In the ideal world of a marketer success is never in doubt and every brand becomes habit-forming. But that’s not reality and not all brands can become a habit of course.
For example, brands that are not purchased with great frequency, such as flooring or major appliances can cultivate brand loyalty with trade partners through promotions or with consumers through brand marketing, but not necessarily via a “brand habit.” Think of habitual purchase behavior as a step beyond brand loyalty to brand insistence. As a result, the consumer requires no additional conscious motivation or justification to purchase … just the ready availability and consistent delivery of the brand. In essence, the brand is a part of the consumer’s life and its absence would be impactful.
There is a simple truth that governs brand habits; brands must behave a certain way to have their customers behave a certain way. We call this brand behavior being “customer centric.” Brands that are intentionally customer centric, provided that their purchase likelihood is sufficiently frequent, are more likely to become habit forming with their customers than those that are not customer centric.
A prime example that most everyone can relate to is Starbucks. Beyond their product offerings it also intentionally delivers a customer centric experience. Baristas are trained and encouraged to know their regulars by name, greet them accordingly and remember their drink – even engage in light conversation during the visit. Repeating this personal affirmation, over time, ingrains in its customers the Starbucks habit for its “third place” culture. The brand promise of being that coveted third place (a respite between home and work) is the foundation, but delivering it consistently is the framework for long term habit formation.
Other brands that continue to demonstrate superior customer centricity in their categories are Southwest Airlines, Wegmans supermarkets, and Google, to name a few. Their selection, purchase intent and use…