Brand Affinity is the New Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty has always been a goal for food & beverage brands. Utilizing marketing assets to facilitate repeat customers is vital for the long-term success of a brand. However, brand loyalty can only go so far. As the world has rapidly changed in the past year, customers are redefining their relationships with brands. It is no longer just about the products. What your brand stands for, and your core values and beliefs are just as important. Brand loyalty is expected. Brand affinity is the new goal.

According to AdAge, “brand affinity means that consumers not only know you exist but that they also have a strong connection to you, they identify with your brand’s values, and they have great expectations of your brand because of that personal connection. […] Affinity means that the consumer trusts your brand; they recommend it to their friends; they identify with it. It means that the consumer feels [they are] literally part of your brand.” Similar to loyalty, there is no exact formula on how to encourage brand affinity. However, by focusing on authenticity and storytelling you can facilitate a mutual relationship founded through shared values.

Why does brand affinity matter?

It’s no secret that forging a strong relationship with your core customers is critical for the success of your business. The difference between affinity and loyalty lies in what attracts customers to your brand. Having high-quality products serves as the foundation of your relationship with your customers. However, as Datassential states, “[Customers are] attracted to brands with clearly stated objectives and values – to provide comfort, offer a solution to a problem, or to combat current issues. From helping parents get dinner on the table after a day of virtual learning to reinvesting in local communities, there’s a huge opportunity for [brands] to be a lifesaver, in more ways than one.”

Shoppers want to feel good about the products they purchase. They want to be able to trust and value the brands they support. They want their favorite brands to reflect their own values and opinions. By focusing on cultivating brand affinity, you can nurture a relationship that is much deeper than just the products you offer. Tapping into communities that align with your brand’s core message adds value to the relationship between you and your customers.

Sharing your values through authentic storytelling

Previously, we’ve discussed how storytelling is a valuable asset in refining your brand’s identity. The story you choose to tell is a direct reflection of who your brand is and what you have to offer – but your story doesn’t always need to be about your brand. As Leeatt Rothschild states on Forbes, “If you really want your stories to resonate, stop telling stories about your brand. Dig deeper to find the stories that show why and how you make an impact through your business.” As we stated earlier, consumers want to feel good about the brands they purchase from. The stories you tell, the message you share, are all reflections of what your brand stands for.

How you tell your story is unique to your brand. However, telling a story should not be a task you take on alone. At the end of the day, storytelling is all about tapping into and creating community. Highlight your customer’s stories. Share the experiences of your employees. Have conversations with your companies or organizations that your brand already works with. Show your customers that your values and beliefs are ingrained into every facet of your operations.

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