loyalty and inspires recommendations, thus building the corporate customer base and contributing to long-term success.
And so begins the cycle of prosperity. According to the findings, those who genuinely love a company are three times more likely to endorse it to others, and, in an era where cancel culture is rife, where one wrong move can bump a business into oblivion, it’s worth noting that consumers will tolerate twice as many mistakes from a corporation they truly adore before taking their custom elsewhere. In fact, the study showed that such a company can publicly lapse almost five times and people will still remain loyal.
While many might think that qualities like originality are fundamental to tech business glory, the study actually showed quite the opposite. Despite the success of corporations such as Apple and Tesla, for example, only 17% of marketers surveyed agreed that uniqueness is important, while just one in 10 (11%) feel tech brand greatness is steered by innovation. Rather, they note, the key components are trust (60%) and emotions, or in other words, how the brand makes customers feel (58%). Surprisingly, these traits outshine more practical considerations such as customer support (34%) and value for money (33%).
But achieving notoriety is no guarantee of consumer love, the marketer survey revealed. This level of adoration of course requires a level of intimacy; over half (55%) of the participants said that a much-loved brand must be aligned to customer values, with 42% adding that it must be ingrained as part of their life. Further to this, over a third (38%) added that such brands must be closely tied to the customer’s identity.
The list of brands marketers claimed to feel 100% committed to is dominated by those in the field of tech, with Apple, Sky, Samsung and Amazon all landing a place in the top 10.
“Apple historically very cleverly aligned its laptops and computers as the tech of choice for people who identify themselves as ‘creatives’, fundamentally linking the brand with their sense of creative identity” – Louise Findlay-Wilson, MD, Energy PR
“It is easy to understand why a brand like Apple tops the list when it comes to commitment, when we consider that according to our marketers, a loved brand becomes part of someone’s identity and life,” said Louise Findlay-Wilson, managing director of Energy PR. “Apple historically very cleverly aligned its laptops and computers as the tech of choice for people who identify themselves as ‘creatives’, fundamentally linking the brand with their sense of creative identity.”
To help companies retain devoted shoppers, the report also lays out the consumer behaviour quirks they must consider. Firstly, it explains, many could be mistaking apathy for loyalty since, according to the study, customers are, on average, incredibly apathetic, meaning they are willing to tolerate an average of two mistakes – even from ordinary brands – before feeling compelled to shop around. This passivity could be leading to poor quality customer service being brushed under the rug. Once this sort of customer is eventually lost, winning them back can be a real challenge.
On top of this, the report identifies the ‘recommender gene’ as a quality some people either do or don’t have – and this is something that can overrule how an individual feels about a certain brand. Among consumers who love a specific company, for example, 10% will still not recommend it (or any others) to their friends. On the other hand, 30% of those who were not particularly committed to any brand will still happily recommend them to others.
“A key take away is that the best brands aren’t necessarily great innovators, but, if you read between the lines, they are all great communicators” – Louise Findlay-Wilson, MD, Energy PR
In terms of mistakes that can drive customers away, these include neglecting their feelings and focussing solely on new consumers (58%), forgetting current customers (54%) inconsistent messaging (28%), lack of customer understanding (28%) and inauthenticity (27%).
As Findlay-Wilson concludes: “Other tech brands can learn plenty from our research. A key take away is that the best brands aren’t necessarily great innovators, but, if you read between the lines, they are all great communicators. Without communications, you will struggle to demonstrate your values or become part of someone’s life and identity. Communications are an effective way to show customers you ‘get them’, you care and to make them feel good.”