Nike, Adidas, Lululemon, Reebok… If you had to name five more fitness brands, I’m sure that you easily could. The ways in which fitness brands engage with their audiences and build brand loyalty is absolutely mind-blowing. The $31 billion fitness industry has gone from $30 monthly gym memberships into a lifestyle that runs rampant across every social media platform. These intensely passionate communities have formed around exercise preferences and achievement, creating a deeply loyal fan base for their brands. Nike has such a following, that SNL went ahead and created this spoof video. This brand has created such a loyal fan base, that many of them don’t even workout!
The Nike Pro-Chiller legging: Designed for endurance and sitting on the couch.
Effective brands have a strong identity that allows their consumers to relate to them. Brand marketers must have a deep understanding of psychology in order to develop this brand loyalty with their fans. There are several different strategies that enhance image perception and popular companies like Nike are showing us how it’s done. The USC Master of Science in Applied Psychology program deeply studied this concept.
They found that there are five core dimensions to creating a strong brand: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. Everyone one of these factors helps to shape the brand personality and the image of the brand to the public. In order to project sincerity, your campaign needs to come across as honest and genuine. You can drum up excitement with daring tactics, state-of-the-art technology and unique advertisement. Competence is established through reliability, quality of service and efficiency. And sophistication comes through look and feel, along with brand ambassadors and catered events.
There is a sixth component that they found: unconscious branding. This means that your branding is so effect that people don’t even know that they are associating with it. The actual advertisement that they saw may have been forgotten, but your brand left them with a feeling that they remember.
Is there an effective path to follow to direct consumer behavior to your brand? Yes.
- Interrupt the old pattern to make way for the new.
- Create comfort such that the consumer begins to appreciate the shift.
- The imagination must be led to the new normal.
- Shift the feeling in favor of the brand.
- Satisfy the critical mind.
- Make sure there are answers to quell doubts.
- Cement the gains by taking action and changing the associations.
So, what does all that jibber-jabber mean?! Basically, actions speak louder than words. Be mindful of what your brand is doing and make sure it all supports your brand positioning and the new initiative you are promoting. What your brand does will always leave a way bigger impact on the minds of people than any words they hear, or copy that they read. Your brand will also speak for itself by how it interacts with your customers. This is the Social Age that we live in. When people have complaints and inquiries, address them quickly and with pertinent/valuable information. Leave your customers feeling like they are walking away better off than when they came to you.
My best advice for building brand loyalty is to get to know your target audience. Do you have any advice on how to build brand loyalty? I would love to hear it! Leave me a comment below.