When Trust & Brand Loyalty are Tested

by Liz at MeeWee July 28th, 2020

We think a lot about trust and brand loyalty, two brand cornerstones that are being tested during the coronavirus pandemic. 

We were recently reviewing findings from Ketchum’s new study, Brand Reckoning 2020: How Crisis Culture Is Redefining Consumer Behavior, Loyalty and Values. Out of so many takeaways, here’s one to consider:

The data clearly shows that loyalty is less locked in than ever.”

In times of uncertainty, why might a consumer turn their back on a brand they trust? With varied responses to the coronavirus and continuing protests about racial injustice, we’ve seen what happens when there’s friction between a consumer’s beliefs and corporate actions: customers take their money elsewhere. 

Outside of these weighty conversations, there’s another area where brand loyalty can crack: product availability. 

Mary Elizabeth Germaine, EVP and Managing Director of Ketchum Analytics, includes this personal anecdote in her blog summarizing the Ketchum study:

“What I thought of as unwavering loyalty to a brand of paper towels has come into question because I simply couldn’t get my preferred brand. I’m not more open to substitutions generally, but I’ve now discovered that other brands are comparable substitutes.” 

In this examples, issues with supply and supply chains (see the Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020) opened the door to competition: good news for the upstarts, which now have a narrow opening, and concerning for the market leaders, whose loyal customers have discovered the competition could be just as good, if not better. 

Where you sit on this spectrum will depend on your brand, but your response should be similar: be relevant and be authentic. 

You can compete in the race to the bottom by slashing prices. However, that’s not how you gain or maintain brand affinity. You compete by removing yourself from the competition. You're not doing your job just to move products, you’re doing this because your company has a role to play, your brand has a voice, and your customers believe in the way you do business. That’s why they’ll buy your brand. That’s why they’ll trust you. And that’s why they’ll return, even after a short fling with the competition. 

This approach won’t fix supply chain woes. But it will guide you through the aftermath and keep you connected with your customers through whatever comes next. 

How can MeeWee help?

MeeWee is a customer advocacy application helping brands build momentum, drive revenue, and connect with new & devoted customers. 

You’re welcome to try it for free because we believe it can help marketers grow authentic reach for their brands and give traction to critical campaigns. 

We do that by helping you engage with your loyal customers and turn them into brand advocates.

Interested in learning more?

Register for a free trial. 

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