Are you considering a risk within your marketing approach? Bold, attention-getting moves can reap big rewards. But, before you leap, there is one very important aspect of your brand health you have to consider – Loyalty.

Brand loyalty is a factor every marketer wants to better understand. That’s because high loyalty translates to firmly-implanted customers. Brand-loyal customers often describe themselves through the lens of their favorite brand (e.g. “I’m an Apple person.”) They also tend to stick with their preferred brands for the long-term. It’s no wonder “brand love” has become something of a buzz phrase.

How to measure brand loyalty

Discida data scientists look at more than blind loyalty when measuring the Loyalty factor, one of four factors that ultimately roll up into the Brand Health Score. They also look at something called consideration, or how likely someone is to give your brand a chance. Our research measures various levels of loyalty, from whether someone is likely to at least consider your offerings, to the possibility they will choose your brand regardless of other moderating factors.

Brand loyalty is strongly influenced by industry vertical. Financial services customers, for instance, tend to be more entrenched, partly because of perceptions that switching providers is burdensome and not worth the effort. They tend to remain loyal customers unless or until they feel a brand has wronged them in some way.

In the software industry, on the other hand, customers are less inclined to stick with one brand. Competition is high, and new entrants to the software marketplaces often work incredibly hard to make changing providers a simple experience. Software brands are always looking to gain an edge on the competition, capitalizing on better pricing, features and service offerings.

Regardless of the industry, no company is insulated from the threat of customers taking their business elsewhere. All brands are well-served by efforts that make their customers feel valued and appreciated.

So, back to that bold, perhaps even risky, marketing strategy? Your success – or the impact of your failure – can be largely influenced by the loyalty of your target audience.

Consider Nike and its most recent campaign. It’s probable the company’s leadership had a very good pulse on the social attitudes and loyalty levels of Nike’s target segment before launching promotional content that featured Colin Kaepernick’s controversial protests. While the strategy certainly alienated some consumers, polling after the ads were released showed nearly a third of its target demographic said they would buy more Nike products.

Last year, Pepsi came under intense criticism after an ad featuring Kendall Jenner was viewed as insensitive and tone deaf. Pepsi ended up pulling the ad amidst the public relations fiasco. But, during an earnings call the following quarter, the company reported an increase in its revenue and profits. In this particular case, loyalty among existing customers may have been strong enough to weather the storm. Despite possible disapproval of the ad, loyalists stuck with their preferences and buying habits ultimately weren’t negatively impacted.

How much risk can your brand take on in marketing or other strategic endeavors? How likely is a prospective customer to look your way? Start uncovering the answers today with the Discida Brand Health Score.

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Also published on Medium.