In the food and beverage industry, brand loyalty starts with the product. Where it ends is yet to be written. While other industries might provide goods and services on a regular or non-luxury basis, nothing requires repeat custom like food and drink. Food is how we humans survive. How your business survives depends on fostering brand loyalty in this competitive market.
Making yourself known is difficult enough, but maintaining brand loyalty can be even trickier. To do this you will need to know what works for the customer and what doesn’t. Thankfully there are ever increasing options to keep them coming for more.
The word survey often conjures the idea of cold calling or clipboard nuisances in the street. But if you own a restaurant or similar food service industry, you are going to be constantly in survey mode. Everything from who’s coming in to how customers enjoyed their starters. The same goes for other elements of the food and beverage industry.
The reason many people shun surveys is because they feel them to be a waste of their time. Making it worth their time is the key to good feedback. Net Promoter Score survey takers can be incentivized to take the survey in the first place with smaller rewards.
NPS surveys will help you find your top level promoters, people likely to be loyal to your brand. Establishing surveys like these as part of your brand loyalty platform will allow you to find the right people. Once you find them, you can place high level promoters into specific communications promoting referral programs with greater incentives.
As surveys also help you find your worst critics, you will be in a better place to chart data and find answers to the complaints made against your product or service. Here you can also find different incentives which will try to bring them back on board. This means you can save your high end incentives on the right people without offering the same to those who are less likely to promote you.
Once you have these “promoters” on your side, tracking their efficacy doesn’t end there. You can do this in tandem with providing incentives to promote to their friends.
If you have a product or service which can be shared, you can provide a reward for doing so. Giving a previous customer a discount or promotional reward for a new referral makes it not only a win win, but a win win win. You get more custom, your initial customer gets their reward and the new customer can do the same when they provide a new referral of their own.
In this way, once you get a healthy referral program up and running, you have a feedback loop which can provide you exponential custom. Finding the right reward provides opportunity for creativity. Discounts are still valuable, but promotional gifts can help get the word out in a more old school manner.
In a more new school way, similar incentives and rewards apply. Using your loyalty program, you can track who is following you on social media and find new pools of potential customers. Quality product in the food and beverage industry has always been important. But now the look also has a big factor in how you can promote online.
Building loyalty through a brand loyalty platform entails making social media followers not only like the product or service, but endorsing what they say about them as individuals. It isn’t always possible to share what your brand is all about on social media. But you can post snippets of how they can improve a customer’s lifestyle.
Promoting a certain type of lifestyle among social media followers will encourage existing followers to share this with their own. This means the right pictures, the right branding and overall image.
It also means keeping track of your reach on social media. Use a brand loyalty platform to keep track of your reach, find out which posts you should be boosting, see the kind of people who are engaging (through comments and shares) and provide incentives. This often will involve photos. Use contests and rewards to encourage people to get images of your product and services out there. They will be happy with the tangible reward as well as the social media kudos it provides.
While social media is certainly the way forward, this doesn’t mean you can neglect the basics. Without a good quality product or service to rely on, all the likes in the world won’t transfer to long-term sales.
Use the basics of your brand to filter into your brand loyalty program. Find out what is selling successfully and track average purchase size. This is not something which will be done overnight. Keeping abridge of the basic sales statistics will mean you have the building blocks to start a successful brand loyalty platform. They will tell you what to promote and who to promote to through your referral program and social media.
Once you have a good grasp of how your brand is working, you will be able to feed in the right information and track it. However, finding raw data is no good if you don’t know what to do with it. Choose a loyalty program which allows you to analyze your data correctly.
Visualization is more important than ever as you have more and more metrics to consider. Graphs which once took a team with a whiteboard to assemble are now available at the click of a mouse. You can also modify parameters and compare data from one period to another.
With the right loyalty platform, you can receive real time statistics as well as chart your progress according to different campaigns. Seeing what works and what doesn’t will help you to keep going in the right direction or work out what path is best to take for the next step.
Building brand loyalty is tricky in any business, but the food and drink industry has particular difficulties as well as great rewards. Using the right brand loyalty program will afford you the right tools to reap them.