In our content series about how marketers can prepare for the 2020s, we’ve talked about making transparency a huge priority, making “experiences” the new “content” and evolving your website to be a personalized engagement destination. Today, we’re discussing one of the greater challenges brands face today and will continue to face in the future: loyalty. Brand loyalty is changing. Here are the ways you should be thinking about loyalty in the coming decade.

#4: Brands Will Win Loyalty By Building a Values Strategy and Introducing New Ideas 

When mentioning company values in the early 2010s, the conversation often fell into a vague discussion about cause marketing efforts. Remember this was the decade where the “buy-one-give-one” concept popularized by TOMS spurred a flurry of copycat strategies, all focused on the idea that “having values” meant your company needed to become one part product, one part charity. 

In the ‘20s, your values will largely represent your brand’s authentic truths. Consumers are eager to find products and services that align with their values, and will increasingly look to brand stories as a way to share who they are and what they stand for. In a study from Wunderman, they found a whopping 89% of consumers are loyal to brands that share their values. 

True loyalty can no longer be bought via points and discounts. Consumers have become fatigued with the majority of traditional loyalty programs. Brands need to prioritize fostering emotional connections as much as they do other analytical marketing activities. A majority [79%] of consumers have said that brands have to actually demonstrate that they “understand and care about me” before they are going to consider purchasing.

And here’s our hot take prediction for the 2020s: While our digital worlds in the ‘10s became more personalized, it also grew a culture of echo chambers where we are constantly fed content and advertising that fits our worldview. While these filter bubbles help us make decisions, we are often trading familiarity with new opportunities or content that could be more interesting. 

In the 2020s, we predict we will see a shift towards trying to eliminate those bubbles and build knowledge beyond our own biases and interests. What does this have to do with marketing? This will present an opportunity for marketers to challenge a consumer’s perspective. Companies that use their values as a way to share new ideas and open new opportunities for consumers will boost a brand’s “authenticity score” and ultimately, trust and loyalty.  

What Can You Do to Prepare? 

1) Create a “Values Neighborhood” of Brands Similar to Yours

The portfolio of brands a consumer uses will be a reflection of the lifestyle and values they want to portray. If your values were a neighborhood, what other brands, regardless of category, would live there? Create a map of other brands that share similar values and look for ways to be allies.

2) Conduct a Thought Exercise –  How Can Your Brand’s Values Challenge the Status Quo? 

What can consumers learn from your brand? Where can you take a stand on issues that matter to your consumers? How can you form an emotional connection? Thinking about and then following through on these questions can lead you to stand apart and above other brands.

3) Evaluate Your Transactional Relationship with Consumers

Forming consumer relationships that are driven largely by transactions will be a risk in the 2020s. How can a consumer interact with your brand that doesn’t require a quid pro quo relationship?

Next Up: Is Your Brand Part Personal Assistant? 

It is predicted that by 2022, voice-enabled smart speakers will reach 55% of US households and voice-based commerce sales will reach $40 billion(!). Voice-based search has seen exponential growth, and in the coming decade, organic voice search will be a huge channel in which brands have visibility. As Marketers, we will be tasked with providing value from these integrations. Stay tuned for our recommendations. 

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