From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Increasing Brand Loyalty

Do clients trust you more this month than last? They should if you implemented what you learned in the last issue about how to use interactive communications to build trust and credibility with new clients.

Remember, what you can do for new clients to improve business relationships works equally well with existing clients.

In this lesson, you'll learn to apply interactive communications at each customer interaction point to increase brand loyalty.

You'll discover a more appropriate definition of "brand" that is applicable to the professional business to business company offering a complex solution.

First, let's talk without reservation ...

Each year I adjust this newsletter to serve the needs of readers like you. Many readers have been with me for years and many new ones join each day.

With so many like-minded sales, marketing, and service leaders-- I need to hear from you to make this the most relevant newsletter you'll ever received.

Take a moment to look over the editorial calendar then write me with what I absolutely must cover about business relationships in the coming year.

At your service,

Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Why Every Customer Interaction Is The Ideal Place To Increase Brand Loyalty

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Face it; customers have other options contrary to the valuable solutions you provide! One purpose of building business relationships is to grow customer loyalty, trust, and credibility in your offer -- these points together become your "brand."

Brand is how others recognize you in your market place; it represents certain aspects and expectations in the minds of prospective customers. The better you perceived among prospective buyers, the more likely they are to purchase, and the more loyal customers they become.

You have secured brand loyalty when customers continue to purchase your solution over any other available option. However, the problem is how to develop a brand in the most cost effective means possible.

Even if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw at an effort -- an experiential approach that associates your company with results desired by customers will always create brand loyalty faster than image advertising. For marketing and sales professionals with complex solutions there isn't enough money or time to create measurable results unless you have a focused approach.

You may be asking, "How can brand loyalty be increased in a cost effective way that makes the best use of the resources I already have?"

To increase your brand it is critical to utilize every customer interaction -- every contact must cultivate loyalty, trust, and credibility. By using interaction-points, instead of image advertising, you are more apt to involve customers in highly relevant situations were you demonstrate value instead of just talking about it.

By demonstrating your value in the course doing business, you establish a framework necessary to sustain relationships. You are also:

  1. Reinforcing the value that contributed to a customers original purchase,
  2. Providing relevant context that defines your company around customers problems,
  3. Creating results while providing customers a means to know how measure them,
  4. Fixing promises in the physical by delivering solutions desired at that interaction,
  5. Fulfilling expectations through priorities as defined by the customer,

These positive experiences create the reasons why a customer decided to work with you in the first place. As a customer experiences your solution, they associate those emotions to first the people at that interaction, then your organization.

These experiences are more relevant to problems customers face at each interaction. This gives you a chance to provide meaningful value, but also position a customer to purchase or interact with your company again.

Look at each point of interaction as a marketing tool instead of just a means of providing service. This focuses your efforts while creating situational experiences that customers can grasp and associate with your organization.

To create tangible experiences that reinforce brand loyalty, it is important to:

  1. Educate customers in a ways that help them get more from your solution,
  2. Offer other options that extend the value of previous purchase decisions,
  3. Verify and confirm you are meeting expectations in the minds of customers,
  4. Be relevant to a customers current situation based on feedback and not assumption,
  5. Engage customers in dialog that extends your understanding of their desired results,
  6. Help customers understand why certain solutions where selected for them,
  7. Identify what a customer would have lost if they didn't take the prescribed action,
  8. Encourage customers to echo recent benefits received with your particular solution,
  9. Clarify what a customer has to gain beyond the surface results seen in the short-term,
  10. Ask for feedback that improves a customers experience with your solution or results,
  11. Learn how customers used your product or service to achieve the results they receive,

Apply some or all of these points as they support specific identifiable interactions between your staff and customers. Build brand loyalty as part of your service efforts instead of any special effort outside of solving real problems for clients.

Since defining interactions points is a simple process, document and test the specific actions necessary to create maximum results in each situation.

In the business to business universe, brand is representational of loyalty, trust, and credibility. Brand as described in the consumer world is useless, especially if you want to generate a return on your efforts.

Instead of showing your company through image advertising, choose an experiential approach that associates your company with certain results customers' desire. Through this, you'll build business relationships while creating brand loyalty in the course of due business.

© 2004 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
/ customer-relations | interaction-points /

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