Brand loyalty is taking something of a hit as a result of the Internet. People are looking for a good deal; they use comparison sites, and they can search for exactly what they want. No longer are people sticking to a tried and tested brand. Various studies show that brand loyalty used to be important for around 40% of consumers. Nowadays it is less than half that. Most shoppers are no longer loyal to a particular brand. More than eight out of every ten people don’t care about the brand, as long as they get what they want.

That doesn’t stop brand owners trying a range of tricks and techniques to make us stick to their particular company. Increasingly, though, it looks like that brands are choosing the wrong route to success. They are often using rather old-fashioned ways of trying to get people to be loyal to their brand, such as loyalty cards, points schemes and so on. You’ve probably lost count of the loyalty schemes you are signed up with – and no longer use.

However, new research from the team at Nielsen suggests a way forward. Their study of people who saw either advertisements from brands or content from brands showed clearly that it was content that won the greatest affinity. Helpful content produced almost twice the amount of brand affinity than an advert for the particular product. Similarly, there as a 30% uplift in purchase intent as a result of content. The likelihood of recommending a brand was also significantly higher for the content than for the advert. In addition, the study found that there was a substantial increase in recall of the brand from the content than from the advert.

So, what does this study tell us? It shows that advertising is only of limited help in making people want your brand. The study demonstrated clearly that educational videos, for instance, as well as stories about brands and products, are the kind of content that lead to increased brand affinity.

In other words, you are more likely to make people loyal to your brand when you talk less about the brand and more about the users and what they can achieve or get out of the products and services your brand produces.

This should not really be much of a surprise. A study earlier this year found that most people were fed up with brands “shouting at them” through adverts, for instance.

How to increase the interest in your brand

So, how can you be sure to increase the interest in your brand online? Here are three things you can do:

  1. Take an editorial approach, rather than an advertising approach; think stories, articles, blogs, video programmes and so on
  2. Promote your editorial content through social media
  3. Be seen as the experts in your field

There are also five more ways you can increase customer loyalty in this earlier blog post.

You can also discover how to improve brand loyalty in my book Click.ology.

Read more: A Simple but Often Overlooked Way to Build Brand Loyalty