Is Brand Loyalty Dead?

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

In an age where nearly-infinite choices are available seemingly at the click of a button, many brands are realizing that the ways brand loyalty are defined and attained have fundamentally changed. Their realization stems from the dramatic shift in the way consumers and B2B customers do business. Accenture notes that only 28 percent of consumers say they have loyalties to brands, and TeraData states that 38 percent of marketers say that the biggest challenge they face now is retaining customers.

Seeing as how access to information and alternatives online has empowered consumers, this development should be no surprise. Word gets around fast, damaging brand image, and consumers are now shopping on their smartphones even as they browse for the exact products in-store.

So what is a brand to do? The key, according to Chris Talago form The Economist, is to drive brand loyalty through direct connections that forge conversations. These connections should happen on channels where the brand can entirely set the tone and pace of the conversation while earning their audience’s undivided attention. Direct mail is one such channel.

A Lone Voice in a Storm of Noise

Many brands are turning to digital channels to produce the aforementioned connections and conversations with mixed results. While online content is incredibly effective at directing customers towards branded channels, it cannot always hold their attention. Even more often, digital channels are disrupted by supposed “whistleblowers” who are keen to drag brands through the mud for even slight transgressions to the benefit of their own online attention.

These problems do not exist with direct mail. Rather than having commenters or alternatives screaming at your customer from all directions, it is just them and your voice transmitted through the piece of paper in their hand. You can speak to them precisely in the manner you want without having to worry about dissent or distraction. For this reason, direct mail has become a powerful channel to add to an overall branding and content campaign that builds relationships with existing customers.

Making an Impact

Another potent ability direct mail holds for brand loyalty is the capability of making a more dramatic or emotional impact on the reader. Written words on physical paper have a power that digital channels lack, especially when customers are treated to personalized direct mail campaigns that use custom art to evoke the desired message subconsciously. Custom-printed envelopes are the perfect vehicle for such a campaign since they cry out what brands want to communicate with their audiences even as the mailbox is being opened.

To maintain loyalty as consumer and B2B tastes evolve further, brands must seek methods like these to remain in control of the narratives they want to share with their audience. Such approaches help a brand be seen as a personal confidant rather than a faceless company not worthy of a long-term customer relationship.

In conjunction with smart branding and a multi-channel approach, direct mail has been shown to be quite an effective tool in the hands of brands that seek to strengthen brand loyalty. Explore your options to create a unique, physical experience in an era where online digital noise has become a dime-a-dozen.

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