Study finds brands must show loyalty to get loyalty

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Study finds brands must show loyalty to get loyalty

By Marianne Wilson - 04/10/2018
The loyalty landscaping is shifting as younger consumers play be their own set of rules.

Gen Z and Millennials have been empowered by unique experiences, technology, and the power of choice to engage brands and experience loyalty in new ways, according to a study by Alliance Data’s card services business.

“This study really unpacks the shopping and loyalty preferences of today’s youngest consumer segment,” said Shannon Andrick, VP of marketing advancement for Alliance Data’s card services business. “One-to-one conversations with real people supported by in-depth research has provided a unique view into the mindset of today’s youngest generations and what they expect from brand relationships. The loyalty landscape has truly shifted from brands driving loyalty to brands earning loyalty.”

Conducted by Alliance Data’s Analytics & Insights Institute, “The Rules of NextGen Loyalty” study took a close look at what brand loyalty means to each of three segments: older millennials (born 1982-1989); younger millennials (born 1990-1997) and Gen Z (born 1998-2010).
Among the report’s highlights:

Loyalty is earned. Sixty-three percent of younger consumers agree they have many choices of where to shop, so a brand must show them loyalty to earn their business. Once brands recognize the unique motivations of Gen Z and Millennials, they have taken the critical first step in building deep brand connectivity and earning lasting loyalty.

Loyalty is complex. Traditionally, loyalty has been viewed as one-dimensional. Yet, loyalty is anything but simple. Research shows when it comes to life loyalty and brand loyalty, a continuum emerges spanning a range from functional to emotional. Different types of loyalty span the continuum from traditional, mostly functional loyalty, to brand love, emotional loyalty. Re-thinking a brand’s approach to loyalty means understanding that true loyalty requires a combination of function and emotion.

Loyalty is fragile. Today’s younger consumers are increasingly unforgiving, empowered by instant access and greater choice to want more and “put up” with less. In fact, 76% of younger consumers only give brands two to three chances before they stop shopping them. One in three consumers said nothing could be done when asked what a brand could do to win them back.

Loyalty is multifaceted. Brands have typically viewed loyalty through a transactional lens. But NextGen loyalty is a combination of transaction (function) and emotion – traditional brand loyalty and brand love loyalty. Transactions aren’t the only indicators of loyalty. Brands must understand customers’ unique needs and think differently about measuring loyalty. Some consumers want the basics while others need more.

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