Almost two-thirds of American adults feel that the types of experiences that make them loyal to a particular brand or provider have changed to some degree over the past 3 years, research from Accenture Strategy has found. For youth, product and service experiences are becoming more important drivers, as is trust in data privacy.
In fact, a leading 85% of US respondents overall said that an important influence on their loyalty was brands being trustworthy with regards to safeguarding and respecting the privacy of their personal information. This was one of the few important influencers of brand loyalty that was shared across generations, cited by 81% of Millennials (18-34), 83% of Gen Xers (35-54) and 88% of Boomers (55+). The result aligns with previous research indicating that a range of security concerns affect consumers’ trust in digital brands.
The importance of consumer trust in business – and brand authenticity – has been well documented in research of late. A recent study from Edelman, for example, revealed that attributes related to integrity are most important for consumers in building trust in businesses.
Other attributes important to building trust included customer engagement, such as by listening to customer needs and feedback. One area that brands should pay attention to is respecting their customers’ time: 81% said that it was important to their loyalty that brands be there when they need them but otherwise respect their time by leaving them alone (e.g. minimal email or phone contacts). This was again one of the few loyalty drivers shared relatively equally across generations.
Given that marketers are trying to win youth over with a view to earning their long-term brand loyalty (not an easy task, according to Millennials themselves), it’s worth taking a look at the various loyalty drivers considered important by the 18-34 bracket.
Among the various influences highlighted in the report, some of those with the broadest consensus among Millennials were:
- Providing tokens of affection such as gift cards and discounts to reward them for their loyalty (73% considering important, versus 59% of respondents overall);
- Making sure to provide optimally-designed and personally-desired channels for interacting with them (66%, versus the 51% average);
- Keeping them on the cutting edge by consistently offering the latest and most up to date product and service offerings (66%, versus the 51% average);
- Giving them the opportunity to personalize products they buy to create something unique or bespoke to them (64%, versus the 41% average); and
- Providing them with new experiences, products or services that go beyond the traditional scope of the company (64%, versus the 41% average).
These results demonstrate that Millennials prioritize aspects such as innovation and personalization to a greater extent than other generations, though that personalization shouldn’t come at the cost of putting their data at risk.
Other loyalty drivers cited by Millennials at a greater rate than their older counterparts include:
- The knowledge that they’re doing business with a brand that their friends and family also want to do business with – a result that relates in part to a growing body of research indicating that word-of-mouth has an outsized influence on youth; and
- Brands supporting shared causes – a result also backed by research showing that corporate social responsibility is important to youth.
- There are obvious benefits to earning consumers’ loyalty, per the report. For example, two-thirds of respondents said they spend more money with the brands and providers they feel loyal to, and a majority express their loyalty by actively recommending the company to friends and family (
The majority of consumers seem to want brands to try to earn their loyalty, though most don’t want them to get carried away with it. Only 1 in 6 feel that trying to earn their loyalty won’t accomplish anything (8%) or provoke a negative reaction (8%).
For more perspectives on brand loyalty, see these articles:
About the Data: The Accenture Strategy results are based on a survey of 2,532 consumers in the US.