Consumers don’t pledge brand allegiance easily – and with the marketplace growing more crowded by the minute, getting shoppers to commit is harder than convincing a perpetual bachelor to tie the knot.

These days, it seldom takes more than a swipe of a thumb to digitally signal interest in a potential mate, but what must brands do to cozy up to consumers? And cement a bond that’ll last a lifetime?

As it turns out, today’s shoppers are interested in what a brand stands for – where they get their ingredients or materials, how they treat employees, which causes they champion. A Nielson study in 2015 concluded that 2/3 of global consumers are willing to spend more on a product made by a sustainable brand, proving that shoppers want to invest in more than just the product listed on their receipt.

Here’s how brands can earn the loyalty they’re longing for:

  1. Establish a genuine connection.

Consumers want to feel like they truly know the brand they’re buying, so transparency is the first step in transforming a faceless entity into a friend. Identifying your brand’s values opens a door that great storytelling can then waltz through. Whether it’s the tale of how you started or where you’re going, consumers love a good story – and more importantly, a brand they can relate to. A survey shows that 64% of women and 68% of men have felt an emotional tie to a brand or business … now that’s a story with a happy ending!

2. Provide the best value.

Even if your product isn’t the cheapest, it can still offer the most value. Remember that many consumers value brands that are ethical, even if they’re not necessarily the most economical. So, whatever your niche, be the best. If your brand prides itself on baking dog treats with locally-sourced ingredients, then make sure no other bark-ery in town uses anything fresher. Loyalty programs with discounts and incentives are also a great way to keep customers coming back for more.

3. Make customer service top priority.

Whether it’s a relationship between husband and wife or brand and consumer, communication is incredibly important – and even more so when things go wrong. One study found that 47% of millennial consumers want the brands they buy to own up to their mistakes, and that same percentage want their feedback to be considered. Customer dissatisfaction is inevitable, but it isn’t necessarily a roadblock to loyalty. Correcting a problem immediately and making sure it isn’t repeated is often all it takes to get back in a customer’s good graces.

4. Keep in touch.

If brand loyalty is the goal, making a purchase is only the beginning. Once the transaction is complete, meet customers where they are through email, digital and social media marketing. Many brands follow up post-purchase with thank you emails or send fun discounts on a customer’s birthday, for instance. In fact, 41% of consumers surveyed said they buy more from brands who send them personalized emails based on their purchasing habits.

5. Be yourself – consistently.

In our constantly evolving marketplace, the best brands must work day in and day out to stay ahead of the competition. But building a loyal customer base requires more than following the latest trends, and is instead focused on giving consumers the quality shopping experience they’ve come to expect. As a matter of fact, surveys have found that a whopping 86% of purchasers would pay more in exchange for a better overall experience.

Come to think of it, most of these tips apply to relationships in general. But since receiving a beautiful bouquet from your favorite toothpaste company might be overkill, we recommend a multi-platform marketing approach instead. One that’s designed to keep your brand at the top of buyers’ minds – and soon, on their must-have lists.

If you’re ready to create a marketing strategy that’ll have consumers proclaiming their loyalty in no time, give us a call. Like a hopeless romantic after a phenomenal first date, we’ll be waiting by the phone.