2021 design and advertising trends are all about creating a sense of trustworthiness and reliability, which is why brand attachment is a great way to think about moving forward. But what exactly is brand attachment, and how is it different from brand loyalty?
What’s the Difference
Brand loyalty simply means that when a consumer wants or needs to purchase a good or service, they’ll go out of their way to purchase it from the brand they prefer. That’s all well and good, obviously. But there’s one big problem with brand loyalty: it doesn’t necessarily have an impact on purchasing frequency. What exactly does that mean?
Imagine a consumer who only buys hammers from Tom’s Hammers. Any time they need to buy a hammer, they’ll do whatever it takes to purchase it from Tom’s—precisely because they have such an intense feeling of brand loyalty toward that particular brand of hammers. But how often are they purchasing hammers anyway? They may be loyal, but if they’re only making one purchase every couple of years, they’re not exactly the Most Valuable Customer.
That’s where brand attachment comes in. Brand attachment takes the best qualities of brand loyalty and adds a few important twists. We can think of the difference between brand loyalty and brand attachment as the difference between having respect for and trust in a product (brand loyalty) and associating deep and positive emotions with that product (brand attachment).
Someone with brand loyalty will only make a particular type of purchase from one brand. But someone with brand attachment will go out of their way to engage with the brand. They’re more likely to make frequent or scheduled purchases, more willing to experiment with the brand’s product line, and less concerned about pricing. What that all adds up to is a dramatically higher customer lifetime value.
Why it Matters
As direct-to-consumer services and companies continue to proliferate, brands are going to be competing for smaller and smaller swaths of consumers. In other words, it’s not as important for some brands to have a high number of customers as it is to have a smaller number of dedicated, repeated customers. That’s why brand attachment’s ability to maximize customer lifetime value is so crucial.
But it’s not all about LTV. Brand attachment also offers impressive stability by lowering churn. If you’re only earning brand loyalty, you can still lose customers to better deals or market disruptions—consumers won’t go above and beyond the call of duty to seek your product. In contrast, customers with high levels of brand attachment stand out because of their willingness to go through obstacles and make sacrifices in order to purchase a product or service. That formula—a higher LTV combined with reduced churn—is a difficult one to beat.