Brand identity and loyalty has never been more fragile. At least, that’s what a recent article in The New Yorker states. According to the piece, the Internet has had a transformative effect on a customer’s buying experience, and it has reduced the prevalence and importance of brands as a mark of quality. Instead, “you are only as good as your last product” due to the ready availability of detailed feedback and reviews. You can’t rely on your brand name alone to carry sales – you must offer quality in every case.

In many cases, though, the data don’t seem to back this view. There are brands that have a large amount of customer loyalty and that retain that loyalty through shifts in the market and their own product base. Even when products are new, loyal customers buy them without prior research. So the question remains: How do you keep customers loyal to your brand?

One answer is by building a high-quality product. This is the clearest and most obvious solution to attaining true customer loyalty, but it’s also one many small companies (and a good number of large ones) seem to miss. Especially in today’s Internet-enabled world, you cannot expect to build a product or service that offers lower quality than your competitors and expect to succeed.

But along with quality comes another related requirement – value. If your customers see value in what you do, you can thrive off of that success no matter what your products are. If quality were the only metric by which customers bought then there would be no big-box retailers, budget-conscious electronics manufacturers, or economy automobiles. A customer’s decision to buy from your store or brand reflects their own decision on what is valuable to them.

Brands achieve loyalty by offering a product or service that customers find valuable. It isn’t just a measure of quality, as The New Yorker would have us believe. It is true that bad reviews and negative press can kill a product or even a brand, but that was the case long before the Internet. Customers have more information at their fingertips than they used to, but the actual information is largely the same as it’s always been.

In other words, the Internet might seem like a disruptive force, but it doesn’t make a difference in terms of a customer’s individual value calculations. All it does is change the source of where the calculation comes from.

The best advice for improving customer loyalty is simple: create a good product or service, and offer it to customers in a way that makes it valuable to them. For manufacturers and merchandise brands, this could mean lower prices or special offers. For retailers it could mean starting a loyalty program that adds value to the shopping experience.

Consumers may be more product-conscious than they were before the advent of the Internet, but that does not mean they are less aware of or loyal to a particular brand. It means they pay more attention to the actual value they get from using that brand. Improving loyalty becomes a task of improving the value a customer sees in you.

To learn more about improving customer loyalty and offering strong, worthwhile loyalty programs, follow Lucas Color Card on Facebook or contact one of our representatives today.